Get Intentional About Playing and Moving

Are you suffering from circumstantial depression?

Are you too tired to move?

Too worn out to play?

Or maybe you never learned to play as a child?

Some seasons of our lives, we just don’t feel like moving.

Why get intentional about moving and play?

One thing we have to get intentional about is playing and moving. We moms can get so caught up in the doing, that we forget about being. I’m not talking about vegging on Netflix or Amazon. I’m talking about intentional play for you and your children. Play builds brains, fuels logic, and gets bodies moving.

Play Therapy was developed in the 1970s to help families learn how to do intentional play with their children. It’s an important part of parenting. It stimulates brains and the relationship part of the playing grows the brain. Did you know that? Relationships grow the brain. So, the play I’m talking about is interactive.

  • A walk on the trail picking up nature and identifying it together.
  • A tea party.
  • Playing with Play doh.
  • Archery practice.
  • Board games.

All of these activities are work for children. We all have jobs. A child’s job is to find out how the world works -what the physical laws of nature are, how relationships work, how to get along. how to win, how to lose, how to build character.

These are all done through play/work. 

Have you ever thought of play this way before?

I’m not talking about “go to your room and play by yourself.” There’s a place for that. In fact, kids are more willing to play by themselves after their emotional tank is full. We mom are the gas that fuels their tank. If you have boys, the last sentence should hit your funny bone. We co-regulate with our kids, we teach them how to play.

YOu’re never too old to Play

Some of us don’t know how to play well as adults, because no one taught us or we think we are too old for play. We’re never too old to play. It’s okay. We can have fun. We can make a mess. Remember Moms, we are the boss and the employee. If the boss says we can have a water fight, we can. Then the employee can clean it up ( that’s us too).

One year, we had moved to a new town and didn’t know anyone. I was suffering some of my own circumstantial depression and God told me to do something fun with each child every day. It was hard. It was fun. We grew closer that year as a family, more than any other time.

We had squirt gun battles, game nights, roller blades on the driveway. Hiked. Biked. Did scavenger hunts at Cabela’s. 

The point is, don’t wait to want to. Do it when you don’t feel like it.

Moving.

Mamas, we have to move. We do a lot of moving with babies, laundry and dishes, cooking and the like, but with all of our servant appliances, we don’t work as hard as Moms of the past used to. We can easily become couch potatoes in between jobs. Couch potato-ing makes us feel sluggish. Our lymph nodes fill with toxins that don’t drain without proper exercise. We get headaches, backaches and cranky attitudes. We need to move. Guess what, it takes the investment of time and energy. You can do it! You can! Find an accountability partner. If you want to see your children grow up, graduate, get married, and have children, you have to start working on moving today. Not some day when you have the time. Now is the time to move and play.

Movement Has Been Replaced By A Sedentary Lifestyle – Why Kids Need Play!

When I was growing up, I played outdoors a lot. We didn’t have a television because my mom thought it would rot our brains out.  I know that is extreme, the point was we filled our time with going outside, being creative and playing in the creek. There was not much time for being sedentary in my family. We played outside together, worked together, played long board games and my sisters and I made up lots of dances in the living room (and made mom watch our performances). What I didn’t know is that my parents were building my brain and giving me a healthy lifestyle.

How things have changed.

“A UK survey conducted by the National Trust found that modern children spend half as much time outdoors as their parents did, despite the fact that 96% of the parents surveyed felt it was important for kids to have a “connection to nature.””-www.theatlantic.com/magazine

Children need to play outside. It’s one of the building blocks of brain development. When kids play outside, they learn cause and effect. They test their limits. The first physical science experiments happen in our own backyards-

  • when a child throws a rock in the stream and the water smacks him in the face.
  • when a child jumps from a swing and feels the jarring in his knees.
  • when he climbs a tree and falls two feet.
  • when he builds a dam and stops up the water in the stream

These are all brain builders. A child who has time to test his limits, build, create and pretend is growing the logic portion of his brain.

Play helps children teach themselves to regulate their emotions.

“University of Denver researchers Elena Bodrova, Carrie Germeroth, and Deborah J. Leong found that children teach themselves to regulate their emotions and think before they act when they play. For example, if a child is pretending to be Olaf from Frozen, they may pretend they’re melting when they come inside or insist that they like warm hugs. In each case, they consider how their actions will correlate with how Olaf should act in a given situation.”- Whitbyschool.org

If anyone has ever played make believe with a child, you know that kiddos play out relationships. They play Mom, Dad, sister, brother, super heroes, soldiers, or fill in the blank. My eldest used to ask me to play with her. She just told me what to say and I said it while her character was the star of the show (kind of like her). This is one of the ways kids figure out relationships. Often we hear children playing with the same words they hear us using -“It’s okay, mom is here” or “If you do that again you are in trouble”.

Play gives children a chance to practice what they’re learning.
– Fred Rogers

The Scientific Re-do.

When children have had trauma in their lives and struggle with regulation, play can help fill in the gaps missed in brain development. Organized play with a point can help. Acting out a scenario the right way and the wrong way helps a child form new pathways in his brain. This is a non threatening way of doing a re-do. This can be done with puppets or just acting it out. Try acting out the wrong way to ask for something and then the wrong way. Kids definitely enjoy the wrong way, they may giggle, but the right way will stick!

Scientists have recently determined that it takes approximately 400 repetitions to create a new synapse in the brain - unless it done with play, in which case it takes 10-20 repetitions._ - Dr. Karyn Purvis.png

Scientists have recently determined that it takes approximately 400 repetitions to create a new synapse in the brain – unless it done with play, in which case it takes 10-20 repetitions.” – Dr. Karyn Purvis

Movement is Important.

Movement in play, indoors and outdoors are part of the pathway to healthy brain development. What a video game and screen time can’t do is amplify time, they simply spend it.

“Unlike television, nature does not steal time; it amplifies it.” Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods.

Organized play can teach skills and create a new synapse in the brain quicker, more efficiently and with more smiles than just going through the motions. While it’s tempting to fill time with screen time, remember you can’t get that time back. It’s spent on something that doesn’t have a great return. Educational show are great, but actually doing activities together -indoors or out- produce a greater reward.

*This is part of a Back to Basics Series! If you missed the beginning, start here or catch up the podcast here.

 

 

 

Why Go Outside When the Electrical Outlets are Inside?- For Moms

We Moms sat around the picnic table with coats wrapped tight and chatted between taking photos of our teens/tweens at the WVU Adventure Challenge Course. Our offspring scaled a tower and rappelled down while peers belayed them. Down in the lowlands it was a comfortable sixty-something while up in the highlands it was bone-achy cold and yet such an enjoyable day just being outdoors.  (Okay, I moaned a few times about needing a hot espresso, but other than that….)

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We Moms compared notes about our early outdoor experiences. We all had the common denominator of spending multiple hours outdoors (at our parents’ insistence). It was a building block of our childhood. We spoke of building pine needle forts, climbing trees while watching younger siblings, playing in the creek, eating lunch in an ancient graveyard. And the lists continued for hours. I picked their brains for this month’s focus on Positive Adoption- PLAY. 

“Many members of my generation grew into adulthood taking nature’s gift for granted; we assumed (when we thought of it at all) that generations to come would also receive these gifts. But something has changed. Now we see the emergence of what I have come to call nature deficit disorder.”- Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

 Today, I want us Moms to chew on these questions: Why go outside when all the electrical outlets are inside? Why should moms play outside? Nature deficit disorder is not just for children, it affects us moms too!

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“In the space of a century, the American experience of nature has gone from direct utilitarianism to romantic attachment to electronic detachment.”- Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

We live in a new era where yards are smaller, green space more limited in suburban and metropolitan areas. We have everything at our finger tips. YouTube and Animal Planet provide plenty of the footage of the wild world. Servants like dishwashers and clothes dryers do our dirty work. No need to pound the rugs outside with a rug beater when Mr. Dyson will do the work, we just have to plug him in and give him a little push. We can chat for hours with friends on our Ipads without ever stepping out the door.

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During my childhood years, my parents took us kids on five- and six-week vacations across the nation, from the east coast to the west in a VW van, camping in a tent most nights with an occasional hotel night. There were no electronics available. The places we went you couldn’t view online (there was no online, only real life). You had to go there. We threw snowballs in July in the Grand Tetons, stretched our bodies over New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado in the Four Corners, swam in frigid waters with pebbly beaches, watched Old Faithful erupt and stood face to rock face with George Washington,Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, at Mount Rushmore. From the Redwood Forest to the beaches of Virginia, Maryland and the Carolinas, my family experienced it all.

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When we arrived home with Grandma in tow (we picked her up in Arizona), we aired out the tent and the sleeping bags,unpacked and got back to the outdoors, weeding the garden, moving, and my younger siblings’ favorite, catching crawdads in the creek. Then there was apple picking! My older brother climbed the tree while we girls held a sheet below. He shook the branches and apples rained down on us.

Fast Forward to my early Mommy years. I was home alone, with a baby in a townhouse, suffering from postpartum depression (though I didn’t know it at the time). I didn’t see the necessity of going outdoors. I had my childhood memories tucked safely away to pull out at will, but I didn’t really think about the message my parents taught me: Go outdoors, often. Unplug. I worked indoors with my servants and caught up on Brady Bunch reruns. Then one day, a wise, more mature Mama told me I needed to get outdoors to lift my mood and restore my sanity.

Outdoors I went, with kits, cats, sacks, baby and blankets to sit and enjoy nature. Jerry or I strapped Audrey on our backs while we hiked up back country roads. My mood improved. My house left behind, I enjoyed fresh air and gained a new outlook. Sticky floors didn’t bother me while I played outdoors. They were in another time and place indoors. And I started back down the road of my childhood, trading four walls for an expanse of sky, trees, birds and the gift of NATURE.

As I write this, I am sitting on my back deck, birds are chirping, my laundry drying in the sun and I don’t want to go back inside. Nature is my medicine. It calms me. It is my playground. Why do I go outside? To restore. Renew.

I logged fifteen miles of walking outside last week. It is my necessity, not my luxury. Nature sedates parts of me that need sedating and invigorates the parts of me that need invigorating. And the play in my flower garden, clipping a bouquet, pulling out weeds, eases the tension and brings my world back into perspective.

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.-e.e.cumings

Why do you go outside? What do you consider play outside?

Tomorrow,  we will be giving away a free copy of:

book coverSo join us for Totally Broke Tuesday and leave a comment to enter in the drawing! We will draw a name Tuesday at 3:00pm!