Mommy will you play with me? I hear this multiple times a day. But, the truth of the matter is that playing with my boys can sometimes be a little bit mind numbing.
Don’t get me wrong – I love certain types of structured play that are at least somewhat stimulating to my adult brain, like hide and go seek, building legos, board games, crafts, reading, etc. But I only have a limited attention span for other types of play, such as pretending I’m a monster on the attack, pretending my son is a dog, digging in the dirt, making magical potions out of water and dirt, or anything having to do with Star Wars or ninjas – enough already!
So sometimes I opt out of play. Sometimes I blame it on chores. “Sorry, Mommy has to do the dishes.” Other times I blame it on fatigue. “Sorry, Mommy needs a few minutes to relax.” Let’s face it, some days after a long day of work, I just want to sit down for a few minutes with my mommy juice du jour. Often I promise we’ll play more later. But, later doesn’t always come and the mom guilt has started to creep in.
I was starting to worry that something was really wrong with me. Because I know that interaction with our children is so important, I was feeling like I “should” be taking every opportunity to engage, particularly in something that “should” be fun like play. I was also thinking that everyone else was doing a much better job at happily playing pretend for hours on end. But, it turns out I’m not the only one struggling with play time boredom and it is just another in the growing list of parenting secrets that no one tells you about. In fact, some parents refuse to play with their children entirely and some psychologists have warned that we risk stifling the development of our children by getting down and playing with them. I had no idea!
So, to all you parents out there…play or don’t play…likely you’re rocking parenthood regardless. But, for all you parents who, like me, are starting to panic and looking for ways to make play more enjoyable before our kids grow out of it…there are many resources out there. Just google, “playing with kids boring” and you will see. One helpful resource I stumbled upon at our Library is the book Run Wild! Outdoor Games and Adventures by Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks. For those of you seeking ways to “have fun outdoors, anywhere, any time, whatever the weather”, their book and website is for you (www.goingwild.net). There are flour grenades, camouflage games, games with rocks, bubble games, clay and twig creatures and more. What I like most about this book is that the activities provide a joint opportunity for me to use my adult brain and creative side (like the face painting and making camouflage shields in the photo) and for the kids to use their imaginative side.