Think what a better world it would be if we all—the whole world—had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap.

-Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Until that happens, there are ways we can incorporate child-like endeavors into our days. Here, how to act like a child—and why it's good for you.

1. Be Curious

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.

-Albert Einstein

Have you noticed how children have an unlimited capacity for curiosity and a deep thirst for knowledge and understanding? You can, too, and a good place to start is with nature.

"The universe is filled with wonder," says psychologist LeslieBeth Wish. "Wonder is an emotional and mental condition that children can access easily. A sense of wonder activates your pleasure hormones. You feel a part of something that is larger than you, and that can reduce your loneliness." She suggests spending time outdoors exploring. Use all of your senses to experience the world around you. If you can't physically be in nature, do the next best thing, and visit museums and watch TV shows or movies about natural wonders.

2. Be Playful

"Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing."

-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., former Supreme Court Justice

Playing has a multitude of benefits. It connects us to other people and stimulates energy and excitement. People who play are more creative, flexible, and better at solving problems.

Do something physical: dance, play hopscotch, ride a bike, or use a hula hoop. Dress up for Halloween or throw yourself a birthday party. And make sure your playtime includes plenty of laughter. Laughing boosts immunity, releases endorphins (feel-good hormones), increases infection-fighting antibodies, and decreases stress hormones.

3. Make Time for Snacks and Naps

"If this was adulthood, the only improvement she could detect in her situation was that now she could eat dessert without eating her vegetables."

-Lisa Alther, author, Blood Feud and Washed in the Blood

The same advice for kids works for adults: Snacking is an easy way to ensure you get all the nutrients you need.  What's more, smaller, kid-sized portions better match the slower metabolism that accompanies aging. And if you eat a wide variety of healthy foods, the occasional splurge on desserts is no big deal.

Another habit to steal from the little ones: Make sure you get plenty of sleep at night and take short naps when you can. Research shows that naps can significantly increase productivity and alertness.

LeslieBeth Wish, Ed., reviewed this article.


Danielle Hark, "5 Ways Acting Like a Kid Can Improve Your Mental Health, Huffington Post, March 14, 2013

Merideth Bower, "10 Ways Acting Like a Kid Keeps You Sharp,", accessed September 3, 2013.

GoodReads, "Quotes About Adulthood," accessed September 4, 2013

Quote Garden, "Quotations about the Inner Child," accessed September 4, 3013