Make Life A Game: The Mary Poppins Principle

Maria Moratto

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What would childhood be without games? We can broaden this question to life in general. What would life be without games?

Games are the one essential in life which we should strive to maintain, no matter how old we are and no matter how worn out we might be. I am not talking about sports, here, though some possess a “game” quality. I am talking about the act of having fun while doing certain activities.

Much like Mary Poppins. Remember that, just after she made herself hired and went to the children’s nursery, she decided that they should tidy up the room? The children were upset and she said that they would make a game of the activity.

“This is a game, isn’t it, Mary Poppins?” was Jane’s concerned question, in which she replied that you have to have an element of fun in everything you do. As a consequence, the activity, instead of being perceived as an ordeal or a chore, is then perceived as a collaborative game; it becomes enjoyable.

So, what did Mary Poppins do? She started a song (music is very important), added some magic in the activity, and pronto! The children were engaged and while doing the chore, everyone was super happy. What a game tidying up the nursery had become!

Now, granted, most of us can’t do magic, even if our lives depended on it (I could use some magic for house cleaning, trully); but the idea still remains. We sure can add the quality of fun in everything we do (house cleaning included).

So how can we make our daily activities enjoyable? Here are some examples:

1. Cleaning: Put on some music; dance and sing along. Desi Arnaz once put the newspaper in front of the vacuum cleaner so that he could enjoy the news while vacuuming the house; you could read a book, as Renee Zellweger did, in Bridget Jones;

2. Folding laundry: Watch you favorite movie or speak on the phone with your favorite person;

3. Cooking: Do what Cate Blanchet did in the film “Bandits, ” but don’t overdo it or you will have a lot of cleaning to do after dinner is ready and you might regret that bit of fun;

4. Commuting: listen to a great comic relief on CD;

5. Homework: Listen to some Mozart while you are at it. You have heard of the Mozart Effect, I am sure.

6. Work: Take breaks every hour or so, take a deep breath, do a little stretching, read some jokes on the Internet, play with one of those magnet puzzles;

7. Errands: Make up a treasure hunt game and follow it whenever you need to go;

8. Dishes: “The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes. ~ Agatha Christie. ” You can also plan your next vacations. Enough said.

9. Buying food: Pretend you are a spy. Look for hints of a bad guy in every aisle of the supermarket. Make sure no one is spying at you and hide when you spot a spy. Any person can be a counter spy.

10. Mowing the lawn: Do what Steve Martin did in “My Blue Heaven”: Dress up and read a book while you mow the lawn. People will think you are nuts. You will feel great!

So here are just some simple ideas on how you can use the Mary Poppins Principle to have more fun in life. What else can you think about? Go overboard, exaggerate, feel silly. But most important of all, feel good!

© Maria Moratto 2005

About the author

Dr. Maria Moratto holds 5 degrees and is a life coach. She promotes coaching, seminars and courses in developing the perfect life’s blueprint, which includes attracting abundance and loving relationships, time management, stress management, diversity, goal setting, career search and change, values clarification, leisure, self-improvement, college life, communication and learning styles, spirituality, natural health and lifestyle.

She is also writing two books: one on successful relationships and the other on attracting the perfect lifestyle; both coming soon. Visit her website at and sign up for a no-cost e-zine that is short, informative, and fun.

Go to her blog at: for great discussions on these topics. You may reprint this article in its entirety as long as you add this source box. She would also appreciate an email to: Please, rate this article if you found it useful.


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