7.19.2013

Somebody Come And Play

As the mom of teenaged and adult children, I often wonder if I did a good job. Ah, the million dollar reflection ... If I had it to do all over again. Some things I did with great ease and success; other things, not so much.

Let's talk about play.

Look at how positively filled with joy this exuberant child is. She saw our fourteen-year-old in a tree and watched her older brother follow him, so she wanted to climb up there, too. I watched a younger me as her mom reluctantly agreed and then held her every step of the way. Sometimes Often times Too many times I was overly cautious and protective to let my kids explore and discover through play. To be honest, it was a mix of caution and the fact that playing seemed kind of frivolous; it really ought to be a more like a treat rather than an every-day occurrence ... or at least that's what I thought. 

Now I wonder why we didn't climb more trees.




And at the risk sounding like a drill sergeant, let me say that my kids did play ... I just hope that we played enough


We definitely played in the kitchen. When the kids were younger, they'd pull out the utensils and gadgets to sort them by size, to line them up, to use them to make noise. Just yesterday, Jacob peeled the figs while I mixed the batter and, voila, out came some delectable fig muffins. The kitchen was our chemistry lab.


We took the kids to the farm almost every summer and a few times had a blast navigating through a corn maze. Have you ever done that? It's great fun. The boys have also played gardener with their dad every summer; there's nothing tastier or more satisfying than home-grown produce!


 When the weather isn't cooperating for outdoor play, we're inside with a puzzle, a deck of cards, or a board game. While I tend to not be patient enough to look at 1000 pieces and picture the whole, this form of play had definitely sharpened Joshua's skills. 

The pool that we built after hurricane Ike took six of the trees from our backyard forest and turned it into a prairie has definitely been a wonderful playground for us in the recent past. I find it therapeutic to simply relax on my raft but the kids enjoy games like volleyball and Marco Polo.


Playing with pets has to be the best therapy ever. We found this little kitten, lost and alone, underneath my dad's back porch and quickly adopted and tamed her. Jacob commented later how easy it was to transform her from a timid and scared little ball of fluff to a friend who would follow them wherever they went, just by showering her with a little bit of time, attention, and love. Well, that and a little bit of warm milk ... 

Mostly we've just had hamsters in our suburban home, but pets are pets and love is love. And we do love to dog-sit.


Finally, another way we've played is through our music. And while I will admit that music is as much a discipline as it is actual playtime, it served as both for our kids. I just love it when the house fills with music. What it treat it was after Jacob's graduation party when he and his friend sat down and played together. All three of our kids started playing the piano in kindergarten which planted seeds of appreciation music that will last them a lifetime. Joshua's at the point now, entering high school, when he wants to be done with piano lessons. I understand, because that's when I quit taking formal lessons, too, but John and I are both hoping he doesn't give it up.

I'm reminded about Ernie singing the old Sesame Street song asking that Somebody Come and Play. 

To smile a smile ...
And sing the songs ...
Rhyme the rhymes ...
All day long ...
And laugh the laughs ...
See pleasure in the wind ...
And be my friend ...
to watch the sun ...
'til it rains again ...

Playtime ... it's not just for children anymore.


One of my favorite things is when a friend texts to ask if 
I want to play. 
Sometimes it's a pedicure, other times it's a girls night out. 
Last night a friend actually invited me to play Bingo,
but I already had plans to go to a baseball game with the boys.
 Whatever the case may be, I'm glad to get a new chance every day to learn from and enjoy playtime. And I hope that my kids will always know that you're never too old to learn to 
appreciate the benefits of play.



7 comments:

  1. I absolutely love every single word you have written, Barbara. ♥ Unstructured, down-right-fun-get-in-there-and-get-dirty-play is so important - it's where our children gain confidence and become problem-solvers. It's so important to remember that at home and at school - recess time does not need to be structured with kids in certain areas or certain activities - just let them play.

    Jen
    Runde's Room

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jen! That means SO much coming from you as I watch you play and grow with your girls up north. Happy birthday to your 10-year-old today! EnJOY your play-filled celebration.

      Barbara

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  2. Your post is so beautifully written! Thanks for sharing the quote, definitely a reminder to me that I need to take time to play. Love it.

    Delighted
    imgoingfirst@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure, Delighted; thank you for your kind words.

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  3. I'm sure that growing up in your home was a complete blessing.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

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