"I have found out that every person out on that street," says play specialist Ed Lilley, "is five minutes away from crawling around on their hands and knees and barking.

"That is, if we have permission and if we have the safety, we are five minutes away from the wonderful luxury really of opting to let our brains be free."

Some of his "springboards" to play:

* If you have a memory of something from childhood--like lying down in new-mown grass--do it rather than think about it.

* If you yearn to go barefoot, do it today.

* If you wonder what it would feel like to roll from the top of a hill to the bottom, do it.

* Start with a child. "I think that children understand that play is a healing ground, a place where they can take the things that overwhelm them, that are chaotic to them, that they cannot control."

* Play hopscotch.

* Skip to your car.

* Sing the "Star Spangled Banner" in gibberish.

* Tell dirty limericks in gibberish.

* Become the bogeyman. "Not until you are allowed to become it will you put it away."

* Be a member of GUPPIES, (Grown-Up Partners in Play). "To gup" is to play.