do what you love: play

by Whitney on January 1, 2011

Deep in the fold of imaginative and active children armed with new tools, my husband and I have gotten caught up in the fun, too. That’s a good thing.

Too often it seems that we get so focused on our kids’ skills and interests that we forget to foster our own. I’ve written about this before, with more of a focus on activities and events. It wasn’t until Christmas day, however, that I realized how rarely I do something for the pure enjoyment of it, without an end goal or lesson in mind.

Intrinsically motivated recreational activity typically wanes as we age, but it doesn’t have to be such a precipitous decline. The benefits of play in child development are well documented, and many carry over to adulthood. It’s also beneficial for our kids to see us play, to do something just because it’s fun.

It’s hard for me to let that happen sometimes, because it seems there is always something that *should* be done. I’ve found that it helps to schedule in some playtime, and to sculpt our home environment to better allow me to seize little pockets of time scattered throughout the day.

My scheduled play comes in the form of weekly guitar lessons. After years of only occasionally strumming the few chords I remembered from a college class, I decided to set aside my humility for 30 minutes of private instruction. Stepping out of my comfort zone in this way is fun for me, and I’m beginning to enjoy the product along with the process.

Other reindeer games we enjoy:

  • Crafting: knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, hand-sewing . . . activities more easily picked up and paused
  • Sports: balance board, archery . . . fun, quick action
  • Brain teasers: crosswords, jumbles, sudoku, jigsaw puzzles . . . Keep a puzzle going on an occasional table, and add to it here and there.
The key for me is that my activity can’t be too product-driven. Otherwise, I’ll get hung up on details and perfection. I left reading off my list because it’s hard for me to read without my writer’s cap on. I love to read, but it feels more complicated than play. Archery, on the other hand, I have no intention of mastering, so it’s fun for me to let the arrow fly a few times, no matter how graceless the path. Others may find more enjoyment with a tangible reward at the end.
What do you do just for fun?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Modern Country Style February 1, 2011 at 8:59 am

I love playing too! I love crafts of all sorts, reading, pottering in the garden, and photography.

But I actually secretly really like climbing on climbing frames in the park with my children!! We play tag sometimes…and I get to chase them on the frames. I LOVE it!!

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Whitney February 1, 2011 at 11:56 am

One of the greatest benefits of having children is getting to act like one again. Not that one can’t engage in juvenile behavior without juvenile accompaniment, but fewer sideways glances will be cast about with a child in tow. Nothing raises eyebrows like a grown woman alone in a tree, and I do so love to climb trees. :)


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