Sometimes I think my kids are a little stale.  Its not that we do the same-old same-old, but sometimes their imagination seems to have lost its shine.

 

But all it took was ½ hour and a new game…

 

Yesterday I got our youngest to set up a bucket on a slant so he could throw beanbags (5-6” square) into it.  The putting this together kept him occupied for a while but he wasn’t interested in playing by himself.  I took ½ hour at the beginning of our day to have a Throw in the Target game and then some simple throwing/catching drills and we all had a ball.  Later in the day I sent them outside, as I wanted to do the floor, and it was one of those WOW moments we can have.

 

They were outside, playing together, rolling on the grass, laughing and giggling – I was inside doing some housework listening to some hymn music.  Life is wonderful!  They had discovered a new game – one that they were still laughing over at dinnertime as they told their Daddy!

 

This has made me think… sometimes I need to teach them to play….

 

Even as I write this my mind screams at me – if they are surrounded by good stuff children will be children and they will play.  I wonder?

 

My kids have been given good toys – toys for the imagination; but not too many choices.   They have books all around them – books that were read aloud when they were little, books to read for themselves now, and we have the evening Read Aloud.  They have conversation, they have discussion, and they have thinking time, writing time, creative time.  My children are surrounded by good stuff.

 

The Oxford dictionary defines “play” this way   … to have free movement within limits; sport; frolic, toy, trifle; amuse oneself; engage in games… or fun, or mimicry, or make believe.  …. [Games / sport / drama.]

 

I think of the time when Daniel was a toddler.   I would “teach” him not to throw his car.  I would “teach” how to play with his car properly.

 

When our children got to preschool age and they started to play Board Games I would “teach” them that they had to play by the rules, and that the rules made it right for all the players.  They were beginning in their lessons of being a good winner and a good loser.

 

When our children got a little older and started to play team sports I would “teach” the game rules, I would “teach” them the sport etiquette, and I would “teach” sportsmanship.

 

Why do we think that any other form of “play” doesn’t need teaching?  Sure, many times their imagination gets sparked by the good books, movies, discussions and toys they have around them.   At the moment Daniel wants to dress as a Musketeer – cape, sword, feather in the hat!  But then his creativity seems to dry up and he looks to me. 

 

My job is to teach him where to look, to look outside of the box, to be creative, resourceful, and to persevere till the end.  I showed them one way to use a beanbag and they – in their creative, resourceful way came up with another.  We’ve kept the beanbags out – I wonder what they will do today.

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