Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Connections with Play

Yeah, Daddy, Mama, Curty and I are on our way to the lake.  Daddy promised, last week that we were going and now we are on our way.  I remembered to bring Candy, my doll, because she likes to go everywhere with me.  Mama made sure to put some paper and crayons in our "work bag" as well as some puzzles to keep us occupied during our car trip to the lake.  My brother kept digging in the bag looking for  his little drum and his drumsticks.  He loves playing his instrument, but it hurts my ears.  Now we have to stop because Curty didn't use the bathroom before we left the house and he's wiggling and saying, "Mama, I've got to go". BOYS!!! I start drawing and coloring a picture of the lake to help the time go faster and say, "Daddy, are we there yet"?


We're here, we're here.  I know I'm only 5 but it seems like it took a long time to get here.  When I grow up, I'm going to drive fast so that I can get to places quickly.  Daddy is unpacking the car, Mama is helping us get out and she's telling Curty to wait to get his sailboat out of our "work bag" until we get to the water.  I wrap Candy up so she doesn't get cold and I whisper in her ear that we are going to have so much fun today.
Daddy opens the cooler and starts pulling the hot dogs and burgers we'll have for lunch out, to grill.  I ask Mama if she'll play with me but she says she has to help Daddy right now.  She says she will play later and to go play with Curty.  We have to play with our puzzles until Mama or Daddy can come to the water with us, so we pull them out and sit at the picnic table and start putting them together.  The puzzles were kind of hard because there are 4 puzzles and the pieces fell out into our bag. We have to figure out which piece goes with which puzzle.  Mama gave us hints, like, " That looks like a wheel, which puzzle has wheels?"  I had to think for a minute and then I remember the car puzzle.  Curty is really fast he found all the pieces to the bird puzzle and put it together.  It only had 3 pieces, the head, the body and the feet and Mama clapped her hands and told him he did a great job! 
When we finished all the puzzles, I dug out my sand bucket, shovel and rake.  Mama was ready to go to the water and my brother grabbed his sailboat.  We ran as fast as we could with Mama yelling, "slow down, I can't run that fast" all the while laughing.  I heard Daddy say that lunch would be ready in 45 minutes.  I hope that's a long time because the fun was just getting started.  I remembered that I left Candy on the table so I yelled back to Daddy to please take care of her.  He said," O.K. as long as she doesn't start crying for you",  I told him to give her a pacifier if she does.  He nodded and waved us on.  There were other children playing at the water's edge and I was happy there was another little girl to play with.  I walked up to her and said,"Hi, what's your name?"  she said,"Vicki, I'm 5"  I said,"I'm 5 too and my name is Stephanie".  She asked me what I wanted to play and I told her I wanted to search for pretty rocks.  She had a bucket but she had shells in it.  She said, "If you find a shell, give it to me and if I find a pretty rock, I'll give it to you".  I agreed and our hunt began.  While we were hunting for our treasures we talked about school and toys and books.  I showed Vicki the sore I had on my hand and she showed me the sore on her knee.  It was bigger than mine and still had a band-aid on it!  I made a mental note to ask Mama for one out of the first-aid kit when we go back for lunch.


Mama and Curty were playing with his sailboat in the water.  He said he was going to sail it to Europe.  The story we heard, last night before bed, was about sailing across the English Channel.  Curty asked Daddy while he was reading, where the English Channel was and Daddy told us in Europe.  Daddy whistled his special whistle to let us know lunch was ready.  I really hated to stop my hunt but I was feeling hungry and I really needed to get a band-aid on my hand.  I told Vicki, "bye" and we all headed back to the picnic table.  Candy was waiting there for me and Daddy said he didn't hear a peep out of her.  She is such a good baby.  I gave her a kiss.
We sat down for our lunch, blessed our food and ate it up.  Those hot dogs and hamburgers were so good.  When we finished, Mama gave me a band-aid and asked me if I was alright. I told her yes but I needed the band-aid.  My brother took his drum out and started marching around the table and beating the drum.  Daddy was tapping on the table and encouraging him to "march, march, march".  I was ready to go find Vicki so that we could hunt some more and to show her my band-aid.  When we returned to the water's edge Vicki was nowhere to be found, I was sad and didn't want to hunt anymore.  When it started getting dark, Daddy picked me up and said it was time for us to go home.  I laid my head on his shoulder and said O.K., I was a really tired.
  Curty, Candy and I sat in the back seat, Daddy and Mama loaded up the car and I heard Daddy say,' Friedrich Froebel was right when he said," a child who plays thoroughly and perseveringly, until physical fatigue forbids, will be a determined adult, capable of self sacrifice both for his own welfare and that of others" and our children played thoroughly, don't you think'? I didn't know what he mean't but it sounded good.  My Daddy is so smart. Mama likes poems and I drifted off as her quiet voice said, " Child, though I am meant to teach you much,what is it, in the end, except that together we are meant to be children of the same Father, and I must unlearn all the adult structure and the cumbering years and you must teach me to look at the earth and the heaven with your fresh wonder".  I thought, all in all this was a real fun day.


Arnold, J.C (2000) Endangered Rifton, NY: Plough Publishing

Play in the 21st century seems much more planned, as if part of a calendar of events for children.  Parents plan playdates for their children instead of the activity being spontaneous and natural.  I do feel it is different because children are not as safe as in time past.  There are people who want to harm children, in the worst way, so parents have to be extra cautious when allowing their children time to play.  My hope is that the dangers that keep children from truly playing will be alleviated so that childhood can be the fun adventure it was meant to be can be again.
Play has always been important to me.  It allowed for a release of energy and creativity that gave me joy.  It still does.  I play with my 1 and 2 year old nephews laughing at and with them during the time we are playing.  I play games with my family and friends and I really don't mind losing, although they don't know it.  I play with Polo, my dog and miss playing with him when he goes out of town with my daughter.  Play keeps me young and happy.

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