As adults, we can take our days very seriously. After all, our days are filled with responsibilities and chores and tasks that need to get done. And these are serious things. So it’s understandable. But in the midst of all this doing and going and being serious, we can forget to play. (And play is powerful for adults.)
We can forget to be silly and zany. We can forget about the beauty of nature and really any environment. We can forget to use our senses to their fullest capacities. We can forget about the magic that resides in making. In making anything. Anything at all.
In fact, even though I’m writing a book about making messes and leading a more playful life, I can forget. Maybe you forget, too?
If that’s the case, conceptual artist and author Keri Smith can help you remember. Her bestselling books (which are really workbooks) are all about play, adventure and creation.
Below, I’m sharing 10 prompts you might want to try this weekend. These prompts are from Adventure Lab, a boxed set that features three of Smith’s brilliant books: How to Be an Explorer of the World; Finish This Book; and The Imaginary World of _______.
- Recreate something from the natural world using a different material. For instance, use paper and cardboard to make a patch of grass.
- “Study a famous nature explorer…Re-create some of their adventures in your own neighborhood.”
- Find examples of these colors in nature: black, white, blue, red, brown, yellow, orange, dark green, olive green, gray, rust and cream. If it’s possible, collect samples.
- Write down 50 things about a trip to the library; a trip to the grocery store; or a walk in your neighborhood.
- What would a museum in your imaginary world look like? Is your museum big or tiny? Is it public or private? Maybe your museum “is portable and moves around in some kind of vehicle. Or maybe it is underground?”
- Look for “paint” in your surroundings. That is, think of all the things you can use as pigment. (You might need to add water.) For instance, you can use crushed berries or different kinds of dirt.
- Collect or document different patterns, whether they’re nature-made or human-made or both.
- “Collect as many parts of trees as you can” — parts that have naturally fallen. Study the shapes. Draw them. Arrange them into a collection.
- Every day, on your way to work or school, try to collect 30 objects.
- “Start a collection based on the first found object you see on your walk, whatever that is.” The connection between the objects might be based on color, shape, size or anything else.
When life is busy and bustling and filled to the brim with things to do, we can forget about the magic all around us. We can even forget that we have immense and incredible imaginations.
If the above prompts don’t resonate with you, think about other ideas or mini adventures you can take this weekend or next week. Think about other ways you can explore and use your senses fully.
Give yourself the opportunity to remember.