My mom was (and still is with my children) an incredible early childhood professional before it was a profession. She would get on the floor and play with us, make games, promote crafts, and reading and music were essential, yet she would still send us away to do our own thing often. I remember creating plays, making food from dirt, riding bikes up and down the street, heading to the creek to hop rocks, and walking through the woods and field by the radio station. There are two memories stick out the most.
The first is playing with the giant tinker toys! They are just what you think. Tinker Toys on steroids. I can’t remember all the things that we would make with them, but the favorite was always a house. As a product from the 80’s they are only available on ebay, yet my mom saved ours. Some of the pieces are broken and we have a limited stash now, but my kids even love them … on the special occasions I get them out. I still treasure these pieces of plastic.
|My kids playing with my old tinkertoys!|
The second memory is the warmest day on record during Christmas break in the north! Some of my friends were getting out their shorts … but that’s another story. That day most of the neighborhood ended up at our house and my sister and I had brought out quite a few stuffed animals and had them hanging on our playset with ourselves. Stuffed animals were a favorite of mine and I have passed that gene onto my son. I remember in 6th grade (I think), my friend and I still played with our animals and even had a wedding between 2 of them. LOL.
As a child I was given the opportunity to just go and play and was able to use my imagination and create some amazing stories in my head. Even as I got older, I would use snow days as an excuse to act like a 5 year old and go make a fort, battle the younger kids for king of the hill, and make the largest snowman ever.
This is something that I want to be able to give my children … and I think I am not doing that bad of a job of it. Just this afternoon they were in the backyard playing with “ooze” (mixture of cornstarch and water). At one point, my 7-year-old told my 9-year-old that she was going to be the nurse now. Not sure how it related to the ooze, but they were using their imaginations. AND I wasn't quick enough to get the camera and document the white stuff everywhere. :)
As much as play is important for their life, it is also important for me as an adult. My passion is scrapbooking, yet do not find the time to engage in this creative outlet often enough. This is where I am able to play, stretch my imagination, try different textures and color combinations, record stories and memories, and get totally lost in the endeavor that I forget to eat … or eat a whole bag of M&M’s because they are sitting next to me. J Here is a recent endeavor:
Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxery. Play is a necessity. - Kay Redfield Jamison
Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities. - Stuart Brown