Monday, February 28, 2011

Play Time

I recently got an email from a friend who declared that she is not a fun mom and requested some ideas.  Her children are about three and one.  It brought me back a few years to when I had that same little family.

Just after our second baby was born, I remember watching my two year old son playing alone in the backyard.  He didn't know any differently, but he looked lonely to me.

"Hurry up and grow," I told my new baby.  "Your brother needs a playmate!"

Even though I did play with him often, no mother can play as much as a two year old would want her to!

My children often say that if their dad stayed home instead of me, the school work would be done promptly and correctly and the house would be perfectly clean . . . but no one would have any fun.  (Not that I can't be clean and Justin can't be fun, but we excel in different areas.)

It is harder to play when only one child is really old enough to actually play.  When the boy was young, I got him toys with which I would want to play.  Some toys included blocks, play-doh, light sabers (his favorite toy for about seven years), crayons, a swing set and cars--mostly for use with the blocks.  I tried to actively play with him every day, and by actively, I mean me getting up and running around.  We built forts, had picnics (even if they were in the living room or our own backyard), and had races (run backwards, crawl, hop on one foot, etc.).  When you go to the park, do not just sit and watch from the bench, climb and chase and go down the slides with them.  Go to a natural area and have "adventures" in the rocks.  Pretend you are orphans or pioneers or stranded sailors.  I think the key is to do whatever they are doing, not just watch to make sure 
they are safe.

The baby always loved doing whatever she could with us, my son and I were playing together and it helped keep me fit.  As the children have multiplied and aged, they do not need me to play with them as much.  Sometimes I forget to get down in the sand with them, but we all have more fun when I do.

What fun things do you do with your children?


  1. I love verbal interaction with my little people-long talks on any subject and cuddling up with a book or movie with them. Physical/learning play is scheduled with the baby everyday for his sanity and mine, I watch the kids play and clap and cheer, I let them build forts and I provide them flashlights and provender for their survival in their orphan hideaway. I watch them reenact the awesome jump and spin the matchbox car just did...over and over again. I sit and color with them. I walk behind while they ride their bikes and let go of the handlebars for an eighth of a second and provide the necessary exclamations for their safety-which they adore! I am the best freakin' Simon. I build elaborate gardens with twigs, weeds, and wildflowers next to their sand castles. I will push them on the swings well beyond when I think they should be tired of it, we sing together, we laugh together, I don't have knees that let me jump up and down quickly or gracefully, or crawl, and my arse is so big even the largest bicycle seat leaves me bruised and in agony - I am the "Watch Mom, Watch this" Mom, and I really do! But I don't really play with them.

    Dad does. Especially at bedtime and then he doesn't understand why is slapstick comedy routine, buckin' bronco rides, and tickle fights don't make them fall swiftly and sweetly to sleep...

  2. Great comment, Mollie! As much as we parent the same, you do it so much better. I'm going to refer my friend to your comment.

  3. @Mothership
    bwa ha ha ha ha better?! whatever. You're the best Mom! Ev-er. You should ask my 9 year old who had to eat a green pepper tonight! I am the meanest old mom in the whole wide world. And she wants to live with you anyway.

    I love you!