Play List


Playing is about doing something without purpose, just because it makes us feel good. Lack of play in childhood is associated with aggression as an ability to play is a crucial coping mechanism for both young and older people. As we progress through our lives, our lives become serious, busy, purposeful and we sometimes forget to play. Yet, when we stop playing, it affects our wellbeing negatively. This is where the play list comes into play.

When your life becomes challenging, reflect on what type of play activities you can engage with every day. Here is a potential list of activities, adapted from the Quality of Life therapy (Frisch, 2006):

“Personal Pleasure and Renewal
  1. Blogging, Instant Messaging, or Text Messaging
  2. Watching something special on TV or DVD
  3. Computer Gaming
  4. Watching a sports game or event
  5. Shopping
  6. Reading or watching something funny
  7. Listening to music
  8. Listening to the radio
  9. Eating a nice meal, dessert, or snack
  10. Having a drink, soda, or coffee
  11. Viewing or reading something sexy (Erotica)
  12. Visiting your favourite (or new) sections of a book, video, or music store
  13. Playing cards or board games
  14. Planning a day trip or vacation
  15. Taking a day trip or vacation
  16. Dressing up
  17. Putting on comfortable clothes
  18. Getting a massage
  19. Going to a hair stylist
  20. Getting a manicure
  21. Having some time alone
  22. Making up a pleasant daydream or fantasy
  23. Looking at home videos or picture albums
  24. Just sitting and relaxing
  25. Taking a leisurely bath or shower
  26. Sleeping in
  27. Taking the day off
  28. Staying up late, taking a nap, getting up early
  29. Making a fire in the fireplace
  30. Doing some pleasure reading
  31. Playing bingo or gambling
  32. Singing or dancing by yourself
Community Activities
  1. Going to a movie
  2. Going to a play, show, or lecture
  3. Going to a concert
  4. Going to a bookstore
  5. Visiting a park
  6. Visiting neighbours
  7. Going to a sporting event or game like football, basketball, baseball, or soccer
  8. Going to a museum
  9. Going to a botanical garden or aquarium
  10. Going out to eat at a favourite restaurant
  11. Going out to eat at a new restaurant
  12. Going out for a drink, coffee, snack, or dessert
  13. Doing something outside
  14. Going shopping
  15. Buying yourself something special
  16. Buying someone else something special
  17. Going to a garage, auction, or antique sale
  18. Shopping out of town
  19. Going window shopping for things you can’t buy
  20. Taking a walk somewhere pretty or interesting
  21. Going sightseeing in the country
  22. Going sightseeing in the city
  23. Going to a coffee shop
Hobbies/Creative Outlets
  1. Gardening
  2. Dancing
  3. Playing cards
  4. Drawing or painting
  5. Playing with, caring for, or watching pet(s)
  6. Taking music, painting, singing, dancing, acting lessons
  7. Playing a musical instrument
  8. Joining a singing or acting group
  9. Using the computer: including games, programs, Internet
  10. Doing needlework like sewing and knitting
  11. Doing woodworking
  12. Keeping a journal
  13. Writing a poem or story
  14. Going skating or rollerblading
  15. Doing arts and crafts
  16. Doing a crossword or jigsaw puzzle
  17. Hiking
  18. Birdwatching
  19. Doing photography
  20. Visiting or joining a hobby group
  21. Playing pool or ping pong
  22. Watching sports on TV
  23. Going to a sporting event or game
  24. Collecting stamps, coins, cards, etc.
  25. Stargazing/astronomy
  26. Boating or canoeing
  1. Golfing
  2. Fishing or hunting
  3. Joining a sports team like softball, volleyball, basketball, etc.
  4. Playing soccer
  5. Water skiing
  6. Snow skiing
  7. Playing racquetball or tennis
  8. Bowling
  9. Cycling
  10. Hiking
  11. Playing baseball, basketball, or football
  12. Playing shuffleboard, badminton, croquet, or horseshoes
  1. Surfing the Web
  2. Visiting a library
  3. Visiting a bookstore
  4. Going to professional or business meeting or conference
  5. Reading work-related material
  6. Taking a class
  7. Running computer programs
  8. Going to a lecture
  9. Going to a museum
  10. Reading the newspaper
  11. Reading a favourite magazine
  12. Reading a novel or mystery
  13. Reading interesting nonfiction books or magazines
  14. Reading about your hobbies and interests
  15. Looking at picture books
  16. Learning a new language
  17. Learning about computers
  18. Reading do-it-yourself books or magazines
Socializing, Family Activities, and Helping Others
  1. Visiting/phoning a friend
  2. Visiting/phoning a date
  3. Visiting/phoning relatives
  4. Visiting/phoning partner
  5. Visiting/phoning children or grandchildren
  6. Visiting/phoning acquaintance
  7. Inviting over a friend, acquaintance, date, relatives, partner, children, or grandchildren
  8. Planning an outing with a friend, acquaintance, date, relatives, partner, children, or grandchildren
  9. Writing a letter or e-mail to a friend, acquaintance, date, relatives, partner, children, or grandchildren
  10. Going to a party
  11. Planning a party or get-together
  12. Playing with kids
  13. Reading to the kids
  14. Teaching/helping kids
  15. Taking family pictures and videos
  16. Flying a kite with the kids
  17. Wrestling, tickling, joking with kids
  18. Take kids somewhere they enjoy (e.g., amusement park)
  19. Going dancing
  20. Flirting
  21. People watching
  22. Taking a walk with someone else
  23. Going to a professional business meeting or conference
  24. Doing a favour for someone
  25. Playing cards with someone or a group
  26. Playing a game with someone
  27. Planning a vacation with others
  28. Taking a vacation with others
  29. Visiting or joining a hobby group
  30. Visiting or joining a social club
  31. Visiting or joining church/temple/synagogue/mosque, etc.
  32. Visiting or joining a community, political, or school group working on causes you believe in
  33. Joining your neighbourhood association
  34. Helping to solve a local, state, national, or international problem
  35. Doing something nice for someone
  36. Buying someone a present
  37. Giving money or things to a group or cause you believe in
  38. Complimenting or thanking people in your life
  39. Volunteering to help people you enjoy like children, old people, etc.
  40. Joining a self-help group
  41. Having a good conversation with someone
  42. Talking to someone about your interests or things on your mind
  43. Asking someone for help, advice, or support
  44. Dressing up and going out on the town
  45. Going on a picnic
  46. Camping
  47. Playing sports with others
  48. Singing or dancing with someone
  49. Asking someone you like to get together so they will ask you to go out later
Health and Fitness
  1. Exercising
  2. Working out at a health club
  3. Going to an aerobic class
  4. Walking
  5. Jogging
  6. Swimming
  7. Lifting weights
  8. Trying to control or eliminate a bad habit
  9. Going to counselling
  10. Reading a self-help book
  11. Joining a self-help group
  12. Doing self-help exercises
  13. Doing Quality Time
  14. Doing a Relaxation Ritual
  15. Having a good cry
  16. Meditating/praying
  17. Sitting quietly for 30 minutes
  18. Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep
  19. Eating three meals a day, including breakfast
  20. Getting a physical exam
Spiritual and Religious Activities
  1. Visiting or joining a church, temple, zendo, synagogue, mosque, etc.
  2. Praying or meditating
  3. Reading religious, spiritual, or inspirational literature
  4. Asking someone to pray for you
Satisfying or Enjoyable Chores
  1. Cook or bake something
  2. Fixing something
  3. Cleaning something up
  4. Doing a home improvement project
  5. Doing something you’ve put off but will feel great when it’s over
  6. Dealing with a problem or challenge that has been bothering you
  7. Completing do-it-yourself repairs or home improvement
  8. Rearranging or decorating the house/apartment
  9. Planning the day, including something that is fun or gives you a feeling of accomplishment
  10. Planning a personal project
  11. Planning a self-improvement project
Couples Activities (for Romantic Partners)
  1. Going out on a “date” (without children)
  2. Giving a massage or backrub
  3. Taking the kids to a sitter returning home for time together as a couple
  4. Sharing a romantic dinner at home
  5. Making time to visit
  6. Taking a shower or bath together
  7. Making love
  8. Cuddling, kissing, or necking
  9. Trying new approaches to lovemaking
  10. Spending an evening at a hotel or motel—in or out of town (without children)
  11. Sharing personal feelings and opinions
  12. Reading together and discussing ideas
  13. Reading out loud to each other
  14. Wrestling, rough housing, or tickling each other
  15. Flirting with each other
  16. Complimenting each other
  17. Planning something to do together
  18. Visiting, calling, or messaging partner at work
  19. Having lunch together
  20. Making love during lunchtime
  21. Taking a walk during lunchtime
  22. Showing public displays of affection
  23. Singing or play music together
  24. Relaxing (for example, have breakfast and read the newspaper together on Sunday)
  25. Watching the sun rise or set together
  26. Going on a picnic together”


Frisch, M. (2006). Quality of Life Therapy: Applying a life satisfaction approach to positive psychology and cognitive therapy. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Have you tried this activity? If so, please share your experience.