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embroidery as play activity ideas

70 Play Activity Ideas For More Fun As An Adult

Who says adults can’t play like kids do? No matter your age, you can fit more play into your day. We rounded up 70 ideas for adding more play to your life as an adult.

But first, let’s break down an important distinction.

Play vs Hobbies: What is play?

We define play as doing something you enjoy with no real purpose or agenda in mind. There doesn’t have to be a point to your activity, nor do you need to adopt it as a full blown hobby that you try to improve on. You don’t need to be good at play — enjoy yourself and soak in the moment, no matter which activity you decide to try!

Have you listened to our Playground to Purpose podcast, all about adding more whimsy to your purpose?

We chat with play experts, talk to people in all kinds of careers about the connection between their childhood & adult career paths, and have solo chats about our personal play journey.

▶︎ Listen on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher

puzzle pieces for 1,000 piece puzzle

Fun adult play activity ideas to try out:

1. Color with adult coloring books

Or kids coloring books, because who cares! Grab a new set of crayons, colored pencils, or markers while you’re at it. And don’t forget — it’s okay if you color outside the lines, just have fun with it!

2. Get a journal for bullet journaling

To add some more fun into your journaling practice, use some washi tape, colored pens, and fun stickers. Or, create a book bujo like this gal from TikTok.

3. Write snail mail

Who says we can’t still be pen pals? Snail mail is so fun. If you’re looking for a pen pal, you can sign up for one here.

4. Try hand lettering

Hand lettering is a visual art that focuses on drawing and illustrating beautiful letters. Even if your handwriting isn’t *perfect* give hand lettering a shot! There are so many ways to customize your letters to your preferences.

5. Paint

Raise your hand if you ever did a Paint by Numbers when you were a kid. Same here! Whether you’re looking for a more structured paint session, or want to grab a few paint colors and get messy, painting is for everyone.

6.  Read fiction

Not books for school or work, but just for fun. What are you curious about? I love fantasy romance fiction books, personally. New reading genres get you out of your comfort zone, so head to a book store and pick out something on a whim.

7. Fun outdoor games

Outdoor games, like giant Jenga or cornhole, are a great way to sneak in some play and some movement too. Get out there and put your competition face on!

8. Do outdoor sports activities 

Put on your tennis shoes and step outside for some tennis, volleyball, soccer, or football. Outdoor sports activities enable you to play with others and soak up some Vitamin D if you’re lucky too!

9. Play arcade-style games

Calling all Pac-Man and Super Mario lovers, this one is for you! Indulge in some arcade-style games, either ones you enjoyed as a kid or explore newly released ones.

10. Learn a language

Duolingo and other fun learning platforms make it easier than ever to finally learn that new language you told yourself you always wanted to speak.

11. Bake something

Cookies, pastries, brownies — oh my! Bake your favorite treat or grab a new recipe you haven’t gotten around to making yet for an extra challenge.

12. Create a TikTok

Create a TikTok, not for the sake of making money from it, but purely for the fun of it. Have a passion for fiction books? Join the BookTok community on TikTok. Have a passion for cooking? Cleaning? Traveling? Vegan food? There’s literally no niche too small for TikTok.

Follow us at @playgroundtopurpose as we document our play journey.

13. Find the best food/drinks in your city

Familiarize yourself with your local surroundings by exploring your city. Try new restaurants and bars to find the best food and drinks nearby.

14. Play computer games

If you spent hours playing games on the computer as a kid, don’t worry, we did too. Choose your game of choice and indulge in some childhood nostalgia.

15. Get a jigsaw puzzle

Jigsaw puzzles are fun and low-key tools for playing at home! You can enjoy a TV show while you solve the puzzle, too, if you’d like.

girl doing ravensburger puzzle at home

16. Create a play box and pick a random activity to play

Kids aren’t the only ones who should have boxes full of toys and activities to play with. Create a play box and add your favorite activities to it. Fidget spinners, brainteasers, and coloring books are a great place to start if you need ideas.

17. Take a pottery class

Pottery classes are a blast. Sign up for one by yourself or with a friend and create a handmade item you never thought you’d be able to make on your own.

18. Travel on a whim

Pick a destination, book your flights or hop in the car, and get going! Wanderlust is real.

19. Collect things

Collecting things is a childlike practice that can invoke feelings of nostalgia and excitement. In fact, collections allow people to relive their childhood, so pick up your baseball card collection right where you left off.

20. Photography

Whether it’s Polaroids or film cameras, there’s nothing quite like capturing moments and being able to relive them later down the road.

21. Read tarot

Tarot readings are a fun way to explore your spiritual side. Grab a Tarot deck, so you can give your friends fun readings – or pull a card to give you an intention for the week.

22. Rollerskate or skateboard

Remember those late nights at Skate City? Were you more of the skatepark type as a kid? Grab your wheels and get moving.

23. Do embroidery

Embroidery is the craft of decorating fabric by threading yarn directly onto it. You can create all sorts of designs with embroidery.

24. Learn magic tricks

Magic shows aren’t just for kids! You can learn magic tricks and impress your friends and family in no time. Here’s a magic set to help you get started.

25. Plan self-care nights, but make it themed

Face masks, bath bombs, Netflix, candles, and essential oils are the go-to items we love for self-care nights. Plan a themed self-care night, like a romantic one where you take a candlelit bath while watching a rom-com. You deserve all the love in the world!

26. Dopamine Dressing

Have you heard of dopamine dressing? It’s simple. Dopamine dressing is all about wearing clothes that make you happy and bring you joy. Play with your wardrobe for a dopamine boost today!

27. Garden

Create your own little succulent garden. Succulents are low maintenance and a great way to add some nature to your space. Here are some steps to help you get started with your garden.

28. Make candles

Candles can be expensive, so why not purchase the materials and make your own? Bonus points if you break out your markers and crayons and create your own candle labels.

29. Get a hula hoop

Hula hoops have been around since 500 BC, which clearly means they’re so much fun that they’ll stand the test of time! Challenge your friends to a hula hooping contest just like old times.

30. Play Wordle or any fun word games

Is Wordle a trend or is it here to stay? Only time will tell. Whether it’s Wordle or something else, word games are the perfect way to sneak in some playtime and brain puzzles.

31. Take entertaining friends to the next level

Do something out of the ordinary for your friend group. Need some ideas? Plan an at-home murder mystery event, host Friendsgiving in the middle of the summer, or hold a DIY pizza night.

32. Sign up for stand up comedy or improv

Push yourself outside of your comfort zone by signing up for a stand-up comedy or improv night.

33. Hike new routes

Mix it up! Explore the outdoors and hike a new route you haven’t explored before. Bonus points if it’s in an area you’re unfamiliar with that’s outside of your comfort zone.

34. Visualize

Instead of meditating, spend time listening to your favorite music and visualize your future. What would your dream closet look like? What would you do if you had a million dollars to spend? Have fun with your imagination.

35. Take random walking routes

There’s almost always more than one way to reach your destination, so try a new walking route. Or walk somewhere with no end goal in mind and see where your paths and turns take you.

36. Learn how to make latte art

We’re obsessed with latte art. Learn how to do latte art at home and spice up your next morning coffee.

artist drawing flowers

37. Play an instrument

Break out your ukulele, guitar, or piano and learn how to play it. Or sign up for lessons if you’re into that sort of thing.

38. Put on temporary tattoos

Remember how fun it was to receive temporary tattoos as a kid? Trust us, temporary tattoos are still just as fun as they used to be. Grab a sheet and cover your skin.

39. DIY / Fix up items in your home

A DIY home project allows you to put your home improvement skills to the test. Tackle an area of your home that you’ve always wanted to fix up.

40. Make jewelry

Making polymer clay earrings has gained popularity over the last few years. Clay jewelry is a nice way to blend your crafting skills with a fun outcome. Search YouTube for DIY tutorials to help you dive right in.

41. Recreate a makeup look

Have you ever seen a celebrity on TV or in the news and wanted to recreate their look? There’s no time like the present! Grab your makeup and inspiration pics and get started.

42. Find a random artist at random and listen to their entire album

We all have our favorite musical artists, playlists, and genres, but consider branching out and finding someone new to listen to. Ask your friends for recommendations.

43. Brainstorm an idea for a children’s picture book

Calling all Goodnight Moon and Charlotte’s Web lovers! You can create a children’s picture book too. Brainstorm an idea for a modern-day children’s picture book and draw out a page or two to see how your idea comes to life.

▶︎ Psst. Our favorite play items from Amazon.

44. Go to the store and pick out a new board game to try

There are aisles of board games to choose from these days! Head to your nearest store, close your eyes, and pick a new board game at random for a game night with you friends or family members.

45. Make a bookmark for yourself or to gift to others

If you’re a bookworm, there’s a good chance you need another bookmark. Snag some construction paper, markers, and stickers, and make your own!

46. Round up some friends to play flag football or red rover

Enjoy some time outside with friends and play a game that gets your bodies moving. Flag football is always a blast (just make sure anyone who tackles is kicked out!)

47. Find online trivia quizzes to test your knowledge on random topics

Or, just take a Buzzfeed-style quiz for funsies, like this aura quiz.

48. Play “tiger rabbit” 

Tiger rabbit is a game where you keep naming animals that end with the last letter of the previous animal. See how long you can go. Fun to do it by yourself or with others. It’s the perfect brainteaser when you’re stuck waiting in a long line.

49. Spruce up one of your rooms while sticking to a certain budget

Add new wallpaper, rearrange your furniture, or grab some new small accessories at Target to spruce up one of your rooms at home. Play with new colors, patterns, or setups that you usually wouldn’t choose.

50. Design your dream life on the Sims

This throwback game doesn’t miss.

Don’t forget to use the Motherlode cheat. Or, at least that used to be my favorite way to play.

51. Rent a bounce house

Bounce houses aren’t just for kids’ birthday parties or school events. If you have space for once, rent a bounce house for a few hours for you and your friends.

52. Plan a Playcation

Stay at a treehouse or plan a trip to Disney World. The whole intent? Play.

53. Visit all the Little Libraries in your town

You know, those small libraries of books people have outside their homes. Take a book, share a book. Use this map to find some Little Libraries in your area.

54. Solve a Rubik’s cube

The iconic Rubik’s cube was created in the mid 1970s. Solving one (or trying to) is a great way to sneak some play into your day in an easy way.

55. Go to the park

Play on the swing set, go down the slides, or bring your own yard games for the perfect park outing.

56. Sudoku

Are you up for the challenge? Sudoku puzzles will put your brain to the test!

57. Nail art

If painted nails are your jam, consider playing around with nail art designs. You can use nail polish paint or order stickers and stamps to use on your nails.

58. Dye your hair colorful

Raise your hand if you’ve always wanted a pink streak or two in your hair. Yeah, us too! Dye your hair or add colorful highlights for a twist on your usual do.

paints and paintbrushes for art project

59. Create a charcuterie board

Charcuterie boards are all the rage (and for a good reason!) They’re delicious, easy to make, and perfect for sharing with others. Create a charcuterie board with your favorite snack options.

60. Get a creative thinking journal

Creative thinking exercises encourage you to change the way you think. These journals are filled with creative challenges to keep your mind busy for weeks.

61. Do some upcycling projects

Upcycling, or creative reuse, involves transforming waste or unwanted byproducts into art. You can do upcycling projects of your own and create things like this Upcycled Wine Bottle Heart Chime.

62. Make fun cocktails (or mocktails)

In the mood for a playful night in? Make at-home cocktails or mocktails and try a new drink you don’t usually order while you’re out.

63. Learn how to create a braid

Okay, let’s be honest, braiding isn’t as easy as it looks. There are many different varieties of braids you can learn using your hair or yarn.

64.  Try all the ice cream flavors at your favorite spot

Or all the cocktail options at your favorite bar. Think of it like that game we used to play as kids where you’d put all of the soda flavors in your cup, only better.

65. Design with Procreate

If you have an iPad Pro, first of all, I’m jealous of you. Second off, if you aren’t already using Procreate, buy it ASAP! Digital drawing is in.

66. Create a scrapbook

Gather your favorite photos, some stickers, and colored paper to create a scrapbook of all of your best-kept memories.

67. Create your custom scent

Make your own perfume with essential oils. Use this perfume oil guide to walk you through how to concoct your personal blend. Who doesn’t want to have their own unique, delicious smell? 

68. Order something random off the menu

Choose an appetizer or a dessert, if you wish. Or close your eyes and point at a random menu item to try (no backing out once you open your eyes!)

69. Join a Fantasy League

Whether it’s an NFL Fantasy League or Bachelor Fantasy League, playing fantasy sports with friends or strangers is a blast.

70. Pick a childhood toy to play with friends

Like Nerf Guns or Polly Pocket. Choose something nostalgic for an extra playful friend date.

Want more tips on how to add more play to your life? Tune into our podcast.

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