Monday, June 27, 2011


"Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning....They have to play with
what they know to be true in order to find out more, and then they can use what they
learn in new forms of play."
-Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood)

Last week I spent a few lovely days at a farmhouse with my friend Christine, her little girl Elizabeth and my baby boy Drew. I had not been away for a while and the stretch of fresh air and lack of media was very refreshing for the soul.

Drew smiling at the farm.

We were quite secluded and it was so peaceful. We played good music, ate homemade lasagna and chili and drank a little red wine. Old wooden Muskoka chairs and decorating magazines mixed with the smell of suntan lotion and the campfire was wonderful and reminded me of spending time at different cottages up north a child. It also reminded me how important it is to get reconnected with nature on a regular basis...not just for me but for my children. To play in the grass. To walk in the sand in the summer and build things with snow in the winter. To run and play and laugh and not worry about what time it is.

"Look what we built mom!!"

Kids are so heavily scheduled these days with competitive sports, mounds of homework, fancy birthday parties full of laser this and bowling that. Music lessons, swimming classes, you name it, our kids do it and they don't do it alone. Gone are the days where kids run off to the park to play until dinner.

Keeping up with the Jones' is a common pursuit. But who are these Jones' anyway?

The summer is a perfect time to let kids be kids. Let them play. Let them explore. Let's them do what we did as kids. Imagine. Create. Pretend. Build forts. Mess in the dirt. Splash in the puddles. Have picnics in the backyard.

Noah having a quiet, solitary moment playing by the water.

Not rush, rush, RUSH!!!

The best things in life are free. Keep singing! Dance! Play soccer on your lawn, at the park, in your basement. Make your own smoothies. Savour ice cream. Plant a garden. Watch a snail slither along the pavement and teach your children to learn through experiencing life.

"I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!"

And pay attention to what you learn in the process.

Children do need some structure. But they also need flexibility. The "leash" needs to be lengthened. The fear mongering of today's society is being fed on a daily basis to the next generation by our "Hover! Hover! Take cover! Cover!" mentality. Yes, we must be careful. Things are different than they were once upon a time. But let's not go too far.

The bottom line is kids are kids. Get them involved in organized activities, but leave them room to discover who they are for themselves. To experiment. To be.

"Wear your shorts on your head" day!

And while you are at the same for yourself.

Happy Summer!



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