Kids often pair dress-up with playing make-believe, but adults are much more likely to tire of pretending than they are to outgrow the joy of dressing up. Donning makeup, jewelry, up-dos and fancy dresses—or a sharp suit or tuxedo for the men—adds an element of excitement to an event. Why wait for a special occasion to roll around to break out the dashing duds? Throw a “just because” party, or make a reservation at a fancy restaurant and play dress-up for no other reason than a desire to get dolled up.
Whether they’ll admit it or not, many adults never quite outgrew playing tag. Of course, the adult versions incorporate elements like lasers or paintballs to make their tag games seem more mature, but the principles are the same. There’s no need to spend money to play variations of tag when you can get a game going at home for some free fun and great exercise. Just name a “home base,” pick someone to be “it” and start running.
When can two chains and a little pumping make for a good time? When you’re swinging, of course. No, not that partner-swapping kind from the 1970s—just the simple, clean fun of flying high in the sky on a swing set. While some adults prefer the quiet rocking of a porch swing, that gentle ride is much too sedate to bring back that youthful exhilaration that comes from real swings. Whether a full-on swing set in a public park or a simple tire swing hanging from a backyard tree, nothing makes one feel like a kid again quite like a swing.
Hiding around the house is fun when you’re a little kid, but adults playing the game can and should think bigger. Maturity gives adults the freedom to play hide-n-seek in all sorts of spooky or unusual places. Set up a game in your local cemetery after dark, or play throughout a hotel for an entire weekend getaway. Most adults are even discreet enough to play tag out in public without disturbing guests or attracting unwanted attention from security guards. Up the ante at a group outing by playing hide-n-seek at a museum or a haunted historic site.
Maybe you’ve indulged in a little bedroom role-play, or perhaps you’ve satisfied your urge to become someone else by acting in a little community theater. While both these playacting opportunities are loads of fun, there’s no need to save playing make-believe for the legitimate stage or the privacy of your own home. Playing make-believe in public is exhilarating, especially with a partner or two as you build a fake backstory together. Perhaps you’ll convince a couple strangers that you’re an ex-CIA agent or a retired lion tamer—as long as you’re not stealing identities, there’s little harm in embellishing who you are to people you’ll never see again. Not brave enough to pretend without a reason? Throw a costume party and commit to staying in character the entire night.