In this day of electronics and instant gratification of flashy imagery in place of good old fashioned imagination, it’s nice to take the kids outside and let them play on their own. I say it’s nice…it’s an interesting morph from “I’m bored…there’s nothing to do” to a complicated story line involving a bunch of sticks, leaves, picked flowers, street rocks, a little lawn chair, some jump ropes, a big wheel and some flimsy bamboo beach mats.
We completely intend for them to get bored outside…that’s when magic happens. Maybe also a little bit of fighting, but mostly magic. For a short time, all the kids are playing together- each helping to build the fort or castle or jail or whatever the structure is that day. They are completely focused on their fun with belly laughter and running around while narrating the storyline.
Perhaps there’s a little rope burn from the jump rope or a bumped head when the chair falls backward with a child still seated in it, but it’s all good. A few tears and a hug and then they’re back to laughing and playing.
Icing on the cake is the day a critter wanders into the yard to join them in their fun. A poor box turtle becomes a prisoner for a time while the kids touch and corner him as he tries to lumber away. Lawn bugs or fire flies are quickly captured and held hostage in the sweaty palms of giggly and squealing children as they feel the little feet of the critter feverishly walking around their hands, trying to find a hole to escape.
We know when the kids have had their fun when at the end of the day as the sun is setting, the kids smell like sweaty little dogs and their hair is sticking to their reddened foreheads and they are breathless but smiling with sparkly eyes.
That’s a good day of playing.