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Here's how a grown-up playdate could help make friendship fun again

Let's #FindtheFun together.
/ Source: TODAY

This April, we're exploring ways to get more joy in our lives with our resident Fun Expert, Meredith Sinclair, the author of "Well Played: The Ultimate Guide to Awakening Your Family's Playful Spirit." Check back every week for updates here and follow the fun on our Instagram as well.

Now that we've discussed the importance of intentionally pouring more fun into our lives for the betterment of our families, our romantic relationships, and ourselves (self-care for the win, am I right?).

We hope you’ve found it inspiring and, more importantly, that you’ve begun to give yourself permission to embrace all the benefits playfulness provides. Play researchers (yes, they really are a thing), have discovered that human beings of all ages are at their best when they have regular doses of non-competitive, joy-inducing, mood-boosting fun and playfulness in their lives.

In addition, studies have shown that humans positively connect with one another when in the midst of a playful experience. Simply put, more fun makes us happier people; less fun makes us all grumpy. So today, we’re focusing on the major health and happiness benefits of having fun with our own friends.

For most parents including myself, orchestrating and managing our childrens’ best lives can quickly take precedence over doing the same for ourselves. Especially when our kids are small. Some of that comes with the territory, and is simply part of the parenthood job description.

But if we consistently sacrifice our own friendships for the sake of our kids’ we’re doing ourselves a super big disservice.

You might not recognize that unfulfilled, lonely, isolated feeling as a lack of fun with your preferred peers, but brain research has proven it’s often a major culprit. If you’ve been there, you get it.

Creating time to play with our own personal squad of carefully curated comrades deserves attention, intention, and priority. I promise that if you do just one of the below suggestions next week, you’ll see a marked difference in your sense of happiness, fulfillment, contentedness and overall well being. Try me.

In need of a play date with your best mates? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

1. Take back the field trip

Why should our kids have all the field trip fun? Bring back the joy of group exploration by mapping out a few months or even a year’s worth of local field trips for you and your troop. Your monthly field trips don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Be a tourist in your own town or city, take a day trip in search or a new experience you don’t want to try alone, or just plan something silly or ridiculous in your own back yard! Trampolines are 100 percent adult approved.

2. Grown-Up Game Day

I LOVE a good game night. But sometimes getting a group of friends together in the evening when babysitters, kid activities, and plain old exhaustion are involved can be tough. Instead, try a game day. Whether you do it on a weekday for an hour before school pick-up, or during a Sunday brunch, playing some ridiculous games with your squad and laughing yourselves silly for a couple hours is mighty good for the soul.

3. Join a team, or make one!

After moving from Chicago to L.A. a couple years ago, I had to pretty much start over in the friend-making dept. In my mid-40’s. Good times.

One of the ways I cannonballed into the friendship pool was by joining a tennis team this year. And while the competitive nature of being on a team took a beat to get comfortable, I quickly decided I’d simply do my best and have as much fun as possible. Our team ended up coming in second place, and I’ve made a few new pals I simply adore.