Thursday, May 20, 2010

Go Play!

I have a question for you.

How do you play with your kids?

Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? I'm really giving this some thought. I have generally given my kids lots of free play time, which I think is good for them. But I think I've gone too far in that direction, and they're needing more "mommy and me" playtime. This post by Susan Wise Bauer (classical education guru) asks the question "Does go play = go away?" and to be honest, for me, sometimes it does.

I read to them a lot, and do school stuff. But we need Official Play Time.

Here's the rub: Hide and go seek is getting real old, real fast. Honestly, y'all, I just can't. I'll have good intentions of building something with blocks, or another round of go fish, or what have you, and I last about 10 minutes before I get bored.

Does anyone else do this? I know I'm not Mother of the Year here. But I can't be the only one?

So I think some new play ideas could freshen things up. "Just the shot in the arm that our relationship needs," for any Buster fans out there.

I thought about acting out Bible stories with them, complete with props and makeshift costumes. And it can't be David and Goliath, with me as Goliath, every day. Just sometimes.

Swimming was a big hit last summer, but I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do that with the little mister around....maybe during his naps.

We've been fishing for crawdads a lot lately.

I need ideas here! This is when my old "not naturally much of a kid person" thing is made painfully obvious. Help a sister out. Do you have board games or card games that you particularly enjoy? Other ideas?

How do you play with your kids?


Steph said...

Certainly, you are not alone! I am horrible at pretending! The worst! I try, but usually B and I both feel a little frustrated after a few minutes. :)
Let's see...what do we do?

Simon says.
Lots of crafty things.
Tea party.
Play doctor with the babies.'d be great at that! :)
Board games. (Memory is fun.) (We've attempted checkers. This is less successful.)
Outside chalk.
Cooking and baking...which I know you already do a lot of.

I'm sure it's much more challenging trying to find quality time activities that make 2 and 3 kiddos happy. I have a hard enough time with one! :)

Traci said...

Well, you are funny! I think you should do things you want to do and just pull them (persuasively if necessary, not drudgingly)along with you. That is what I do because, well, I want to be happy! I want them to see me using my fortitude to perservere in something that is 'play' to me. Play time is explore time and it is more guided and bonding if done with you...i.e., they don't feel like "go play=go away"..I get what you are saying. (hummmmm) Oh, and letting them take their own rabbit trail with what you are doing is important but not easy for me to do either (Child teachers?...I like that too). What do I do? I do have a day, a 15 - 30 min. block or whatever on Fridays (it does not always happen for reasons that get in the way but G sometimes asks during the week, 'mom, when is game day?' so I know he likes it, it is important and they know I am all over it with full attention) which is 'game time' and that is what it is...a new or old one we have learned, game outside that I participate in(kick the can was big in early spring time around here)....but, I only started this 'official' game day when T was old enough to toddle around the yard with us. Before that, it was sewing, knitting, book making, drawing, stroller walking..anything you love to do with a wee one in your lap/sling. I think actually, doing something you really want to do is more important than anything. Maybe it does not sound child centered enough to some but my enthusiasm does not wane which is great when they are interested. I don't want to do something that feels artificial..they know it if I do. Wee Sing Games have been a good springboard for me to use and there is a music cd and book with hand games so you don't have to be totally creative. It is tough sometimes to find resources for helping me teach something more complicated to them.

And then, other times..the boys just go outside and play and Mommy has a break. ;-)

You are a great mom is tough this learning curve of adding a new child! hugs, tm

Becky said...

I actually enjoy building with the tiny Legos, but my two oldest are boys so maybe that helps. I also like to make something fun like peanut butter balls (peanut butter, honey, powdered milk, and whole rolled oats) that don't require cooking. And then we can eat them right away :) And I don't think I ever say "go play" and don't mean "get out of my face...please!" So no guilt girl! You are showing your kids Jesus' love and that is what is most important!

Debbie Hyde said...

Oh, there are so many things from building and crafting to hitting (and chasing) the T ball outside.
I think you were right on the money with the acting out stories. I have actually been thinking of something very similar that I want to do with them soon.
- at the risk of giving away my mamaw secrets - some of the kids' favorite things here have been activities that are have a sort of theme but involve multiple components such as: Playing "movie theater". We usually plan to watch a movie in the evening anyway so during the afternoon we will make tickets and signs out of construction paper, put together snacks for the concession and make play money. Then we assign "roles" and dress up, arrange our "theater" then enjoy the movie. We have also played other things in a similar way like "restaurant" and indoor "camping". With HW, you may not have a block of time right now like I do - which is good because then they will still think I am fun! ;)

Debbie Hyde said...

My last comment was solely focused on some of the activities the kids and I enjoy doing together. As grandparents, we have the luxury of doing these fun activities because the parents do the hard stuff. While "go play" is often a plea for a much needed break for moms, it is also a time for kids to take the things they've learned from playing with mom and dad and figuring out what they want to play / do on their own. It's a time for them to use their own imaginations and come up with games and activities. It's important for parents to maintain this balance or the result will be children (eventually adults) that will always have to be entertained.

mandi said...

i know what you mean. levi recently told me that i don't play cars right. i had no idea! : )

i'm like you. we do most everything together- gardening, baking, reading, schooling...but, i get distracted and want to move on when it comes to free play. i can only play so much littlest pet shop, or whatever, and then i'm thinking...i need to do the laundry, the dishes, whatever it is that needs to be done.

what has helped for me is to do chore work first thing in the morning- dylin has her list and levi works with me. that way i get that done and out of my mind. i have also blocked time out of the day where dylin gets free choice and levi gets free choice. no phone, no chores, no nothing! this has helped. i've also made a to do list with crazy things on it, like:
fill the kiddy pool up with flour and swim!
ice cream fight
fill up water guns with watered down paint
soap on the trampoline
the key is that i do it WITH them. and we get all messy and gross together!

***we also enjoy:

dance party (turn on the radio and dance)
board games- i just ordered a new game- orchard
building marble runs out of toilet paper tubes
playing manicure/pedi
they like to give me massages!
doctor (i get to lay down during this one- love it!)
lots of bike riding
puppet shows
nature treasure hunts (i make a scavenger list)
all things crafty (3:00 is creative/craft time-that i do with them)

***these are all activities that I enjoy to do with them***

i also think it's important for them to have time outside without me, and for them to see me doing things i enjoy alongside them. like if they want me to come outside while they're jumping, i bring along some knitting or reading or whatever. that way they see me doing what i love. i want them to have those memories of me. to really know me...

J Wakeham said...

great blog topic, Brandi!

Good to know I'm not the only one looking at my watch as I "vrooom" cars around the same track, again...

Some of the things that work for us:
*Bubble Baths at random times of the day
*Acting out school stories we've just read (like Native Americans hunting buffalo, etc.)
*Dolls with Isabella
*Playing puppy, or Vet, or Mama Bird, with nests of blankets
*Simon Says (good one for practicing obedience!)
*Nerf Gun fights (we can do this for a LONG time!)
Justus just wanders around trying not to get shot, but the rest of us get really into it!
*Cooking together (only Isabella likes this one.)
*Walks by the bayou

Often, the problem is when one kid loves the game and the other doesn't. I just have to let one of them wander off and promise I'll play their favorite game later.

Let me know if you come up with more fun ideas!
Great topic!

Mommy, M.D. said...

Thanks y'all for the great suggestions! I know they will definitely free range plenty, but I know it means a lot to them when I play too. Lots of food for thought here; I'm sure I'll reference back to this a lot! Good work mamas.