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.


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.

Adult Coloring Books or So I can think

I colored furiously, my crayon going back and forth and way out of the lines. I looked at my neighbor’s perfectly colored picture and broke down in tears. The teacher came back and knelt down next to me. “Kathleen, do you know how to color?” How to color? What? 

I was four years old. I didn’t know there were instructions in how to color. My parents were both educated people with  Masters and Doctorates between them. Our home was full of music, books and lots of discussion. Not much coloring. I had started school early at the finagling of my mama to stay with my sister (and Irish twin) eleven months my senior. My fine motor skills had not caught up with the five and six year olds in my class.

After a quick tutorial on how to color, kind teacher had another student proficient in the art give me a practice session in the hallway. I was amazed. Turns out, it was all about coloring in circles and outlining. I was hooked on coloring.

Fast Forward to adulthood and homeschooling my children:

When I began reading aloud to my children, I discovered a wonderful coloring resource- Dover Coloring books– which range from coloring wild flowers, Shakespeare scenes, history, nature, flags….you name it!


Adult coloring books are all the rage right now!  The Guire family isn’t following suit, but continuing on the path of coloring while we learn. Why should you color? Daughter Ania has been using her adult coloring book while listening to college lectures “so I can think,” she says.

Adult coloring 3

Why should children/adults color while listening to school lessons?

  1. Coloring gives the body something to do while the brain listens and relieves the stress of trying to pay attention.

“A lot of my fellow graduate classmates bring these coloring books into the classroom setting as a tool to focus more on lectures,” Citerella said, explaining that more professors are beginning to welcome this behavior. “For my internship, I find the clients who are fidgeting and cannot sit still ask for coloring the books in order to concentrate on group discussions”- Theresa Citerella, an art therapy student at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. (via The Therapeutic Science of Adult Coloring Books How This Childhood Pastime Helps Adult Relieve Stress)

2.  Coloring, given the right materials, reinforces what the student is learning.

Whatever you are studying, you can find a coloring book that relates to it. Studying the Civil War? Order some Dover coloring books on the subject. My girls love the fashions of the time while the boys appreciated the battle related books. Introducing your children to Shakespeare? Let them color some scenes from the well known plays while you read to them (I suggest starting with Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children for an introduction to plot lines, I read from this to my high school Shakespeare book club before we read the actual play aloud). Here is a great coloring book to accompany the reading: 

Color in a Dover coloring book about the Civil War while reading about it! 

3. You (the teacher) do not have to keep stopping to tell your children/teens to stop fidgeting while you are reading.

If kids are coloring while you read, you probably won’t have to stop and tell them to sit still as often. This ties in with reason number one, but I think it needs its own point. We adults often expect children to sit still for long periods. I can’t. Right now, while typing this, I am getting fidgety. I want to go outside and walk because I have been working in a chair  for far too long. I schedule my days to include many moving around and getting the blood circulating times. Kids don’t know how to verbalize this need so they fidget.

Just a warning- make sure all of your colored pencils are sharpened before you start your lessons or you will be in competition with a pencil sharpener.

*Today The Whole House is giving away an adult coloring book to relieve some of your stress!

How do you enter? It’s simple. Share this post on Facebook and tag TheWholeHouse.  If you don’t do Facebook, just comment on this post to enter. Drawing a name from all who share at 9pm.

Make sure you join us tomorrow for a new series on feminism!

Why I didn’t send my internationally adopted children to counseling fresh off the plane


In the book Solomon Says, a young girl named Tracy is removed from the home for sexual abuse at the hands of her father. She is labeled ‘sexual abuse’.  Tracy says of a foster home she liked,

“The only problem was they put me in a sexual abuse program. We had to drive about sixty miles every Monday to get there. And I was feeling, ‘Why am I getting punished for this crap?” They’re preaching at me all the time about how this isn’t my fault. That’s what bothered me. They’re all saying, ‘This isn’t your fault.’ And I’m —‘Fine, I think I got that point now, I know that.’ Every time I said anything, ‘This isn’t your fault.’ ‘GOD, i know. Would you just tell me something besides that all the time?'”


  1. Adopted children need time to feel secure.

Kids don’t need to feel like there is something wrong with them. Many of them already feel that way because of past abuse and neglect.

My kids were fresh out of the orphanage where they had spent the better part of two years. For the youngest minus the five months in the hospital it had been his whole life. There was a natural therapy going on. It was a new set of suppositions. We will eat meals regularly. There will be food available all the time. Mom will bathe me. I have clothes to wear. Mom and dad are in charge. They read me stories and tuck me in. The kids didn’t need anyone to tell them that orphanage style living wasn’t the highest on the food chain. They knew it. Instinctively. They didn’t want to go back there. The children wanted roots. Stability. Yes, survival mode reared its ugly head daily. Regressions came and went. Triggers sent kids off the deep end. But, here’s the thing- my kids were raised by ‘social workers’, doctors, etc, professionals were high on the fear factor list for my children. The last thing they needed fresh off the plane was to be embedded once again in the social system. No, they needed time to be part of a family with a mom and a dad. Those wounds were fresh and they needed the salve of security not probing questions to open them up again.Kids don’t need to feel like there is something wrong with them. Many of them already feel that way because of past abuse and neglect.

  1. Counseling is good. However, it is not good for everyone, all the time.. There is a time and place for everything.

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:

2 A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted,(A)

3 A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up, Ecclesiates 3

My face went numb. My arms tingled. I looked in the mirror at my scarlet blotched neck and splashed water on my face.I was at  high school at a basketball game with friends. My parents were bowling nearby and I got stuffed into an ambulance while authorities tried to get in touch with them. (No cell phones). And then asked questions about my drug use. I didn’t use drugs. I didn’t drink. I was having a panic attack, my first.

My first counseling session was during my freshman year of college. Panic attacks reappeared. Mom put her foot down. I only went once. My face red with shame. Anxiety ruled the session. I wasn’t ready to face what ate at me. I needed time and maturity before I was. So I took my proverbial shovel and buried it. During the college years, I had several healing baby steps. And some relapses- a bout with an eating disorder and a few more panic attacks.

15855532426_bef22c648a_oCounseling is great at the proper time. When someone needs help and asks for it. Recognizes the need. I didn’t recognize my need, not yet. I only recognized the problem which I thought (as many hurt children do) was me. It never occurred to me that it was circumstances that had happened to me.Thankfully, God, in His omniscience, knew my suppositions and he put me in a group of gals who had a hunger for the Word and prayer. We dug deep into the Word together, talking and counseling each other for hours on end. That intense time was another chapter in my healing journey. I had begun to believe that all I needed to heal was God, me and some friends (which is true sometimes). But, God shot that belief out of the sky. I ordered a book Healing is a Choice: 10 Decisions That Will Transform Your Life and 10 Lies That Can Prevent You from Making Them after a friend suggest it. The first lie? “All I need to Heal is God and me.” I threw the book across the room.

“You are willing to acknowledge that there is something that needs attention. You admit there is smoke, but you balk at the notion of fire. You admit to something, but deny that it needs attention from others. Rather than stay isolated inside your own solitary cave, you hole up there with God, expecting God to meet every need and heal every pain. It does not happen, because that is not God’s plan. God’s plan is for us to connect with each other to facilitate healing in our lives.”

I didn’t want this to be true. I wanted to work it out with God in my own home. I didn’t want to open up, to be vulnerable. Problem is, I stuffed until there was no room left in body, soul and mind. Then fear. Anxiety ruled. I didn’t want to drive. I didn’t want to leave the house. When I brought up memories with siblings, theirs were different or they were still so deep in denial they couldn’t relate. So, I made the call, hand shaking, sweat pouring, clenched hands, shallow breath. If you are not sure if you need to see a therapist check out this post by Marty Walden here.

Wait, you say, I thought this was an anti counseling post? No, it is when the time is right, therapy is good. It is good to have someone to walk beside you on the healing journey, not to be dragged along kicking and screaming the whole way. Then it does more damage than good. Healing is only healing if the wounded is ready.The woman with the issue of blood had to find Jesus and touch Him. She went out of her way. She wanted to be healed (Matthew 9:20-22). Two blind men followed Jesus ‘shouting loudly, Have pity and mercy on us, Son of David’ (Matthew 9:27) .  Often we adoptive parents must cover our wounds and parent while we watch our children suffer with their own. They lash out at us verbally knifing those scars of ours, but they don’t see, they don’t recognize their need. So we wait. As I said, two of my children went to the same therapist i currently go to. As teens, they were ready. Also, they are bios. The children who were adopted may take longer to recognize the need. Be patient. Don’t push. Another option, get some counseling for them. By that I mean go to a counselor in lieu of them going and then quietly  put into practice what you learned for them.

This is not a therapy bash. I had a steep learning curve when it came to counseling outside of my own comfy home or safe in the confines of the church pew. God can use your friends. He can use the Word, but, if you, like me think you can do it alone, He may challenge that. At the same time, remember your adopted children may not be ready or willing to relive the trauma just yet. Therapy at the wrong time can cause more trauma. A child with a shame based nature needs some time to attach to parents and become secure before he examines the chapters of his former life. When he realizes the first few chapters are getting in the way of his right now, he is ready. But, he must come to you in one way or another, grab the hem of your t-shirt or yell loudly in the street,’ I NEED SOME HELP HERE!’


*I use the therms counseling and therapy interchangeably in this post! Both have the same goal. Therapy is from the term Psychotherapy which means a long term approach to healing and a doctorate behind the name. Counseling has the same goal and usually denotes a master’s degree in counseling. Both are effective.