“Do you remember when we used to pretend the baby bath was a boat?” asks my daughter Imogen. “We used to climb into it, and then try and move it over the ground using sticks.” Her eyes glow. “That was the best game!”
It was just as well I never needed that bath. I preferred washing the baby in the laundry sink.
“Do you remember when we used to build cubby houses under the pine trees?” asks sister Charlotte.
“Oh yes! Do you remember the day when Callum looked at our cubby house and said he could build a better one?”
“He pulled it apart and rebuilt it…”
“… and it ended up looking just like the one we made!”
The girls take satisfaction from the fact that their older brother failed to improve their cubby house design.
“Do you remember…”
My children often talk about the fantastic games they used to play together when they were younger. Their faces light up. They smile. And my heart feels warm as I listen. My children have so many happy memories of playing. My young adult children look back, and I know they remember their childhoods as a special and extremely happy time. And because of that, I am very glad I let them play for hours on end.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the games my kids used to play when they were younger. I didn’t get my camera out and snap pictures of their cubby houses or the baby bath boat or the tricycle that used to hurtle down the hill carrying more children than it was designed for. I wasn’t a photographer in those days.
These days, I do have a good camera, and I love documenting our lives by taking photos. But my blog isn’t full of attractive pictures of my children involved in their play. That’s because they no longer go outside and make mud pies. You won’t find them swinging from the trees. There are no pine tree cubby houses, or even bed sheet ones, waiting for me to photograph. No, I can’t make my blog attractive with images of unschooling children absorbed in free play. But that doesn’t mean my kids don’t play. They do but not in a way that’s so easy to capture with a camera.
In this week’s podcast, I talk about play. I discuss the following questions:
- Do adults need to play?
- What about teenagers?
- What happens if we don’t play?
- Is it okay for kids to spend all day playing?
- Do kids need time to play without a parent’s involvement?
- What are the benefits of play?
- What are the best toys?
- Should we let kids play games that involve risk?
- Are our kids in danger of losing their childhoods?
- Why am I very glad I let my kids play?
- Should parents be daring and adventurous?
- How can we increase our enjoyment when playing with our kids?
But before I talk about play, I talk about those difficult days I’m sure we all have:
- Should we condemn people, including children, who are having a bad day? Or can we help them?
- Should I choose content for my page, so it matches up with the Facebook algorithm?
- Or should I choose content I think will interest my followers?
Free to Learn by Peter Gray
Beautiful Faces by Jane Davenport
The Psychological Case for Adult Play Time by Jared Keller
A Raw Files blog post: Do You Make Time for Play?