Tag Archives: Play

Play Time

Now that Wilson is not in preschool, Miller and I have another playmate during the week.  We all had a great day together on Thursday.  To start, I was in Miller’s class during CBS because it was our group’s week to help out in the children’s department.  If I have to be in Children’s then I really like to spend that time in my own kid’s class.  It is always nice to see how he interacts with his classmates and teachers.

After CBS the weather was gorgeous!  We headed straight to the playground next door to spend a few hours.  During that time, Wilson and I had a good game of “throw the gum ball” going.  Now, this isn’t gum that you chew, but the gum balls that come off of a gum ball tree – they look like round pinecones.  At first we threw them at each other, but then began to try to make baskets into the trashcan with them.  This took up at least thirty minutes.  Miller caught the moment on camera.

After the park the boys began to beg me to take them to Chick Fil A.  Now, I usually don’t take the kids to a fast food joint, especially now that I read the ingredients to a Chick Fil A nugget.  (Did you know that MSG is the third ingredient! Yuck!)  But…..the weather was great and I knew that they would continue to play which would allow me to sit and take a short break, so I did it.  We headed over to Chick Fil A for some nuggets and an ice-cream cone.  It was heavenly.  The boys played while I sat and basked in the sun.  Here I am with my boys…IMG_4337

The boys were so tired when we finally got home that I laid in bed with them to take a nap.  Wilson fell asleep immediately and I tried to sleep while Miller continued to climb all over me.  Eventually Miller did find something to entertain him so that I could sleep for a short while.  A ten minute nap is all that I require in order to rejuvenate myself and make it through until the end of the day.

It was a wonderful day.  The best part was that I got to spend the afternoon having fun with Wilson and Miller.  We spent lots of quality time together doing things that were fun and exciting.  I have really enjoyed having Wilson with me and look forward to more days like this. one.

Easily Entertained

I read an article a few weeks ago about a playground in Great Britain that looked more like a junkyard than a playground.  It had old mattresses, crates, wooden pallets, a walker for elderly people, and fire pits in it.  The philosophy behind this playground is that it is there to help children use their imaginations, overcome fears, and learn life lessons about cause and effect.  It is called “The Land.”  The article went on to say that the playgrounds in America have gotten stale and boring due to a slew of lawsuits that occurred in the late eighties and nineties.  It also stated that parents now hover over their kids, never letting them out of their sights for fear that they will get hurt or kidnapped.  These are real fears, but they are hindering our children’s independence and ability to grow up normally.  I can honestly say that I totally agree with this article, even though I am guilty of some of its findings.

Here is the link to the article:  http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/03/hey-parents-l

After reading the article, I better understood the reason why my kids do some of the things that they do. I also decided that I needed to change the way some things were done around my house.   The next day, I went out into the front yard and trimmed back the hedges along the front of the house.  Now, when I say I “trimmed them back” I don’t mean that I trimmed the front of the bush. No, I trimmed out the back of the bush next to the house so that the kids could have a secret place to play while outside.  Kind of like a fort.  I then started to let them play in the front yard without me watching them the whole time.  They are smart enough not to go into the street – that is not the problem.  The problem was me living in fear of them being snatched up by a stranger.  I have taught them a bit of “stranger danger” and have to trust that God has them under his protection and that they have listened to what I have told them.  They aren’t out there for hours unattended, but they are out there for ten to twenty minutes while I prepare dinner.  Kids do need to be supervised, but they can still play outside or walk one block home from the bus stop (which kids in my relatively safe neighborhood do not do).

Now, as for explaining why they do the things that they do, that was easy.  My kids never play with their toys.  We could get rid of all of them and they would not even notice.  They play with the dress up clothes, bikes, roller skates, balls, microphones and instruments…that is all.  One of their favorite things to do is to roll up the large area rug in the living room, push it long ways down the stairs and turn it into a slide.  Seriously!!  They also enjoy taking all of the cushions off the couch building a great big pile with them.  The rope that they found a week ago has gotten lots of use as well.

Today we went to the playground with my friend Erin and her two kids.  We ordered pizza and hoped to stay at the playground for a few hours around dinner time.  Unfortunately, it started to drizzle as soon as we sat down.  You would think that we would have left….nope, we didn’t.  The kids played in the rain on the soccer field in 50 degree weather.  Not once did they complain or go onto the playground equipment.  They kicked dirt on the baseball field and then started pulling big logs and throwing sticks into a big pile.  They loved it!  We were there for over an hour, sitting in the rain, and watching the kids have a great time just being kids.  That is why Erin and I are friends, we are both laid back enough to almost feel guilty for not leaving when it started to rain, but smart enough to know that if the kids are having fun, then don’t rock the boat!

All of this to say that kids need to be kids.  We have to let them have fun and not be so worried about injury, dirt, or messes.  They also don’t need to be showered with toys because most likely, they won’t play with them anyway.

I have decided to end this post with one of my new favorite pictures which completely encompasses everything I have just said about letting kids have some good old fashion, dirty fun!  This picture was taken at my mom’s house just after they tilled up the garden and then watered the dirt.  This also happens when you leave DaDa (Steve) in charge of the kids.  Again, good old fashion fun!

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When to work and when to clean….

I have always struggled with balancing housework vs. playing with the kids.  Sometimes I will clean when they aren’t around but then I think to myself, “Why am I wearing myself out when they aren’t here.  I should be relaxing.”  So then I sit down and begin the habit of cleaning when they are around and enjoying my time alone.  So I start cleaning while they are there.   This has been my habit for the last month or two.  The other day I realized that I was not playing with them at all.  All I was doing was cleaning, picking up toys, doing laundry, cooking, or doing dishes while they were around.   They were being ignored or constantly put off while I did “one more thing.”   I also realized that I was doing it on purpose.  In some sick sort of way, I was using cleaning/straightening as an escape from playing with the kids.   I felt that as long as I was doing my own thing then was getting time to myself.  Weird, right?

After this epiphany two days ago, I have made a conscious effort to sit down and play with the kids.  I miss them when they aren’t around me so I need to appreciate me when they are.  I didn’t see them much yesterday, but last night we played and had fun together.  Today I did even better.  Miller and I went to run one quick errand together.  After that store I almost put him into the car to go to another one, but at the last minute I realized that the pet store was right next to us.  We got back out of the car and went to the pet store.  We saw the fish (which he loves!), lizards, and then played with the cats.  The cats were playing so we could go into the room and play with them.  It was fun!  This afternoon I even played a board game with Wilson and I took extra time to put Faith to bed.

Cleaning, kids and personal time is a difficult balance to maintain.  I am sure that I will vacillate between the two mentioned extremes and hopefully find myself in the middle more than not.  I want to look back on these days with thankfulness and not regret.  The dishes can wait!!

 

Plaza Fiesta

Plaza Fiesta is a small mall just over the border into South Carolina. Charlotte borders SC so the mall is really only 20 minutes from our house. It isn’t much of a mall. It is actually more like a giant food court with Latin American stores and a three story play area for kids.

We used to meet Tom for lunch Plaza Fiesta when he worked across the street at Muzak. Today we took our three kids and Bobby and Sidney’s two children to Plaza Fiesta to play. Bobby and Sidney were looking for houses to rent so we offered to watch their kids. And of course, Doug was there with his two. It was awesome!!

The play area is three stories tall, has more than four slides, is fenced in, suitable for all ages, and only $5 per kid. What more could you ask for! Oh yes, and there is a food court right outside the fenced in area so that you can feed the kids half way through the day. Today we were there from 10:30 – 2:00. We were all exhausted by the time we left….that is always a sign of a good day.

I wish I could have taken more pictures, but I am turning into that mom that always has to stop the fun so that I can get a picture. Today I would have taken pictures of Wilson and Miller going down the bumpy slide together. It was so cute! Tom and Miller went down together and laughed the whole time. Miller was also holding on to the zip line bar and gliding across the 8 foot line and back by himself. I was there to catch him of course, but he rarely needed it. Faith continued to try to swing like a monkey across the ropes…even after falling numerous times and getting hurt. She was determined!

Here is Miller and me in the play area.  Now you may be wondering why I have so many more photos of Miller.  It is because he is usually my assigned child due to the fact that he cries when I leave him….and doesn’t have much of a say in the matter of pictures.  He is so used to having his picture taken that he typically smiles on cue.

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This is the play area.  Awesome, right?

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Jesse on the rock climbing wall…

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