50 Ways to Lighten Up & Become Child Like Again

by Tess

I exhibit child like behavior each time I return to Michigan, and visit grandson, Henri. I love playing, acting silly and being crazy-care-free. I leave my computer and cell phone off. I don't want to miss a minute of the joy I feel when I'm with this child!

He allows me to become a kid again. 

Henri knows nothing about the economy, the earthquake, the price of gas, who is sick and who is not. His needs are met by the adults around him. His only job is to grow, learn and play. 

Recently, I've helped him do those things and more. We played in the snow, went to the museum, played with the neighbors dog, read books, played with trains, read more books, and played with more trains. We giggled laughed and played hide-and-go-seek.

If you've been feeling intense, worried, anxious or fearful, I'd like to invite you to become more child like. Take a break. Express and feel wonder and joy. Be in the moment. Let everything go. Be in the flow.

Read on for tips on "acting like a kid again."


1. Read a book unrelated to your work.

I'm currently reading, "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck. Henri is reading about Thomas the Train and Old McDonald.

2. Give yourself a permission slip to visit a museum, an art exhibit, or a science center. 

3. Learn something new. Enroll in an art class, foreign language class, piano lessons or a dance class. 

4. Listen to a Ted Talk and become inspired by the wonderful things people are doing.

5. Use your camera. Begin a blog and post a photo and a poem daily. You'll be a great photographer and poet by the end of the year. 

6. Watch a foreign film, 27 Hours, or Toy Story 3, five times.

7. Ride in the back seat of a car. Play or sleep on the floor.

8. Take a nap. Wake up with a smile.


9. Explore. View a new neighborhood from your bike. Get an ice cream cone after your tour.

10. Switch positions. Hang upside down on the monkey bars.

11. Invite friends over and play board games, cards, or chess. 

12. Get involved in sports. Play baseball, basketball or soccer. Join a league and meet new people.

13. Go bowling. After hubs and his siblings left home they would often meet up and go bowling on Sunday afternoons. 

14. Be goofy. Remember when you used to get in trouble for goofing around? As an adult nobody cares! Act silly and be ridiculous every once in a while.

15. Play dress up. Wear weird and mismatched clothes. Put on your old comfy sweater. Do your own thing!


16. Take the stairs. It's an easy way to burn up to 70 calories. Imagine if you did it for a year.

17. Make exercise fun. Ride your bike, put on your roller blades or walk/run for a cause. Remember when you could run faster and jump higher in your PF flyers? Check out the vintage commercial on You Tube.

18. Take a hike. Invite a few children to go with you. Teach them moving can be fun!

19. Do something that takes your breath away. Henri is two and learning how to jump. His little feet barely get off the ground. You wouldn't know that by his smile. He's soooo proud of himself.

Bungee jump, go white water rafting, take a mule down the Grand Canyon. Cross it off your bucket list.

20. Walk more. Small children don't want to be carried! Walking brings freedom to both children and adults.


21. Share your birthday cake. Make someone smile. Serve yourself last.

22. Write a letter and share good news with a distant relative.

23. Pass a hand written thank you note to a coworker.

24. Share your lunch. Give a friend half of your sandwich or one of your cookies.

25. Give books. Give them to someone who appreciates the same books you do.

26. Donate clothes you never wear anymore.

27. Make dinner. Bring it to a shut-in or elderly neighbor.

28. Share your knowledge. If you can help someone, share what you know. We get a long with a little help from our friends.


29. Tell your children you love them. Each one, as often as possible (I love you Shelly, Nicole, Kristy & Kara).

30. Spend time with an elderly person. You'll make their day by making them feel important.

31. Face to face time. Balance your time communicating with others. Make time to Skype and spend time together without electronics.

32. Invite friends over. Keep it simple. Serve bread, salad, and soup. Relax and have fun.

33. Open your heart. Get beyond surface talk. Speak from your heart. Reveal your deepest longings.

34. Get real. Be your authentic self. Allow others to see your vulnerability. Show your emotions. Cry. Be sad. Be touched.

35. Volunteer. Henri's favorite words are, "I do it. I do it. I try it. I try it." Kids love to help.

Offer your services for free. Work on a trail. Teach someone to read. Arrange a crew to clean up a neighborhood.


36. Fun. Dress warm and enjoy the cold and snow.

37. Sketch.  Sketch a self portrait, your pet, a flower.

38. Paint.  Paint a room, the ocean, a picture, your house.

39. Write. With chalk on the sidewalk, a love letter to someone near and dear.

40. Build. Build a tree house, a bird house or a doll house.

41. Plant. Plant a garden, a cactus, bulbs for next spring. 


42. Wonder how many horses are on a merry-go-round.

43. Wonder what the next "big thing" will be.

44. Wonder where you'll take your next vacation.

45. Wonder when the tulips will bloom.

46. Wonder how many stars are in the sky.

47. Wonder how it would be to fly.

48. Wonder what it's like to be a fire cracker on the 4th of July.

49. Wonder when you'll play again.

50. Wonder why we ever have to grow up.

My daughter works for Southwest Airlines. I can travel anywhere, anytime. I want to go to New Zealand, Italy, and return to Hawaii, to name a few. Yet hubs and I find ourselves returning again and again to the homes of our adult children and grandchildren.

The joy we feel when we're with them over rules the desire to see new places. 

Please leave a comment, what's your favorite way to be child like?

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Roshelle Brockman March 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm

What GREAT PHOTOs of you, Nicole and our lovely little LOVE Henri! Wish I was playing with you……..xoxoxoxoxo


Tess March 15, 2011 at 9:29 am

Thanks for the lovely time at your home as well. Even being caught in the blizzard with no way home was laugh out loud crazy! I’m still counting my miracles;)


Alex Blackwell | The BridgeMaker March 14, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Henri is precious and so is this list Tess – thanks for sharing both with us.



Tess March 15, 2011 at 9:28 am

Thanks for stopping by with your wonderful comment. I appreciate you.


Jonathan Manor March 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm

I think we do put a lot of time into the problems of the world, that we don’t get to see our happiness. I agree with this post, sometimes we just need to be children and be happy.
Jonathan Manor´s last post…Giving Up On Everything


Tess March 15, 2011 at 9:28 am

I think we can be compassionate, helpful and also be happy. One doesn’t have to take away from the other.


lalitaalaalitah March 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Wonder !!! Wondering things which I already know….To ask about them…is what I already have. I like that expression. .. :)


Tess March 15, 2011 at 9:27 am

Thanks so much for stopping by and wondering with me! I appreciate you.


Sandra / Always Well Within March 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm


This is exactly the medicine I need – play! Great ideas. But I’m definitely NOT going bungee jumping or white water rafting. :)
Sandra / Always Well Within´s last post…Can We Afford to Fly


Tess March 15, 2011 at 9:26 am

I was feeling alive, inspired and adventurous. So please do tell, how will you play?


Cathy | Treatment Talk March 14, 2011 at 8:24 pm

How fun! Play and enjoy yourself is good advice. Looking forward to those grandma days sometime in the future for me. Thanks for an uplifting post.
Cathy | Treatment Talk´s last post…Let’s Ask the Experts


Tess March 15, 2011 at 9:25 am

My Nana days are blissful. There’s no other love like it. Nope. None. Let me know how it happens. I’ll gladly share in your bliss.


Angela Artemis March 14, 2011 at 8:39 pm

You’re grandson is adorable! I loved the tips. Everyone should make time for fun!
Angela Artemis´s last post…The Science of Creating Good Luck


Tess March 15, 2011 at 9:24 am

Yes and I’m sure we’ll have fun when we meet soon in Sedona. Woot woot! Thanks for your Henri compliment. My little cheek pinchin’ buddy.


BakeR Gendron March 14, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Thanks for sharing Henri! My husband and I are in Puerto Vallarta for two weeks, sleeping late, sunning, walking and walking, eating incredible food! Tonight we stood close to the rail as the waves crashed below us, me screaming with laughter and Andre chuckling, when we would almost get drenched! Then we purchased a beautiful spray can painting from a local spray artist, amazing what beauty Gerardo creates ! Check him out at http://www.gerardoamor.com/
Yes, child like fun, including our ice cream cones….


Tess March 15, 2011 at 9:23 am

Hi BakeR,
I love Puerto Vallarta. I’ve been there several times. I checked out the spray artist. Simply amazing the creativity us humans have. We only need to connect to it. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story.


Kristy March 15, 2011 at 5:18 am

Mom, these pictures are awesome!! What a great post. I love you too : ). My favorite child-like fun is rocking out to Journey in my living room, dancing and sing to my heart’s content, “Don’t Stop Believ’in….hold on to that feel’in!!”


Tess March 15, 2011 at 9:17 am

OK I’ll be over to rock with you soon. I’ve been playing those CD’s you gave me a while back. Nothing like music to give us a groovy mood.


Little Lessons Under the Big Skky March 15, 2011 at 7:17 am

Let me say first, your grandson is ADORABLE! And how you captures him in pictures! Ahhh….makes me want to be the obnoxious person who squeezes his little cheeks! I miss that age!!

Such wonderful tips. I love how you listed the bigger categories, and I love that PLAY is such an integral part of your life right now. PLAY is the word I picked for this year, so I am trying hard, as my kids hit the teen age, to initiate play and humor more and more. Partly for them, partly for my sanity!!! and WONDER is such a great word too. Children are so full of wonder. That is why I love teaching music. Everything (even Twinkle) is new to them and fills me with wonder after years and years.!

This is just the post I needed to read this morning as I start my day. Thank you Tess!
Little Lessons Under the Big Skky´s last post…Oh the Times They are a changing……


Tess March 15, 2011 at 9:16 am

It’s one of Henri’s favorite songs, Twinkle! I love that word. Twinkle;)

Yes do fill your life with laughter…especially during these teen years. Go with the flow. As I look back I put too much of my own stuff on my daughters as teens. Oh how I have grown. I let them be themselves now. Thanks to Byron Katie!


Mike March 15, 2011 at 9:01 am

What an adorable child, and what an amazing post! It seems so true, that when we forget about our inner child, we find ourselves in a position of unhappiness or even fear. By becoming child-like, we can realize how necessary and useful it is to learn new things everyday, try something new everyday, ask questions and find out what we like and don’t like, and just do what we love, because we deserve to live a happy life!

Thanks for the insight!

Check out my podcast on Receiving and Self Worth – http://bit.ly/dLLvaE


Tess March 15, 2011 at 9:14 am

Hi Mike,
We teach children fear in order for them to be safe. Don’t touch that burner. Stay out of traffic. Our problem is we go on to teach them our fears that are useless, harmful and steal their joy. If we can get out of our own way, their way and drop the useless fears we can all be happy and free. Yes we deserve to be happy. It’s our birth right. Divine Legacy.


Sue Alexander March 15, 2011 at 10:08 am

Hi Tess ~ Oh what fun pictures! Children are so liberating to be around their joy and unfiltered self expression. They make it easy to recapture that feeling, to dance and skip free-spirited. I love your suggestions to explore and do something new that takes your breath away! Thanks for the happy thoughts :~)
Sue Alexander´s last post…Sending kindness in good old-fashioned Thank You note cards


Tess The Bold Life March 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Thanks for your input. The simplicity of your design is the same simplicity that runs through the veins of children. I think that’s why I love both so much.


John Sherry March 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Yes, yes, yes, Tess! I love to be childlike and play. I find leaving my serious, worrying adult behind makes me feel young, act with more abandon, and clear my head as kids only enjoy what they are doing right where they are. Life is one big playground and how we live it the apparatus. Time for a go on the swings me thinks. Anyone else coming out for a few games??
John Sherry´s last post…Fixing Your Glitches


Tess The Bold Life March 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm

You can count on me always for fun, games and play. I’d like to live on the beach, in a sandbox or a tree house.


Galen Pearl March 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Great tips. I feel more child like just looking at the pictures. Who would not want to play with this adorable child? How do I like to be like a child? I try to look at things with a child’s eye. Like when my son saw the tinsel glistening on the Christmas tree and whispered, “The Christmas spiders have been here.”

Great post–thanks!
Galen Pearl´s last post…The Courage to Change


Tess The Bold Life March 15, 2011 at 2:26 pm

The things kids say…they speak like the angelic beings they are!
Will the new Art LInkletter please stand up?


Belinda March 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Your grandson is positively adorable! Who wouldn’t want to giggle and laugh with him!

As for your list of ways to lighten up — this is gold, Tess. Being able to access that part of me that is willing to turn off the nodes for worrisome stimuli about the world is a survival instinct I can’t live without.



Susie Amundson March 15, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Thank you for this wonderful list of activities to remind us to delve into our child’s spirit and bring out our play. When we are able to embrace more of our playfulness and delight, just as Henri does, then we truly are more whole, happy, and authentically connected.

May play brighten our day!
Susie Amundson´s last post…Ten Tactics to Stop Over-functioning at Work


Caroline March 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Awww…he is adorable Tess! You took some great photos too! I need to act like a kid more. Although I did feel like a kid in a candy store in NYC over the weekend! Thanks again for the wisdom you share! xoxo
Caroline´s last post…Bounce baby BOUNCE!


Katie @ Be Extraordinary Today March 16, 2011 at 7:59 am

I love playing! It really is amazingly freeing and inspiring. It’s so much fun to just play and be silly and goofy. Whenever I let my “adult, responsible” self take a little break, I end up open to all kinds of amazing ideas and opportunities. Thanks for the reminder :)
Katie @ Be Extraordinary Today´s last post…Become Your Own Cheerleader


bob carlson March 16, 2011 at 10:14 am

O.K.., I see you in one picture -so you can’t be the photographer, right? And they all look professional, because no matter what, the camera only sees what the photographer sees, composes, and captures the moment. So come clean and confess! Could be a Kodak Baby Brownie, or a top of the line Nikon – what was it? And who may have done some editing after THAT person clicked the shutter?

I’ sorry you didn’t go to ‘confession’ Sunday! I will pray for you, and congratulate the expert in the family :o ). Have them give you some lessons, they are very good.



Jannie Funster March 16, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Hey, Tess — that one about spending time with an elderly person really speaks to me today. Makes me miss Mom and Dad, now in their 70s. I look forward to spending a lot of time with them this summer!

And to writing in chalk on a sidewalk soon!


And I just recorded a video of me letting me be real silly while singing a new song. I plan to put it up on my site Sunday. I think it shows my authenticity. ( I hope so, anyway.)
Jannie Funster´s last post…Banana Seat Bicycles — Lyrics


Marci | Liberating Choices March 16, 2011 at 7:10 pm

One of my favorite child like things to do is staying in my PJs until lunch time! But, I’m thinking I also really miss monkey bars, bike rides, and tents in the back set of the car.

Thank you for sharing your little blessing with us. I have learned so much about myself and about life through my children and through becoming a parent. I’m working on a similar post, so will bookmark to link later. :)
Marci | Liberating Choices´s last post…How to Keep Your Cool When Kids Complain


Peggy Nolan March 16, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Dear Tess,

I love this post! The pictures of you and Henri made me smile =)

Of course reading this hot off the heels of my blissful, playful, and very child-like vacation with Richard in Key West made me smile even more!

And it serves as a reminder of how lucky I am to have my grand-daughter under my roof (and her mom) while both Richard and my son-in-law are deployed. I get up and dance with Olivia every chance I get :-) (and play chase, tag, peek-a-boo, and often we walk around the house naming things)
Peggy Nolan´s last post…Love Letters


Andrea DeBell @ Britetalk March 16, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Hi Tess,
What a cutie!! Kids are the best thing to keep us young. Their perspective is always fresh and surprising. My children are a beautiful blessing and they are my greatest teachers in more ways that I can count. I can already foresee the blessing that grandchildren are going to be.
Thanks for this gorgeous post. Loving blessings!
Andrea DeBell @ Britetalk´s last post…2 steps to realize that our problems are solved


Elena Brower March 16, 2011 at 11:27 pm

GENIUS post. Thank you for taking the time to write it. I need this reminder about every 8 minutes. Thank you for helping all of us moms get more playful and silly and free and easy!
Elena Brower´s last post…Meditation


Naomi Estment March 17, 2011 at 11:36 am

Thank you for the inspiration, Tess & Henri :-)
Naomi Estment´s last post…Perfect excuse for cake


Joy March 17, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Hi Tess,
I have the child thing down pat..fun, play, enjoying the moment..it’s the grown-up diversions that I have to actually focus on:)
Gorgeous photos..such happiness..love it!


Riley Harrison March 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm

That is a great list. I am print it out and commit to each doing one each day until I exhaust the list. And also make the list dynamic by adding to it. It is so easy to get into a rut. Thanks Tess.



Lubna October 28, 2011 at 10:05 pm

When I am down, random acts of kindness performed by me really help cheer me up. If I can make someone smile, it does make me feel warm and fuzzy. At times, reaching out to friends, even friends in cyberspace also helps.


Sheridan Jones November 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm

My favorite place to be childlike is the wonder that is Disney World. Whenever I walk through the ticket gates, I feel like a 9 year old again. My best memories are with my younger 2 young adults. Can’t resist going on the Matterhorn with my kids and screaming like a teenager all over again.


Larry Hochman January 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm

New to this blog, Tess…really enjoyed that post.

One thing I love to do is walk to a store about a mile away when I usually drive. There’s a couple of brooks that pass underneath the road. You wouldn’t notice them in the car. The sights and the sounds give a deeper connection to the natural world. It also encourages you to alter your perception of the world around you. If nothing else, the amount of planning, effort and resources that went into creating all these roads. Amazing when you think about it.

Thanks for the consciousness shift!
Larry Hochman´s last post…I Have A Dream, Too


Royd May 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm

What a great post. Thank you for your words of encouragement.
When you get to Wellington, New Zealand be sure to look me up and I’ll show you around ‘the greatest little capital in the world’.


anita July 1, 2012 at 5:01 am

unfortunately, as you first stated, your grandson doesn’t worry about earthquakes, price of gas, etc cause he’s got an adult doing that for him. well, i don’t. and neither do you. this post is preposterous. more and more ADULTS are finding themselves homeless these days. i’d be damn worried!!!!


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