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Make a Play Date: Games for Grown-Ups

Just because you’re not a kid shouldn’t mean you never get to just… play… anymore, right? The popularity of adult coloring books is proof that we’re not the only ones who think that way (thank goodness!). After all, the definition of play (to exercise or employ oneself in diversion, amusement, or recreation) applies just as much (or more) to adults as to kiddies. Check out some fun, traditionally-for-children activities that we think are ready to be reclaimed by grown-ups.

Board (not bored) games

Monopoly’s allure — getting out of jail free, accruing real estate, doling out the dollars to your siblings — has no expiration date. This venerable board game is one that is just as fun today as when you were young. Some things never change (though we are a little peeved at parent company Hasbro’s thumbs-down to the classic thimble game token…and for making us wait until March 19th for a replacement). Additional reasons never to stop playing Clue or Masterpiece or Candyland: According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, playing board games can decrease the risks of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Getting carded

Go Fish, War, I Doubt It, Spit — no, you are not having a fight! You are doing something that doesn’t involve a screen; you are playing a card game. The non-device part of this activity is good because the effects of too much screen time (inability to sleep, among other negatives) can be, um, kind of bad. Instead, gather some friends or family around a table and deal them in. In my father’s family, during a big Italian dinner--between the fruit course and dessert--the old folks would clear the table and play cards, specifically a game called Scopa. Years later, I bonded with my dad and the grandkids learning how to play. Learn the rules for tons of popular card games here. And go here for the (easier-explained-in-person) Scopa instructions.

In the swing

Remember racing out at recess to be first on the playground swing set? You’d kick higher and higher until it almost seemed like you could touch the clouds with the toes of your sneakers. Well, that feeling never gets old — even if you do. “In functional fitness, we look for flexibility, endurance, strength, and balance across different platforms and how you move in your environment. Especially as you get older, it’s so important,” says Holly Lucille, ND, an expert in fitness and integrative medicine and a licensed naturopathic doctor. “With the respiration and kicking motion of swinging, if you had a wearable it would be going off.” The arm and leg movements of swinging — and especially standing swinging (which we don’t advise straight out of the gate) — would likely help strengthen your core, use a lot of muscles at once, and improve coordination.

Gotta bounce

Why should kidlets have all the trampoline fun? Indoor bounce arenas or trampoline parks are popping up all over, and many have special hours or classes for older kids and/or adults. Research shows that rebounding on a mini-trampoline helped older women improve their balance, so imagine what it could do for you! Round up your friends for a night of leaps and bounds. We guarantee that this will put a spring in your step.

Arts and crafts movement

Remember finger-painting? You’d while away the hours at preschool wearing a big old shirt backwards sitting in front of a piece of poor quality paper and a tray full of watery paint. It was all about free-form creativity, doodling around and getting covered in paint. The Fingerpaint Magic app on iOS takes the mess out of it, but it’s super fun to unleash your inner Abstract Expressionist anyway.

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