Enjoy a Creative Bounce with Simple Fun

Source: youtube.  Thanks Michael @BoxofCrayons.

Someone on Twitter recently asked: “What was your favorite childhood toy?”  With little hesitation, I replied: “a cardboard box.”

This self-realization set my mind’s thinking about how complicated our lives have become.  Your basement and garage is likely full of cardboard boxes containing things and stuff no longer needed, perhaps never needed.  Yes and all these things were supposed to make our lives less complicated, but instead returned the opposite.

This same perspective applies to our desire for greater creativity.  Sometimes a cardboard box is all that is needed to cultivate a fresh-eyed perspective of simple fun and to bounce back from complicated boredom and creative block.

Awaken the inner child.

Once upon a long time ago, you awakened each day with a smile, a hop, skip, and a jump.  You were early morning up-and-at-em, while the parents were tapping the snooze alarm and sleeping the slumbers of a:

Manic Monday,

Too Busy Tuesday,

Hump Day Wednesday,

Tumultuous Thursday,

Thank Goodness, it’s Friday,

Saturated Saturday, or

OMG it is almost back to work Sunday.

They lived for the weekend, but you, the fresh-eyed and bushy-tailed morning kid lived for every day.  You arose with a bounce off the bed and a dash to the window to open the day to its curiosities and simple fun.

The adult sees the day of responsibilities.
The child sees the day of possibilities.

The adult settles for the comfort of the cocoon.
The child aspires for butterfly wings.

The adult has answers.
The child has questions.

The adult worries.
The child scurries.

The adult works with the left brain.
The child plays with the right brain.

The adult thinks complicated humdrum.
The child thinks simple fun.

I believe that if you make more time for a child like perspective of simple fun, you will dramatically improve your adult perspective toward work and life.

Play with your right brain.

To give yourself a creative bounce, try right brain play: 

  1. Think with the box.  Get the largest empty cardboard box you can find and make something fun.

  2. Get out the crayons and color some refrigerator art.  Do not forget the autograph.

  3. Sit on the floor. Cross your legs. Watch TV.  Write stream of consciousness.  Play a board game or with cards.  Or, simply meditate.

  4. Play with a young child (if you happen to have one around).

  5. Fill up a big bowl of cereal for dinner, with bananas or a favorite fruit.

  6. Go shopping for classic toys for your right brain: ball and jacks, Lego, Silly Putty, Crayons, Yo-Yo, Play-Doh, Tinker Toys, Slinky. Now play with one of these toys and keep one near your work space as an aha reminder.

  7. Watch TV cartoons and laugh as loud as you can (as if your belly was full of jelly).  Try to mimic the cartoon voices.

  8. Add an artistic welcome message to your entranceway or driveway with colorful sidewalk chalk.

  9. Turn on the radio and burn calories with a wild and crazy body dance or a rock and rolling air guitar.

  10. Lay on the ground in your back yard and watch the clouds (if day) or stars (if night).

  11. Find something by Dr. Seuss and read aloud with exaggerated funny voices.

  12. Two simple fun things: bubble bath.  Guys, too.  I won’t tell anyone.

  13. Read a comic book.  Think about your super powers.  Make up a new Super Hero that has your desired super powers.  Do not forget to create a villain, a strange a far away home planet, and the lone weakness (aka kryptonite).

  14. Dress for comfort, not style or conformity (for at least one day a week).  Call it “casual me day.”

  15. Eat dessert first.  And second, if you can afford the calories and the sugar.

  16. Two words: theme dates.  Stir in some mischief.  Add atmosphere, props, and activities.  Monty Python Mondays.  Theatre Tuesdays, Wild and Wacky Wednesdays.  Italian Thursdays. Flip a Coin Fridays.  Game Face Saturdays.  Art Walk Sundays. 
  17. Wear crazy underwear.  Guys, those with holes do not count.

  18. Three requirements: backyard, barefoot, and barbeque.  Add Hawaiian shirts, Jimmy Buffett music, and non-alcoholic fruity drinks.  Perhaps you should wait until summer.

  19. Adopt (or borrow) a pet.

  20. Chug chocolate milk every time Kramer enters Seinfeld’s apartment.

  21. Watch your favorite Disney movie.  Or, watch the Wizard of Oz until you can Karaoke some of the dialogue.

  22. Dress the opposite of color coordination.

  23. Tweet naked (in private, of course).

  24. Make a “My Life” picture story slide show using photos from the web or your personal collection.  No words allowed.

  25. Try something not experienced since childhood.  Brainstorm a list and do one tonight.

  26. Summarize your day using a notepad and crayons for doodles and writing.

  27. Eat Jell-O brand gelatin with your fingers.

  28. Three words: wacky hat day.

  29. Buy pajamas with colorful characters or animals on it.

  30. Two more words: Simpsons marathon.  D’oh, add popcorn and friends.

  31. Find some colored paper.  Design and fold three different paper airplanes. Test them against each other.  Tomorrow, continue to test new designs until you find the unexpected success.  Then challenge others to a “flight off.”

  32. At the next summer rain, stomp barefoot thru mud puddles until your hair is wet.

  33. Bake, shape, and decorate cookies, with no two alike.  Don’t forget the milk, and the nap afterwards.

  34. See how high you can fly a kite or bounce a super ball.

  35. Use a man’s necktie for something otherwise.

  36. Play something requiring water guns or water balloons.

  37. Take photos of smile-shaped objects, things, animals, or people. And, share them on Twitter.

  38. Go bug spotting, bird watching, or leaf peeping.  Sketch or photograph your discoveries.

  39. At the next snow-filled opportunity, make a snowman, snow angel, or snowball.  Throw with the latter; dance with the former.  If snowless, then sketch a unique snowman or snow woman using everyday objects as accessories and facial expressions.

  40. Next Fall, rake those backyard leaves into a big pile then jump into them. And, roll around.

  41. For each day this week, call your voice mail and say something funny and weird and wonderful to your future self.

The take-away.

Think outside the box, on top of the box, under the box, or inside the box.  Better: play with the box or imagine you are the box.  Best:  use the box to express your creativity and make something new. 

This is simple fun.

Reading assignments.

The Top Ten Benefits of Play by Marianne St. Clair, @MarianneStClair

Play: in Body, Mind, and Spirit by Chris Dunmire, @chrisdunmire

The Importance of Play to Innovation by Braden Kelley, @innovate


“The true object of all human life is play.  Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.” Gilbert K. Chesterton

 “The reluctance to put away childish things may be a requirement of genius.” Rebecca Pepper Sinkler

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” Dr. Seuss



<< HOW TO: Jump-Start Your Good Morning Creative Mojo || Brainstorming: A Place Where Good Ideas Go to Die >>


One Comment on “Enjoy a Creative Bounce with Simple Fun”

  1. Sandy Ackers says:

    You’ve created a fantastic fun list, Denny — thanks! And the video is terrific.–Sandy AckersStrangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World


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