I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
Published November 9th 2011
Environmentalist and nature writer Rachel Carson once said "If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life". I couldn't agree more.
Adult responsibilities, job pressures, even the technology that's supposed to give us more time to enjoy the world, get in the way of maintaining that true sense of wonder as we grow older. But all is not lost, wonder salvation is at hand through these few simple and inexpensive remedies.
This is one of my personal childhood favourites and one I still indulge in public parks, much to the embarrassment of my children. There's something about the rhythmic action, the feel of the breeze in your face, and the changing viewpoint of the world around you, that makes swinging a comforting and relaxing past-time. It's the perfect way to forget the cares of the world, chill out and give free rein to your imagination. If you prefer you can always go hard, go high and go wild. The choice is yours. Cost: Nothing. Nailing that spectacular Nadia Comenici-like dismount from the moving swing after much practice: Priceless.
Bubbles are magical, iridescent balls of fun. You can pick up one of those cheap bubble-blowing packs at any discount variety store or better still make your own bubble mixture (mix half a cup of detergent, 2 tablespoons of glycerine and 5 cups of water) and bubble wand (using wire coat hangers, pipe cleaners or plastic drinking straws). Place your bubble mixture in a shallow, flat-bottomed container, swish your wand about, then hold it about 30cm away from your mouth, pucker up and blow.... and blow.... and BLOW. I guarantee you won't want to stop. Cost: Less than $5.00 Blowing the perfect bubble and then catching it deftly on the tip of your nose without bursting it: Priceless.
Build Sand Castles You don't need to sculpt sand like the experts. The only ingredients you need to build a sand castle are a plastic bucket and spade or assorted plastic containers, an uncrowded stretch of beach, and child-like energy and enthusiasm. Yes - I know it's possible to build sand castles in a sand pit, but the experience is so much better accompanied by salt-tang air and the sounds of seagulls and crashing waves. Don't care a fig for the strange looks of passing beach-walkers. Just relish the sand between your toes and let your inner Bob the Builder take over. Cost: Just petrol for the drive to the beach. That feeling of satisfaction when you finish that last turret or complete the last section of moat: Priceless.
Lie on Your Back and Look at the Clouds and Stars
Is it a bunny rabbit? Is it a spaceship? No. It's a visible mass of condensed water vapour in the atmosphere - a cloud. It's hard to remember the time when a cloud was simply a fluffy, floating wad of cotton wool up in the sky. Summer is the perfect time for this activity. Find a patch of lawn (preferably one that has that crisp, freshly-mown smell), fling yourself onto it and gaze skyward, searching for hidden objects. At night look for shooting stars and satellites or play a game of celestial connect-the-dots. You never know what you'll discover. Cost: Nothing The feeling that possibly you alone in all the universe have witnessed the fiery plunge of a meteoroid through earth's atmosphere: Priceless.
Finger Paint The world is so refined and sterile for many of us that we don't have too many opportunities to get our hands dirty. Office supply stores stock butcher's paper in sheets or on rolls and children's paint can be found at toy stores, art suppliers or variety stores. Dig your hands right in to that colourful, squelching, soothing goop and then let your imagination and creative juices run riot. Cost: Less than $10
Seeing your Picasso-esque masterpiece on display every time you open the fridge: Priceless.
If you're a bit self-conscious about these activities, then borrow a small person to enjoy them with. They'll show you how it's done - with curiosity, abandonment and wonder at the simple marvels of the world.