33 Ways to Be Childlike Today

Kids Painting

“Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.” ~Mencius

Remember when life was simple?

When your friends were the most important thing in the world. When a snow day was a perfect excuse to have fun, not a block of time when you felt guilty about being unproductive.

When the ice cream truck could make your day, no matter what happened before. Bad grade? Big deal—it's snow cone time. Skinned knee—who cares, you have a screwball!

If only you could bottle that sense of freedom, fun, and enthusiasm for the little things, you could carry it in your responsible adult pocket and take a swig when you started taking everything too seriously.

I don't know about you, but mine would be in a glass vial embellished with red, pink, and purple swirleys, topped with a water globe stopper that had a palm tree in it. (Yeah—that's right!)

Maybe we don't need some major departure from business as usual to stop being stuffy and start being childlike (which can actually help you become more innovative, in case sheer joy isn't motivation enough).

I've compiled a list of ideas to be more childlike today. I chose thirty-three because it's the house number where my parents live, and it's because of them I am the best couch cushion fort maker on both the east and west coasts. Enjoy:


1. Read a book you loved as a kid. My book of choice: Oh the Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss.

2. Figure out how something works, even if it's irrelevant to your life, just because it's interesting. Go ahead—Google “how fish breathe” or something you don't fully understand.

3. Fill out your own permission slip to go to the aquarium, a museum, or a nearby tourist attraction. If something looks interesting, take a break and go!


4. Do something fun. Make a Lego village, pull out the coloring book, or jump rope.

5. Explore. Walk around your block without any intention. Just see what's going on, maybe even using a big fallen branch as a walking stick.

6. Run or skip if you feel like it. Flail your arms, like Phoebe in my favorite episode of Friends.

7. Be silly. Look for funny things in your day—they're always there—and let yourself laugh about them.

8. Try a new look. Think the kid from Adam Sandler's Big Daddy, when he dressed himself, but a little less ridiculous.


9. Remember something awesome and call a friend to share it. (i.e.: ‘Member the time we made pizza for breakfast? That was awesome, huh?)

10. Tell someone they're your hero. If you admire what they do, look right in their eyes and say, “I think you're pretty awesome.”

11. Be a know it all. Tell someone about something you learned today and get excited about sharing it.

12. Tell it like it is. Don't be a liar, liar, pants on fire. As Dr. Seuss said, “Say what you mean and mean what you say because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.”

13. Be vulnerable. Tell someone how you feel or what you really want to be when you grow up, without making them pinky swear to take it to the grave.

14. Share a meal with people around a table, even if it isn't a special occasion, like that Norman Rockwell painting families often recreate.


15. Tell your mom and dad (or favorite relative) you love them. Call them right now and say it for no reason other than it being true.

16. Make a spontaneous play date. Invite people over right now, for no reason but to have fun, even if you have plans scheduled for the weekend with them.

17. Eat lunch on a rock with a friend. You don't need a restaurant or a cafeteria. Channel the good old days from camp when a little sand in your PB & J meant a lunchtime adventure.

18. Ask for help if you need it. Just like you used to pull your desk next to someone else's to read along, walk up to someone you trust and let them be there for you.

19. Tap into your innocence—meaning give someone the benefit of the doubt, as if you don't know yet to be cynical.


20. Make a card by hand to give to someone you care about. As Pablo Picasso said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

21. Get messy when you're cooking. Not tomato-sauce-on-the-ceiling-fan messy. The point is: let loose and enjoy yourself instead of making cooking a chore.

22. Start a piggy bank. Or a coin jar. You don't need to save big to save, and you never know what little adventures you can have with just a little extra cash.

23. Try a hands-on project from the Be Creative! Adults section of the Creativity Portal, like gum wrapper origami.

24. Assume you'd be really good at something—piano, rock climbing, organizing a club—and then find out instead of assuming the opposite.


25. Sit Indian style in your chair if you're able. Crossed-legged sitting is actually really good for your posture—an added bonus!

26. Surround yourself with your favorite color. If orange makes you smile, plaster orange pictures all over your cubicle.

27. Cry if you need to. If the day gets difficult, don't try to be a hero. When you let yourself feel it, you're better able to let it go.

28. Relax and do nothing. Don't try to fill that empty pocket of time. You've been productive enough. Kick back, cut loose, and let yourself waste a little time. As John Lennon said, “Time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted.”


29. Forget what was tough about yesterday. Why dwell on that fight with your sister when you could be having fun today?

30. Change your mind easily. According to Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, kids' brains are extremely flexible, “so they can change what they think based on new evidence very quickly and easily.”

31. Visualize a tomorrow with endless possibilities. Not sure you can be the person you want to be? Read 10 Ways to Be the Person You Wanted to Be as a Kid.

32. Don't take no for an answer. If there's something you want to do, be persistent. You can make it happen!

33. Ignore something someone says if it limits you, your potential or your possibilities.

Have anything to add to the list? Go for it. I double dog dare you…

Photo here

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
  • Pingback: April 23, 2010 |

  • Pingback: TwittLink - Your headlines on Twitter()

  • clickphotographykc

    Definitely words of wisdom I can take a use today and everyday. 🙂

  • Great post! Love the “Friends” reference. I'm going to get in touch with my inner-Phoebe today!! 😉

  • All wonderful ideas!

    It's important to note, that stress can rob one of the ability to be child-like. The cascade of neuro-chemicals that are released during times of stress (negative thoughts and emotions) can exacerbate feelings of seriousness. It becomes difficult to let the (inner) child out to play.

    Change can happen by choosing even just one of the above ideas and augmenting it with the power of the heart.

  • Pingback: Most Tweeted Articles by Buddhism Experts()

  • Hi Mariana~ Thanks for the note…I can recall times when I've felt stressed and unable to be childlike, but I didn't realize there was a chemical reason for it. Great information to know!

  • Awesome! I did a little Phoebe running yesterday morning, actually. Always makes me smile =)

  • Pingback: 8 Ways to Find Love: Wisdom from Classic Love Songs |

  • Pingback: Best Tweets for Trauma Survivors (week ending 04/30/10) « Third of a Lifetime()

  • Pingback: Writing Your Way to What You Want |

  • Pingback: 25 Little Changes to Make the Day More Exciting |

  • Suzie

    I decided to try to make one of the 33 missions per day! Even will create a blog about it…. Let's see the results! Hope I can do it well!
    Suzie xx

  • Pingback: 5 Ways to Live a Fun Life Full of Possibilities: Make Now Count |

  • Pingback: How to Have More Fun in Life: Keep Your Thoughts from Pulling You Down |

  • Pingback: Approaching the Site’s 1-Year Anniversary (Giveaways!) |

  • Pingback: Productivity and Happiness: Why Are We So Busy? | Tiny Buddha()

  • Pingback: 40 Ways to Give Yourself a Break: Recharge Physically, Emotionally & Spiritually | Tiny Buddha()

  • I liked almost all of these points 🙂

    Just that point 15 doesn’t strike well with me… What if it is not true? Not everyone had wonderful parents nor does everyone have a warm relationship with them. Maybe it’s a minor detail, but I felt the need to express it.

    Other than that, nice ideas 🙂

  • Pingback: Resources: Links to Self Soothe/Comfort Articles « Kate1975's Blog()

  • Pingback: Resources: Healing from Child Sexual Abuse Links « Kate1975's Blog()

  • Pingback: 40 Ways to Give Yourself A Break « Over Break!()

  • Pingback: 6/20/11 Tiny Wisdom: On Using Your Youth | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Pingback: 51 Things That Will Make You Smile | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Pingback: Irrelephant Parade » 33 Ways to Be Childlike Today (from TinyBuddha)()

  • Pingback: Weekly Annotations Round-up (weekly) | Creative Destruction()

  • Pingback: Why We Sometimes Choose Judgment Instead of Compassion | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Pingback: Just Breathe. « Merry, Me. ♡()

  • Anusha

    What a beautiful article! Thank you 🙂

  • You’re most welcome! 🙂

  • Tsuki

    God bless 🙂 Thank you!!

  • This one is my favorite “kids’ brains are extremely flexible, so they can change what they think based on new evidence very quickly and easily.” An adult brain is like a rock. Its more and more solid with the years. It is also good to know that as a fact so we can change it 🙂 Great article Lori

  • Awesome post Lori. Believe it or not, I started a piggy bank about 7 or 8 months ago! I’m so excited to see how much is in there when I open it. The plan is to break it (it’s one of those you have to actually break to get the money out – genius) when I leave Costa Rica and move back to the states. Hopefully there’s enough to cover the high prices of food at the airport! Lol.

    It’s sooooo important to be a kid and just do you, without caring what people think. Thank you for the reminder!

  • Lsea

    Thank you for the article. It’s not Normal Rockwell the artists name is actually Norman Rockwell.

  • You’re most welcome, and thanks for painting out my mistake! =)

  • You’re most welcome! =)

  • Thanks Nikola! Fascinating, about the difference between our brains. Life is definitely a lot more fun when we’re more flexible and less rigid.

  • You’re most welcome! And very cool, about the piggy bank. Hope you get endless amusement and a nice meal out of it. =)

  • I love this! I’m going to try to do all of these things in the coming months 🙂 I firmly believe the world would be a much more pleasant place if we were all a little more childlike.
    I’m going to have to challenge your “best couch cushion fort maker” claim, though. At least on the east coast ;p

  • Sarah Woolley

    Oh Lori! Amazing and so helpful! I love the painting at the top and your suggestions are fabulous and so helpful! Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are a light in the world. Keep shining and lighting the way! Love to you and your family!

  • You’re most welcome, Sarah! Love to you and yours, as well. =)

  • Carey

    That’s exactly what caught my eye too! It was an ‘aha’ moment. Why NOT just let myself be easily swayed for a change?

  • Sancy

    Love this Lori, and keeping it on hand as a reminder. Do you have a way to re-blog this post, or share in a blog?

  • Glad you enjoyed it, Sancy! If you’d like to share this on your blog, you could do something similar to what the Dalai Lama Center did:

  • I think because we get older and the flexibility fades more and more … I see my grandmother. If she thinks the wall is black THE WALL IS BLACK and that’s final for her 😀 even though it’s as white as the skies

  • Sancy

    Thanks Lori, will work on that. Love your site!

  • Love this post, Lori. Thanks for the reminder too! I will try and sit Indian style right now, just for fun. No better reason than this, right. 🙂

  • You’re most welcome. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it! =)

  • You’re most welcome! =)

  • I believe the same! And I’m up for the challenge haha =)

  • I love #13: be vulnerable. I wished more people weren’t wearing a “mask” that everything is FINE. If we shared more of ourselves with each other, we would feel more connected and wouldn’t feel as lonely.

  • Cape Town Guy

    As a child I remember not worrying about what clothes I wore; what my body looked like; what suburb I lived in… The list goes on and on. All we did as children was to seek fun and happiness. If we didn’t enjoy a game we played, we said “This is Boring” and we did something else. No sweat and no hang ups. As adults we tend to do things we don’t really enjoy and we wonder why fun and happiness is not nearly as easy to attain as it was when we were children. Thanks for reminding me about that, Lori. //Duane

  • You’re most welcome, Duane. I was actually just telling my fiance something similar the other day–how when I was a kid, it never occurred to me that my body could be more fit or I could stand to improve my style, my hair, etc. I didn’t have anywhere near the level of self-analysis (about the physical or mental things) that I developed as an adult. I know for sure that letting that go, or at least, working at it, makes a huge difference in my happiness!

  • Johan Cha

    People say you need to “grow up” and adjust to maturity..
    Ha! Is that why they’re so lifeless and limb like a corpse, with no value to appreciate life’s brief passing moments? Oh how I yearn to be a child again! great article, I want to marry someone with the same mindset so we grow old together…. like little boys and girls in love hehe

  • I’m glad you enjoyed it! That sounds like a wonderful way to grow old. =)

  • Brilliant, Lori!

    I love these ideas + I’m grateful to say that I get lots of opportunities to stay connected with my inner child…I’m inspired by sharing most of my days with my two playful girls!

    So, I will totally take your dare!

    I absolutely love getting on the floor + rolling around practicing or making up yoga poses.

    I love an impromptu dance party…especially in our jammies in the kitchen.

    I love digging in the dirt in our garden with our hands.

    I love swinging as high as we can on our swings, especially by moonlight.

    I love roasting marshmallows + telling sweet or scary stories around the fire.

    I love snuggling up in our cozy bed to read stories.

    I love sharing an ice cream, gazing up at the blue sky + pondering the big questions with my girls…like “Who’s your favorite character in The Little Mermaid?” or “What are you grateful for?”

    These are a few of my favorite things…

    Hoping 2015 is feeling playful + happy for you, Lori!

    All the best + so much love,


    p.s. PLAY is my word for the year, so I’m super excited to find even more ways to play + let fun guide me! Thank you for the sweet inspiration!

  • I love all of these! I’m also a big fan of swinging as high as I can and roasting marshmallows. That’s wonderful, that play is your word for the year. I’ve never thought to set a word, but you’ve inspired me to choose one, as well. (It’s a little late, I know–but better late than never!)

  • Yay! I’m happy I could inspire you…never too late!

    And you’ve inspired me…to make a list of all the things that feel playful + fun to me…thank you! 🙂

  • Tommy Housworth

    This is a great list, and my addition to it would be to go barefoot as often as is possible. As kids, we scampered about in bare feet day-to-day without a care. It’s important to take some time each day to ground oneself – barefoot in the grass, on a short walk, etc, to reconnect with the earth and remember that we’re connected to all of it. Plus, it just feels good. Kinda liberating.

  • Great addition, Tommy! I just did this the other day, actually, and it was indeed liberating. =)

  • IBikeNYC

    I love walking along on top of a wall or balanced on a curb; I rarely pass by a swing without pumping myself high into the sky; and I recently started standing up on my pedals to gain speed or to get myself up steep hills in high gears.

    I have a chronic lower-back condition, and I started letting my Inner Child out to play in order to keep myself physically flexible.

    I keep doing it because it makes me grin and laugh!

  • John Shine

    This is not true. I am currently an 8 year old and non of this is true. All I want to do is play video games and insult my friends (not in a hurtful way, more like in a funny way) So if you realy want to be like a child, play some VIDEO GAMES!!!!!!!!!