Child’s Play!

People ask me why my blog is called “Child’s Play” and I’ve never really explained it. And at first, I’m not even sure I understood all the reasons why the phrase resonated with me, I think it was just a reaction to all the people trying to get me to continue to educate my oldest daughter in such a draconian, unfun, standardized environment as her public school–a place that would rather medicate her and keep her sitting in a desk than admit she might be bored and understimulated in class. I started blogging at that time, just to vent, and to explore ideas.

I suppose, back then, I had a still unproven thought that if I could somehow tap into that joyful state we as human beings feel whenever we learn something important to us, then maybe Naturalist wouldn’t have so much anxiety about learning. I didn’t know, then, about dyslexia or giftedness or learning differences or visual spatial learners. All I knew was that I had a daughter that hated learning by the time she was 8 years old, and that was unacceptable to me. So when I pulled her out of school, I tried to focus on the joy of learning, not the rote memorization of learning. It dawned on me that when we’re little, so much of our best learning comes from play.

Et Voila! Child’s Play! As it so happens, learning through play doesn’t stop when we start kindergarten, or even when we start middle school, or even when we graduate college. Play, imagination, fun…those are powerful tools to learning throughout our lives.

And oh my gosh, this blog post took such a drastic turn from where I was going with it when I wrote that first sentence, I’m not sure how to incorporate the pool pictures we took today that I was going to share. How to wrestle it back to the topic I veered so far away from?!

I don’t know. How about, I sum up?!

So, to sum up…we grown ups have a lot to learn about life and learning from our kids. If life has you stressed out, take a moment or two (or a whole day if you can spare it!) to do things kid style.

Today was that day for me, so we went to the pool. Usually I would hang out on the pool chair, reading a book and getting my tan on. Today, Golfer called me out on that and said I would have 100% more awesomeness if I jumped into the pool. And then he wondered if I could even dive, since he’s never seen me before. ???!!! Being born and partly raised in So. Cal, I practically learned to swim before I learned to walk. And then I wondered at what point I stopped jumping into pools first thing. How does that excitement go away?!

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So I dove into the pool, even though I’m kinda picky about my pool temperature. I like the pool to be hot tub warm, and the hot tub to be ‘cook a lobster in 2 minutes flat’ scalding hot. But whatever, today I was doing things kid style. So they jumped in and then I jumped in, and then we repeated that over and over for a while.

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I repeatedly dove down to the bottom of the deep end with Sassy and played other pool games.

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I played on the playground afterwards, including going down the slide on my stomach. I swung on a swing. I ran everywhere I went, because when kids are happy when do they ever walk? I chased some ducks. I held my kids hands and walked at their pace.

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I did whatever it was my kids were doing, and I laughed hard and felt so much better by the end of my day.

In this culture, we parents are expected to raise our kids up to be adults. But I think that the world would be better off if we also took time to let our kids teach us how to be kids again. Childhood is something to be respected and fostered, not something to be grown out of, don’t you think?!

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12 Responses

  1. I love that you’ve relearned that you can have a bunch of swimsuits because they are small and hardly take up any room at all 🙂

    • LOL, just one of the many reasons I ❤ Cali….swimsuits all year round! perfect for the RV 🙂

  2. You got it. Let the children teach us to be kids. Definitely the way to go! The world would be a lot more fun that way.

  3. SO true. i love it so much, you just moved me to a tear or two. i was planning to write today about how important play time is, for everyone, and then found your newest post in my inbox. age is but a number, & staying young inside is the fountain of youth. it’s not about letting the children ‘teach us to be kids’ but about them helping us to *remember*. ❤

  4. I used to love to swing. But at some point, after the age of twenty, I started getting seasick whenever I tried to swing. I still run when I’m happy, though. Just little bursts of it, because I am not in good enough condition to ‘go for a run’ the way some grownups do.

    Maybe I should go for a swim today. I think it would do me good…

  5. Awesome post! So so true!! It’s sad when parents forget what it’s like to be kids! Did you ever see the Friends episode where Pheobe and Rachel go for a run in Central Park and Pheobe runs like a kid…. full tilt, arms pinwheeling…??? It’s a fun one!

    So… you must have an underwater camera then??! You don’t take your fabulous Canon under there do ya?!?!

    Oh and I read your blog just before I went to bed last night and I ended up dreaming about you!!!! I dreamed that Jessie and I came to visit you at the beach in your RV!!!! It was lots of fun but somehow I let Frito out and thought I had swallowed a magic key … yeah…. it went a bit odd after that!! ;D

  6. “But I think that the world would be better off if we also took time to let our kids teach us how to be kids again. Childhood is something to be respected and fostered, not something to be grown out of, don’t you think?!”

    I couldn’t agree more. Society seems to be in such a big hurry to have kids grow up that we actually devalue childhood and the benefits of being young at heart.

    My kids have and will continue to teach me way more than I could ever teach them.

    Great post!

  7. amen.
    We were at the playground last weekend when a set of grandparents and their grand kids showed up. I watch the grandpa climb, crawl, slide, jump and play all over the structure. I smiled and smiled over the fact that he was just one of the kids during that half an hour. I don’t know if those grandkids knew it or not, but their Pops is a pretty cool cat for just enjoying the moment with them instead of just standing around and tapping his foot.

  8. Swingsets are my favorite. 🙂

  9. Yes yes yes! Oh, and you have to read some of George Sheehan’s work, such as Running and Being. He talks at length about how running is *play* for us stuffy old grownups. Great reading!

  10. That is so true.

    I sometimes go to the local public bath and swim for a while, and I am always kind of jealous of the kids that keep jumping in and out, laughing and trying to get each other off the floating play things. I remember that going there was so much more fun (and so much more exercise) when I was a kid and was playing, than now when I am just going around, turn after turn.

    I really do believe that people have a lot to learn from kids play. I think that there are many areas where playing would be useful – such a as team building, management, group dynamics and other social issues and situations, and also for the individual. When you are playing, you keep your fantasy alive which makes it easier to “think outside the box” and be innovative.

    And as this is my first post, thanks for an inspiring blog.

  11. Your kids are lucky you know how to have fun!! Nice reminder, thanks.

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