1. Spend time around young children. You can’t really engage with young kids without entering the world of play with them. Let them show you the way and leave your grownup mind behind!
2. Do art without thought of success. Grab a random stack of magazines and make a collage, without worrying about whether it’s “good”. Paint your kids’ bedroom and spray paint cartoon graffiti on the walls. Finger-paint. If you do art or writing, do a piece in the style of an artist or writer that’s completely different from your normal style. Have fun.
3. Play with active dogs. They love to run and jump! If you don’t own one, volunteer to walk a friend’s dog. Even just watching dogs play can be fun!
4. Keep kid toys at your desk. Having them around will automatically lighten things up, but playing with them when you’re bored or in a bad mood will help even more.
5. Practice being silly. So you're an adult. And squealing with glee when you see a puppy or climbing a tree might be seen as kind of... silly. But if you stop worrying about what other people think, you can feel less restrained, and experience the joy that it sometimes seems only children feel.
(And, for the record, the people around you are probably thinking, that looks like fun! I wish I were having that much fun. Or possibly, I wish I'd thought of that!)
6. Have a laugh. Playful people generally have a sense of humor about things. This doesn't just mean that they can tell funny jokes and make other people laugh. It also means that they don't take things too seriously.
Among the top phrases that describe a playful person (according to my research) are: "Laughs a lot," "Humorous," "Willing to be silly," "Jokes around a lot," "Can take a joke" and "Enjoys banter."
7. Be spontaneous. Don't be afraid to stray from the plan and go with the flow. You can't possibly predict everything that's going to happen today.
8. Be friendly. Playful people can play and have lots of fun while they're all alone, but being with others opens up doors. You can play more games, and you have more ideas. You have someone to talk to and joke with. Being around people, and being friendly and comfortable with them, will increase the overall playfulness.