Childish Things To Improve Mental Health

I ran a little giveaway on my blog a few years ago, for some beautiful adult colouring books. The response was really fantastic and there was so much interest in them. Plus it uncovered a common theme, which ran throughout most of the comments I received. Namely, how everyone really enjoyed colouring in but hadn’t done it for years. How it was lovely to do things to improve mental health. 

One comment in particular really resonated with me and got me thinking.

My reader, Natalia, said;

‘I was thinking of colouring as of something that kids would do but who cares what age we are? If we enjoy it, we should do it more often!’

And it made me think. When is it we stop doing childish things in favour of being more ‘adult’?

And why?

Putting Away Childish Things

Why do we stop doing lovely, simple, enjoyable things?

Perhaps if more adults took up childish pastimes — building Lego, colouring in, playing board-games, making pom-poms — ‘adulting’ might be a little easier’; the world might be a gentler, nicer place.

It made me think of a passage I’d once heard.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

I don’t really like the sentiment behind this prose; I think it’s incredibly sad that once you’re an adult, you should stop doing the things you once enjoyed as a child.

How to be mentally healthy and happy

There are so many lovely pastimes that are deemed to be too ‘childish’ for adults to partake in aren’t there? But perhaps if we stopped rushing around for a little while, and took pleasure in the small things, our lives would be a lot happier and calmer as a result.

You rarely see stressed children (thankfully). Or come across little ones with depression or stress related stomach ulcers. The only time any of the children I know very well are mildly stressed, is if they have lots of homework to do or if they’ve fallen out with a friend.

They don’t stress about how to be mentally healthy and happy; they just are. Mostly, they bowl along, from day to day, just enjoying life; playing, laughing and learning.

We could definitely take a leaf out of their book.

Maybe take a moment when we’re feeling particularly bogged down with adulthood and engage in something a little more fun.

Here is my top 5 Favourite Childish Things To Improve Mental Health

  1. Grab a colouring book and some crayons and sit for half an hour, colouring in. It doesn’t matter if you go over the lines either. Chill out and just enjoy it. 
  2. Play a board game. Connect 4, Downfall and Guess Who are STILL firm favourites in our house. Love them.Particularly matching the ‘Guess Who’ characters to real life people from the telly. The original 1980s version is better than the updated version for this. 
  3. Watch a Disney film.(NB — Bambi and Dumbo are real tear-jerkers so possibly avoid these when trying to cheer yourself up.) 
  4. Kick a big pile of crunchy autumn leaves.OK — this one is season dependent but I absolutely love it and mentioned it in my list of 50 favourite things. It’s a brilliant stress buster and makes you feel immediately happy. 
  5. Pop on some loud music and have a kitchen disco. Who doesn’t love a bit of spontaneous dancing?Every child I know loves nothing more than dancing wildly to music. They look ridiculous half the time but who cares? They certainly don’t.

This is a valuable lesson that we should take from our littles.

Put away your inhibitions. Put away your ‘adultish things’ and start thinking like a child once more.

Lose those stuffy old adult ties and immerse yourself in something fun for a little while. 

Childish Things To Improve Mental Health
Guess Who’s ‘Bernard’ — a dead ringer for Rowan Atkinson?

Please share, if you like this!

About Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

77 thoughts on “Childish Things To Improve Mental Health

  1. As a 33 year old, I wholeheartedly agree. If we only did grown up things, then life would be very VERY boring!any of my friends have fallen out of love with drinkin and dancing at (the right) clubs… We need to do what makes us happy, and that is one of the things I hope I never outgrow! (I don’t care what the real teenagers think). I had an incredibly hard and stressful childhood, it wasn’t right but I managed just fine at the time. I indulge the child in me by baking when I feel like it, just for the fun of the process.

    I can’t do colouring, then idea of a whole book scares me silly! What colour would in use where? So many questions! But when the boys colour or paint, I always lead by example. There is a joy to simply staying in the lines and using whatever colour is handiest. I must add, I am not arty, not in the slightest!

    Hope to read more of your blog :)

    1. Aaah I totally agree — life would be SO boring!! I think indulging your inner child — with simple things that make us happy — is so important. ‘I wish I’d worked harder and laughed less’ said no-one ever — on their deathbed! ;)

  2. I refuse to grow up!
    Luckily i work in schools and often nurseries so I can enjoy kiddy activities all the time (P.s make some playdough!! very soothing to play with)

  3. I love this idea. I think one of the best things about being a parent is that sometimes you get to be a kid with them. I have recently found that jumping on the trampoline after a couple glasses of wine is absolutely exhilarating! I laugh until my cheeks hurt! Thanks again for hosting #TwinklyTuesday.

  4. Sylvia and I love to do silly dancing. I’m not well so she dances and I film. I also love to doodle and in another life,I’m sure would have been a great book illustrator lol!

    Angela xx

  5. YES! Kitchen discos are the best. Who cares if I can’t move like I used to? Fab, happy, lovely post – love it. Feel–god factor for sure :) Jess x #wellbeingwednesday

  6. Kitchen discos are the best! I too hate it that as adults we are expected to put away the childish things. I say release the inner child! I will definitely be letting my inner child break free shortly, I have my colouring pencils at the ready!

    1. Aaah they are aren’t they?! Who doesn’t love dancing in the kitchen when they think no-ones looking?!!! Your books will be on their way tomorrow!! Haven’t had time to send them due to Britmums but they’ll be with you this week — I promise :) xx

  7. So so true!! I sometime worry if I was to do something childish people would look down on me. It’s like the other day at the park my boys told me to go on the zip wire, I looked around and worried but others would think but I did it anyway as the boys wanted me to and it felt great!! It’s also like dancing like a mummy at a wedding!! Feels fab :-) #twinklytuesday xx

  8. One of my favourite things about being a mum is the fact that I get to sit down and play with Little Miss H; colouring, Lego, playdoh and dancing and singing are all firm favourites for both mummy and daughter. But you are right, it is so sad that there comes a time when we let the stresses of the world overtake us and we forget to just spend time having fun. #TwinklyTuesday Hugs Mrs H xxxx

  9. I still have my childhood teddy bear, does that count? ;) I’m probably the worst at this since I feel awkward when I play games with my kids. But I do love planting a garden like I did since a kid (digging in the dirt and such), dancing and board games!

    1. Aaah lovely!! Why on earth do you feel awkward?! I would take a little bit of time out each day — stick on some music and start dancing with your little ones!! All that awkwardness will soon pass — I PROMISE!! :)

  10. Ah this is so true! I love guess who we should buy the board game really! I think it’s great to lose yourself in child like activities..climbing and dancing and building in the sand box are all favourites of mine!

  11. Yes! I love doing all of those things! I use my kids as cover lol good excuse to play :) Thanks so much for hosting #TwinklyTuesday x

  12. Haha I always used to go for Anita or Frans on Guess Who, the modern version is just not as funny! You are right though, it’s good to get those childish things out and just have a bit of fun isn’t it. I love a bit of play Doh and I’m not afraid to admit it! X

    1. Hahaha! ANITA?! Why did you go for her?! That’s like going for Green-Hat-Maria!! LOL! I rarely went for the women cos they’ve be guessed so quickly.

      ‘Is yours a man?’

      ‘Erm, no… DOH.’

      As they put down most of the people on the board!! LOL!! The women were SO outnumbered!! :) xx

    1. Haha! I have them ALL Kate. My mum gave them all to me — my sister didn’t get a look in!! I think that says something about my state of mind doesn’t it?! And the fact my younger sister (of 10 years) is more grown up!! ;)

  13. This is such a lovely way of rembering the simple joys of childhood. I’m totally up for a bit of colouring. Thsnks so much for hosting #twinklyruesday

  14. Yep — I think it’s exactly why adults are stressy. All work and no play etc etc… getting down with your inner child is something we should all be doing as a grown up — even if we don’t have kids of our own! ;)

  15. I think that the license/reminder to look at the world and experience things from a child’s perspective is my favourite aspect of motherhood. Finding joy in the tactile experience of everyday things and the wonder of all the amazing ways in which the world works is worth all the frustration, sleeplessness and pain of parenthood. #TwinklyTuesday. Thanks for being such a great cohost!

  16. I think Guess Who was my absolute favourite game as a kid! Sometimes it’s difficult to immerse yourself in games with your child(ren) when there’s a million other things you need to get done on the back of your mind, but i do think I need to try a bit harder sometimes! #twinklytuesday

  17. This is such a great post Caro, you are so right too! Maybe we would all be a little less stressed if we thought more like a child…although I already do all these things so not sure what it says about me, haha! We love putting the music on and having a dance, always cheers everyone up xx

  18. NOOOO Don’t tell me they’ve updated the Guess Who characters since I was a child? I am so glad you decided to share a picture of Bernard!! (Ber-Nard as I like to pronounce it) Ber-nard, Frans and Alfred! Loved them. So easy to guess too. Does he have a ginger hair, a moustache? does he have a hat? Oh it wouldn’t be the same without them. Tell me it isn’t so! #twinklytuesday

  19. It’s St Paul from Corinthians. I’ve always understood it to mean that when we grow up, we embrace more complicated ideas, ways of being and behaving. No one is coming for my Lego! Lovely post! #twinklytuesdays

    1. Yes — it’s a shame that we are expected to put away the childish things, in order to make way for the more complicated, ‘adult’ ways of being and behaving, when we reach a certain age, isn’t it? I think we should be able to embrace both. Lock down your Lego!!! ;) x

  20. Great post! My younger sister is 5 years younger than me which meant I got away with playing well into my teens. It wasn’t until I ‘discovered’ boys that I decided be me more adult. It’s funny because I still remember the transition. I was so chuffed when I found out I was having a girl! Time to dust off the old Barbies! ;) #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Me too!! There’s a 10 year gap between my sister and me and I really felt as though I was ‘little’ for a long, long time — I was still happy to play with my Sindys at 13/14!!! xx

  21. You know what??…I actually do all those childish things now! I still act adult, but I act like a kid a bit of the time now. It’s so much fun, and destresses (if that’s a word) me. Our kids need to learn to be a bit silly, so we have to guide them somehow ;). #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Aaah Kelly — I TOTALLY agree!! The best times I remember, as a child, are the ones when my parents were laughing and having a good time. Those are the most memorable. Being childish is a great thing for an adult to be every now and then :)

  22. I think we just get so caught up in what everyone else tells us we ‘should’ be doing as we grow up, that we end up believing it all. So, to be a ‘proper grown up’ we have to stop being silly, stop playing around, get a proper job etc etc. But what a miserable way that is to spend a vast proportion of your life! Love your suggestions of childish things to do! My son has just started getting into watching films so we’ve been enjoying Cars and Toy Story recently. x

  23. Such a great little reminder. With more and more responsibilities, especially the one called Parenthood, we definitely forget to do things just for the sake of enjoyment! I think it’s time to get my felt tips out! #twinklytuesday

  24. oh my goodness! Guess who! I used to love this! I havent thought about it ever until seeing this picture! good times! xx

    1. I STILL love it!! LOL! I don’t need much excuse at all to get my old board games out!! So happy my mum kept them all! My poor sister didn’t get a look in — I nicked all of them! :)

  25. I love playing board games with my kids, we recently found a box of my childhood games and have such fun playing them, fun no matter what age. #twinkly Tuesday

    1. I absolutely agree Mac — sometimes putting aside our ‘adult head’ and thinking like a child for half an hour is all we need to give ourselves a little bit of focus xx

  26. It is great to colour mandalas for children and adults. It is interesting that all of us use different colors.

    Love kicking a pile of autumn leaves. :)

    Thank you for this post. :)

    1. Thanks so much Csilla! It would be an interesting project wouldn’t it? Give the same Mandala to 10 people and see how differently they would colour it in! Thanks for stopping by!

      1. I have coloured the same mandala as my daughters and it was amazing to see the different colours we used. :)

  27. I love this!! Guess Who was a firm fave of mine. We are as young as we feel. Life is too short for being all serious. I think having children helps us get away with acting like a big kid. Totally love this positive post. Perfect for a wellbeing Wednesday link up! ;-) xxxx

    1. I think that all adults should act like children every once in a while — especially the ones who don’t have kids of their own! You’re so right about life being too short. It would be a boring life to be a stuffy adult for 60+ years wouldn’t it? So looking forward to linking up with you tomorrow! xxx

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