Nancy Roman

In Praise Of Childish Things

One of my least favorite Bible verses is this one:

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”  

And yeah, I get it.  We grow up and we have to behave as grownups. We go to work. We pay our bills. We keep our house clean. We make sure there’s gas in the car and food in the fridge.

But – oh, for those childish things!

In this time of worry, uncertainty, and sadness, may I please give a shout-out for childish pleasures?

Make time to regress a little.

Don’t put away the childish things permanently. Take them out – once a week or so – just for a little while, and play with them.

Let’s clear away the stress that has been pounding at the place just behind our eyes, and delight in a simpler pleasure.

What did you love as a child?

Do it again.

Here’s some suggestions:

Ride a bike. Take your feet off the pedals as you go downhill.

Sing. Sing in the shower or as you make dinner. Sing in the car. (that’s my favorite place.)

Maybe instead of a quick shower, take a bubble bath. Make a bubble beard.

Bubbles… oh yes, blow bubbles too. With your gum if you want. Or with a wand and some dish soap. I have a photo of my aunt (whom I miss so much) blowing bubbles with my sister’s children. She had cancer and yet her face shows only joy.

Did you love your tinker toys? Lincoln logs? Erector sets? Legos? Get some. If you can’t borrow them from a child, or from your library, buy a set. You spend money on stupider stuff all the time.  (I spent $20 on a ham sandwich the other day. Ham. $20.)

Make a puzzle. My parents had a jigsaw puzzle on their dining room table at all times. We made puzzles together as kids. As adults, when we visited, we always took a few minutes at the table. I never left their house without the satisfaction of finding that one piece of sky.

If it was a Barbie that rocked your world, rock one now. Lots of grown women collect dolls. It’s not for the investment. It’s for the feeling. Or stuffed animals. When my husband’s aunt could no longer take care of a pet, she liked to sit with a soft toy cat on her lap. It made her feel more comfortable in her chair.

Once in a while, eat marshmallow fluff instead of your fancy boysenberry preserves. Drink your classy beverage out of a curly straw.

Keep a Pez dispenser in your purse instead of mints.

Dig in the dirt. Adult people call it ‘gardening’.

Don’t eat that orange without tossing it in the air a few dozen times.

Write something – maybe just your grocery list – and dot every ‘i’ with a little heart.

Give out with a big ‘Mooooo!’ when you drive by a cow.

Get yourself a pair of silly pajamas. Watch your favorite tv show in them.

Change your ringtone to Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Splash in a puddle. Wade in a brook. Pick up pretty rocks and keep them in a jar.

Make a chain with the paper clips in your desk. Or a nice big ball with rubber bands.

Sculpt. Not like grown-up sculpt. Play-Doh sculpt. Modeling clay feels so smooth warmed by your hand. Silly Putty too.

Buy a Chia Pet. Grow something hairy.

Color. There’s a reason why adult coloring books are so popular right now. Coloring can calm you. I remember years ago walking in on my mother when she was babysitting for her granddaughter. Mom was sitting at the kitchen table coloring. By herself. My niece had wandered off to do something else, but Mom was still coloring. When I laughed, my Mom said, quite seriously, “I just wanted to finish my picture.” Mom was ahead of her time.

Run. Not like ‘workout’ run. Like ‘celebration’ run.

Be a kid. Just once in a while. You’ll feel a lot better.








  1. I can still hear Claudia playing the piano, could sit for hours listening. Lighting the tree and Christmas Caroling downtown. Anytime we could walk downtown. Popping a balloon at McLellands to buy a sundae. Playing Red Rover but making sure Johnny was on our team. Snow forts in the huge snow piles on my dead end street. Collecting gum wrappers to make Chinese jump ropes. Playing on a swing set. Racing leaves down the pequabuck, start at Center St. and winner goes under Durables first. What fun and cheap fun kids of the 50’s 60’s had.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The trick now is to do more than reminisce. To find something from childhood that you can actually do again, and get that innocent pleasure again. Maybe waiting for the ice cream man.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think the best ting to do is spend time with grandkids, or neighbors kids, and show them the games we played as kids. Dolls, tea parties, paper dolls, tag, sno ball fights, It gets them off the couch and us to relive our own childhoods.


        • Do you know that my mother – raised by very poor and old-fashioned parents – had never gone sledding or skating – or a lot of other things until she had us kids? It was one of the reasons she thought having kids was so fun…. she got to do so many fun things!


          • Our parents were one of a kind. My mom always said the same thing. Life was tough in their day, through the depression when kids were expected to work just as hard as the parents, and they didn’t have the opportunity to “play” like we did.


  2. Being a grandmother (for the first time) has given me the ‘excuse’ to play with dolls, have tea parties with stuffed animals as guests, colour (OUTSIDE THE LINES!), draw on the sidewalk with chalk, splash in a paddling pool, build with Duplo blocks, sing silly songs, blow bubbles, listen to “Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse” on my car’s CD player, and so many more things that bring back the joy of childhood. It’s so much fun! Everyone should revert to those childhood activities every once in awhile!


    • Children and grandchildren give you that wonderful opportunity to enjoy simple pleasures. Like my cancer-stricken aunt blowing bubbles with my sister’s kids.


  3. I do agree. I sometimes think that even kids need to do these things more. They seem to become little adults eariier and earlier and some parents seem to encourage that. “Grow up.” “You are too old for toys.” (to a 7 year old) “Don’t be a baby.” . Their generation may not know how to regress to childhood because they didn’t have it in the first place.


    • I played with dolls until I was 14. I don’t think I was maladjusted. But it would be unheard of for a girl today to be playing with dolls.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. I played with mine until about that age. It took me many years to admit that I still liked them. I started to collect dolls in my forties and yes I do play with them if you call redressing, tidying and photographing dolls play. I do. 🙂


  4. $20 for a ham sandwich? Even in Manhattan, you can get one for less than $10 (not much less, though).


    • Well, there was coffee and fries too. At a trendy outdoor cafe. I splurged. But still …$20????

      Liked by 1 person

  5. All good advice. A friend and I were out for a walk this morning. It rained last night and there were several puddles. I told her I wanted to stomp through one of them, but then my shoes would be wet and my socks would bunch up and I’d get a blister. We still had 5 miles to go. I should have at least stomped on a puddle when we were done with the walk.


    • Next time! And if you live someplace with a cold winter… slide on the icy puddles!


  6. Wonderful suggestions! Oh, and growing up across the highway from a dairy farm, I still ‘moo’ every time I pass by a cow in a field. Every time….ask my hubby.


    • I am not one bit surprised you moo at the cows. Good for you!


  7. Lovely post and I agree fully! Too many people forget to nurture their inner child!


    • Everybody would be happier if they could be a child for just a little while each week.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree! Letting our inner child out to play now and then is actually a very good thing.


    • Our inner child needs to be an outer child a lot more often.


  10. Pam

    Great post, Nancy! I still love to play jacks like we always did on inside recess days in elementary school back in the sixties. Not to brag, but I can still beat anybody. 🙂 I also let out a hefty “MOOOO” when I pass cows on the highway. LOL!


    • Pam

      Woops, I didn’t see before that Dianna moos at cows, too. That’s 3 of us! Ha ha ha!


      • I loved jacks… I need to see if I can still play them! And I think people underestimate the importance of mooing. I am actually working on a poem right now about mooing!


  11. Puddles, oh my. Just the other day I skirted around one, and said, wistfully, I should have walked through! I even wore adequate footwear! Next time I will- I promise, maybe even today as it’s raining around here.


    • I usually dislike walking the dog in the rain, but this morning I put on my muckboots and ran around with him.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Chris

    As the holidays approach I’ll change my ringtone to Alvin. You’ll have to call me occasionally to freak out my coworkers.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Bonnie

    It is easy to get wrapped up in nostalgia for the things we did as kids. I don’t think kids are doing worse activities nowadays – just different activities. When I was a kid, everyone watched endless amounts of TV – remember Gilligan’s Island reruns and Happy Days? Now, the kids all watch endless amounts of YouTube videos. I don’t see much difference. Kids today all play endlessly with Legos, instead of the TinkerToys of my parent’s generation (I was actually in the early Lego era myself). In my day, we read Tiger Beat and swooned en masse over Donny Osmond. Now they swoon over manga idols. From my kids, I have learned the joys of really huge Lego sets, SnapCircuits, PewDiePie YouTube videos (because watching someone else play a video game is so much more fun than playing it yourself), Usagi the rabbit samurai, and Minecraft. I even now know what nightcore is, though you will never get me to understand why speeding up bad pop tunes so that the singers sound like chipmunks is a good thing!

    The best part is, someday my kids will be nostalgic too, and will be wondering why those kids of 2050 can’t appreciate the good old simple joys like Minecraft! 🙂 Wish I could be around to see it…


    • Oh, I am not criticizing how kids play today, or saying that the way we played was better… just that adults should play more!


      • Bonnie

        I get to build Legos with Elias and play Minecraft with Naomi. Malachi has always been too serious to really play.


        • Kids are a great excuse to play, but us adults should also play even when there are no kids around. Especially when there are no kids around.


  14. Ray G

    Gee, doesn’t allowing a cat to play in one’s hair (as in your recent post) also qualify as a fun, silly thing to do? I’m sure you enjoyed it as much as the kitten did.


    • Yes! It was very prickly fun.


  15. I just bought an indoor trampoline for exercise ~ shh, don’t tell anyone but jumping on that with my Tina Turner, Elvis or Motown blaring is the MOST FUN I HAVE HAD IN YEARS ~ Love it 🙂 Great post, thanks for the reminder. MJ



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