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Many of us as children couldn’t wait to grow up, to be independent. And while being an adult does have its advantages, I’m sure I’m not the only one who misses the simplicity of childhood. The older you get, the more you might yearn for embracing your inner child. There are certainly times when I miss being a kid.
The good news is, we can always choose to be young at heart!
The innate curiosity and wonder with which a child experiences the world is something we don’t have to grow out of.
But how do you keep that youthful spirit alive with each passing year?
These 11 tips will inspire you to embrace your inner child.
1. Color or Draw
What’s a more classic children’s activity than coloring in a coloring book?
So many adults have become nostalgic for coloring books in recent years that adult coloring books have come out in high demand. (Personally, I still prefer classic children’s coloring books–Winnie the Pooh or Mickey Mouse & Friends are sure to have me feeling connected to my inner child.)
And don’t worry about staying inside the lines!
As kids, many of us were a lot less concerned with perfection than we learned to be as adults.
Remember that some things are worth doing simply because we enjoy them, not because we’re trying to impress anyone with our skills.
2. Take a Bath
Take a bath … and make it fun!
Or, if you feel inclined, why not break out some washable bath crayons and do some doodling in there? The water will wash away the evidence, so who cares if it’s a bit silly?
3. Watch Something Nostalgic
During those times when I miss my childhood, nothing takes me back quite like watching Winnie the Pooh (or any other Disney movie in my dearly treasured VHS collection).
Whether it’s your favorite Disney movie (sure to be available on Disney Plus!), classic Saturday morning cartoons, or anything else that makes your imagination come alive, sitting down for some good old fashioned children’s cartoons or a full-length family film is a nostalgic way of embracing your inner child.
4. Read Children’s Books
Imaginative, full of wonder, and usually accompanied by a moral that we can always use a reminder of, you can never get too old to appreciate children’s books.
Last year, I finally got myself a copy of the original Winnie the Pooh story, which I believe is a must-have in any decent book collection. Alice in Wonderland, too. And who doesn’t love good old Dr. Seuss?
5. Make Up a Story!
Once upon a time, in a far away land, there was an enchanted castle…
Or, maybe there was a little town of fairies in a hidden forest, or a pirate mermaid who started an inter-sea war, or whatever you want! There are no limits to the imagination.
Making up stories is like the playing pretend we used to do as kids, but you write it down. My favorite way to do this is through fanfiction, but you can write about anything–or just dream up a story in your head!
Not everything has to be turned into a project and shared with others. It’s okay to let your imagination run wild and not be concerned with turning it into some form of productivity. Embracing your inner child means doing things simply because you enjoy doing them.
6. Start a Stuffed Animal Collection
There’s no shame in having a collection of stuffed animals.
If you grew up in the 90s, you might have a hard time letting go of your childhood toys and stuffed animals, anyway. (Thanks a lot, Pixar.)
But did you know that beyond keeping your old stuffies, you can actually… get more? And that’s a totally okay thing to do?!?! Wild, I know.
Anyway, who’s going to watch over your room when you’re away?
7. Wear Bright Colors
Youthful attire is typically pretty colorful–at least it was when I was a kid.
So break out some bright colored clothes, or wear a graphic tee with your favorite cartoon character on it.
Overalls are also a fun way to feel a bit more youthful (and they’re cute as hell, IMO).
Personally, I find primary colors bring out my youthfulness (hence the color scheme of this website)!
If you don’t want to portray a youthful image to the rest of the world, you can always opt for some fun socks! No one will ever know.
8. Eat Fun Snacks & Drink Some Juice!
Cheerios, Goldfish crackers, Oreos, gummy fruit snacks, candy, apple juice, chocolate milk…
These are just a few examples of my favorite nostalgic snacks.
I like to stock up on my favorite snacks and keep them in fun little containers. Although sometimes I’ll eat Cheerios straight out of the box, one by one–truly channeling my inner toddler.
When I’m feeling particularly youthful (or just plain clumsy and want to avoid spills), I’ve been known to drink from a sippy cup every now and then. Is that taboo? Probably. Do I care? Absolutely not. Look at me, I’m telling the whole internet. We don’t do shame, here!
9. Swing on Swings
Who says playgrounds are just for kids?
Okay, it might look a little shady if you were to climb on the play structures and slide down a slide that’s barely your own height, but swings? Swings are safe.
I used to walk past a park every day on my way to work and it wasn’t uncommon to see adults on swings, with or without kids beside them.
A general rule is not to take up space if there are kids there, but often the swings are abandoned for the larger play structures, anyway.
So if you see an empty swing set and the park’s not too busy, go for it!
10. Do a Little Dance
Kids are so full of energy they often can’t help but bounce around, either dancing to real music or maybe just to the chaos in their tiny minds.
We can do this as adults, too. Just put on your favorite song and get movin’!
And again, don’t worry about perfection, especially if no one’s around to judge you. What have you got to worry about? Be silly! Jump around! Wiggle! Get funky!
11. Let Yourself Feel All Your Feelings
Perhaps the most important tip of all, and one directly related to self care, is to give your inner child room to feel.
As we grow, many of us subconsciously learn to bottle up our feelings and put on a brave face for the world. Needless to say, that’s not healthy.
Let your inner child out by embracing every emotion, giving it space to run its course.
Cry, scream, hit a pillow– go ahead, throw a little tantrum!
As long as you’re not hurting others in the process, it’s safe (and indeed healthy) to let all those feelings out.
And if you’re feeling happy? Dive into that, fully!
Be Happy, Be Sad, Be Silly, Be Mad
Children are known for feeling a broad range of emotions, and feeling them hard.
Unchecked and unprocessed, this can become a problem, but setting aside time for yourself to be in your feels, whatever they may be, can be healthy and healing.
So, go be a kid! Play around! Eat candy! Cuddle some stuffed animals! Feel your feelings! Be youthful! And remember that while getting older is unavoidable, growing up is a choice.
Hold on to that youthful spirit for as long as you live.
Riley, he/they pronouns