It's time to bring back these 6 childhood activities into your life.
Updated: Jul 5, 2021
Fun and lepak times ahead with these simple and forgotten childhood pleasures.
I miss my childhood. Maybe you do too.
When we were young, everything seemed new and exciting. I spent plenty of time with my brother, who is three years younger than I am.
We could make games out of anything and everything around us. Cardboard boxes, used napkin rolls and clothes pegs became robot costumes and ninja weapons. Our living room sofa turned into an obstacle course. Even the staircase became a rather bumpy slide. We would play all sorts of games in the garden, from badminton, to make-do waterslides, to catching and baseball.
I spent a lot of my earlier childhood drawing, a hobby that I've long since relinquished. I drew comics and even created a newsletter I would distribute to my friends in Primary school. This newsletter even had a mascot, oddly named 'Alex the Slug'.
My brother and I spent our afternoon biking around our neighbourhood, ringing our bell and exploring the unknown. We would bike as far as we were allowed to, and still, just a little bit further each time.
These nostalgic times of adventure, novelty, and exploration seem forgotten.
Just like many good experiences, we adapt to them over time and the newness fades away. Doing the same thing again and again, no matter how fun it is, and it becomes absolutely mundane. Well, that's just how our human brains tend to work.
Now as adults, we have the perception that there doesn't seem like much newness to the environment we live in each day. This is one of the reasons why we turn to digital media, like TV. It's a constant source of stimulation that spoon-feeds our mind with the healthy and the unhealthy alike. We've also increased our dependence on overseas vacations. This we know, guarantees our senses the unexplored and unknown.
Yet, what about all the times we remain in our country, waiting for the next vacation to come. Have we stopped seeing the beauty of the everyday little things that are around us, right now? Have we also forgotten how to be curious as the years have gone by?
I hope this article can spark your creativity and curiousity once again. Even if just a little bit. Here are six ideas from yours and my childhood that can we can revisit once again.
1) Go out and simply get lost in the world.
Singapore isn't a big country, we think we know all there is to know. How true is that though? Have you really been everywhere, to every park or reservoir, to every little neighbourhood?
When was the last time you just went out and got lost? I've started exploring more of my neighbourhood, which is in the Lentor area. As I opened my eyes to adventure, I found a whole new experience in the things that I might have otherwise missed had I stuck to the same old routines. I stumbled upon this beautiful field just five minutes away from our apartment.
Recently, my wife and I also fell in love with the east side. There are so many little lanes and alleys, we've been there more than five times and still find something extraordinary to look at and experience each time.
So go out. Just wander. Open your eyes to the experience of an adventure and get lost again.
2) Go throw a ball or a frisbee, or just laze about in a park.
What did you do the last time you went to a park? Most probably you went there for a bit of exercise like a jog around the track. Even our visits to leisurely places have become a thing of routine.
Now think back to what you used to do when you visited a park as a child? Whether it's Bishan or Pasir Ris park, I'm sure you enjoyed the heck out of the playgrounds and big grassy fields.
My dad got us a baseball set when we were young. We just loved taking turns between tossing the ball and catching it. Is there any reason I can't start again?
So try it out. Just head to the park and do whatever it is you want to do with your partner or friends on a field. Throw a frisbee, kick a football, try out a new ball game like cricket, kick a rugby ball or just lie on the grass and watch the clouds go by.
My wife with an ultra low strength ball throw.
3) Get stuck in battle of wits in a board-game.
I'm sure you've played monopoly when you were young. I recently played the Game of Life. Unfortunately, the game didn't hold up with age and my wife and I found it way too simplistic. (We'll keep it aside for when we have kids though.)
Board games have changed massively since we were kids. There are now all sorts of adult board games that are available. I don't specifically mean those party games like Cards against Humanity or Exploding Kittens and such, but if that floats your boat, then why not?
What we recently picked up was a board game called Ticket to Ride. I highly recommend it. My wife and I had a thrilling time figuring out the game and playing it. Bad news though, she won.
Just look at that proud smug.
Besides this, we also have Root. You can check out this site for more adult board games, and then go pick one up one at our many online shopping apps like Lazada. Otherwise, there's always games that never grow old, like Risk or Scrabble. Some of my friends have even levelled up a notch and gone into full-drawn Dungeon and Dragon sessions.
Now that's one way to relive your childhood.
4) Pick up drawing just for the fun for it.
It's funny you know, I was just mentioning to my wife a while ago that I missed drawing. She bought a 'How to draw almost everyday' book for me as a surprise gift, which then triggered the idea for this article.
As a kid, I drew anytime I could, even during school. All the page margins of my textbook were filled with doodles. That's one of the reason why I did so poorly in primary school (groan).
Besides drawing, I also took up acrylic painting a few years ago. Now that one I'm not much good at. Check out this, erm, self-portrait I painted a few months ago. Why am I wearing trunks? Well, shorts were too difficult to paint. However, all judgement aside, it was really good fun and it's hanging up on my study wall.
Starting price - $20,000 SGD
Just pick up some pencils, the usual gray or even colouring ones, and start drawing. You can even draw with a wellbeing theme in mind, such as what are some of the things or people you are grateful for this week. Or go to an art store and get a beginner's painting kit. Who cares if it's utter crap, do it for the fun of it!
5) Fall in love with animals again.
When we were young, our parents had the season ticket to the zoo. This meant we were there nearly once every month. I always thought the best part of our Singapore Zoo, besides Ah Meng the Orangutan, were the little chick-hatching station. You could just stand there and watch as the chicks crack open their little shell. The playground and little water park was plenty awesome too.
(Besides this, remember there was an A&W there? Anyone else thinks the new franchises just don't taste the same anymore?)
Even if you've got dogs at home (we've got two), go on and visit the Zoo, or one of our two Safari's when you can. We recently went to the River Safari. My wife now holds the dream to become a manatee one day, while I couldn't help but be enthralled by the Red Pandas.
Good news too, our safari's are undergoing an expansion and I, for one, simply can't wait.
My wife's dream. Us, one day as Manatees.
6) Get lost in a wonderful fiction book.
What are you reading nowadays? Standing Tall: The Goh Chok Tong Story Volume One? Well, I'm definitely not mocking you if you read plenty of non-fiction. It's highly educational. I spend much of my time reading Psychology and Statistics books.
How about when you were younger? Maybe you read a bit of Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton; anything from the Goosebumps series; the Famous Five or Hardy Boys; or even more recently-ish Harry Potter or the Eragon books.
You see, the reason why I focused on fiction books in this particular article, is there still exists a place for them aside non-fiction, even in our adult minds. It allows your mind to tap into it's creative areas, to create a visual and vibrant universe from words. All this from a bunch of words and your mind. This of course, is much better than letting the TV doing it for you.
Reading fiction takes you to wonderful places and new worlds. I personally love and still read an abundance of Science-Fiction books. One of my favourite authors is Liu Cixin, who wrote the Three-Body Problem. Otherwise, I read anything from General Fiction to Fantasy, and books from all different countries, like Haruki Murakami's magically-surrealistic books (all translated of course).
Besides the worlds or universes you create in your mind, you get to live the lives and perspectives from the different characters too. Psychological research has actually found that reading literary fiction can improve your capacity to understand and mentally react to other people. It helps you develop empathy, theory of mind, and critical thinking too.
However for this, I urge you to pick up a fiction book just for the sake of getting lost in it. Just like you did when you were a child. Snuggle in during a rainy day with a cup of coffee, and let the words carry you on for a ride.
Thanks for reading Kaya Toast for the Soul. I really hope you enjoyed this little article! Keep on living with your wellbeing in mind. Many thanks, Hernping.