Play, explore, move, parent.

3 07 2012

People who know me know that a lot of what I do in terms of “training” or “fitness” or “workouts” is very loosely associated with the conventional view of these terms.  Actually what I’m really about is playing, exploring, and moving. I’m also very much about parenting. And to me good parenting means playing, exploring and moving – with your kids.

Children use play to learn, its their job!  It helps them to build the skills and competencies needed for adult life including physical, mental and social skills.  Google “importance of play” and you’ll find stacks of supporting information on this, but when I reflect on my own experiences as a child, as an uncle and as a father, I know without doubt that playing with your kids is super healthy, super good for them and super good for you.

I don’t exactly know when or how I learned this but I’ve always known that actively engaging with kids, being and seeing their world, connects you to them more quickly and strongly than any other way.  My guess is that this was learnt by association from my father who did a great job at being part of my world.  Yes as I got older he was my team’s soccer coach or the umpire at my cricket matches, but rolling around on the ground and wrestling with my father and brother rank higher than almost any of my early childhood memories.  As do days at the beach swimming, throwing a ball, playing cricket and snorkelling.  Not specific things that happened, but the memory of the activities themselves is what I hold fondly in my mind.  As an adult, when I look back on many of those times I recognise that I often used to end up hurt and in tears, but that wasn’t what I remember.  What I remember was feeling connecting, feeling loved and in strange way being taught.  I am absolutely positive that I learned all manner of vital lessons from all those bumps, bruises, scrapes and tears.  So if I haven’t said it to the directly enough, thank you to my brother and my wonderful father teaching me so much, simply by engaging with me.  (btw – for a great book and website on this check out The Art Of Roughhousing, highly recommended)

Anyway this post was not meant to be about exploring all the developmental benefits of playing with your kids.  There are oodles of them I’m sure and some basic research will give you plenty of scientific reasons to back up my laymen thoughts.  But really, this post is just meant to get people thinking about investing, not spending, but investing more time with their kids and playing, exploring and moving.  And this investment doesn’t have to cost anything but is really just about igniting the spirit of play, exploration and movement in order to connect with the same spirit in our kids.  And I guarantee the return on that investment will be ten fold that of any material item bought for them.

So what does play, exploring and moving with your kids look like?  It’s only limited by your, and their, imaginations and the willingness to indulge.  Make the decision to go with the flow and the rest just happens, but here a couple of examples that Alex and I have put together (literally, constructed, filmed and edited together which is also an awesome activity to do together) over the last couple of months.  Enjoy!

The first was a recent weekend at the beach.  It’s winter in Australia and was about 16 degrees but beautifully sunny so we spent many hours playing in the water, the sand and that headland.

And the second was a stop off at the local library whilst riding home from the mall.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: