Child’s Play

imageThe things that keep children most entertained are often not the expensive flashy toys, but rather simple things found around the house. Very young children can be absolutely delighted playing with pots and pans, or cardboard boxes. As a young child in the 50’s, I certainly did not have the  quantity of toys that American middle class children have today. But I was never bored. I always found a way to entertain myself. In my case I was aided by having seven brothers and sisters although the oldest of my brothers were too mature (and too cool) to play some child’s games.

One thing my sister and I did was make mud pies. We were such ragamuffins.  I have a photo of this esteemed activity taken through a window from inside of the house. We had a little kitchen set up outside which was a wooden plank mounted on something. The play  kitchen was furnished with old bowls and pots and pans. Ingredients in the form of dirt,  pebbles, twigs, sand and anything else to add a gourmet touch were plentiful on the farm. Small children always  enjoy imitating adults. For us it was measuring, mixing, stirring and baking.  We did not have an Easy-Bake  oven. Our mixtures of dirt and water were baked in the imagesun.  In one of our mud pie adventures I decided that apples from our orchard would make a special variation to our standard creation.  A whole apple cannot be added to our delicious mud  pies, so I went into the kitchen and helped myself to a sharp knife.  I used it to slice the apples for our mud pies.  Unfortunately, the apples were not the only thing I sliced.  I still carry a scar on the middle finger of my left hand from where I nearly cut off the tip of my finger.

I am sure in today’s world some people would be absolutely aghast at us playing with mud. Concerns would center around the unsanitary nature of dirt and also allowing a child to get that messy and dirty. With my own daughter I would have been horrified if she played with a sharp knife, as my mom was once she realized I had it. Obviously we must keep our children safe. But children need to be allowed to become familiar with their environment, to explore, to experiment, to do dramatic role-playing. At times they should be allowed to get dirty. It’s all part of developing  creative personality and exercising creativity.

It is a wonderful to have a beautiful, well-appointed home that is clean and  looking like a photographer for House Beautiful could walk in and start a photo shoot at any time. However, if that same home has children in it, the real beauty would come from the children being allowed to be active and to be free. So what if there are some dirty handprints and toys scattered about? So what if guests arrive when the child is in the midst of a sloppy finger painting session? The beauty of a house with children is the children being able to develop in a wholesome, supportive environment. They should be taught to clean up their messes and pick up their toys. That should be part of their upbringing. The bad thing would be if they are not allowed to make messes at all.

Childhood play, just another thread of my life.

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23 thoughts on “Child’s Play

  1. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature February 26, 2015 / 6:21 pm

    I am so grateful to have grown up in the 50’s. I too played “cookins’ ” with mud, pebbles, sticks, etc – no apples and no knives. I am glad there were no computer games or fears of getting dirty. I loved leaving at the break of dawn, walking creeks all day and coming home for supper. I wish kids would get outside more. It seems such a regimented life these days – even outside play is team sports. Nothing against that, they just need to be able to explore and figure things out on their own. Nice post. Thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good Woman March 4, 2015 / 12:35 pm

      Thanks for your comment. I really agree with what you are saying. So many kids have such structured schedules especially as some parents try to get them involved in everything. Sometimes they think good parenting means kids shouldn’t miss out on anything. It seems they have to find a balance because those kids do miss out on figuring things out on their own. I would have loved walking those creeks with you.

      Like

  2. amiewrites74 February 26, 2015 / 6:50 pm

    I’m glad my kids are pretty outdoorsy. They like to hike in the woods and climb trees. My 6 year-old loves to dig worms out of the dirt for fishing trips with grandpa.

    I totally agree with the cardboard box idea in the first paragraph. We got a new vacuum a few weeks ago and it came in a big box (big enough for both of them to sit in it). My kids LOVE that box, it has been dragged all over our house and has been many things in their imaginary play. I love to watch them use their creativity.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good Woman March 4, 2015 / 12:38 pm

      There is so much to be said for letting kids be kids and doing the things they want to do without having everything scheduled for them. So often kids do not have the opportunity to do that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. nomsbloginateacup February 26, 2015 / 7:55 pm

    I’m a huge believer in child’s play, dirt and all things pre electronic. I still get down and dirty with nieces and nephews making mud pies. Great read!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good Woman March 4, 2015 / 12:42 pm

      Thanks for your comment. I think its refreshing to play spontaneously with kids letting them lead and having them decide what they want to do.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good Woman March 4, 2015 / 12:44 pm

      And that is something that adults generally don’t “direct” for the kids which might be part of what makes it attractive.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Storm's Stitches February 26, 2015 / 8:30 pm

    Yes! One of my most favorite memories is playing in the huge mud puddle in our yard. My cousin helped me make little mud people, and little mud-people cars, and little mud-people furniture. We let them bake in the sun and I played with them for hours 🙂 Happy times! Thank you for reminding me. My mom’s motto about dirt is one that I happily embrace: “no worries, it washes off”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good Woman March 4, 2015 / 12:46 pm

      I love your mom’s motto. And I am imagining this little mud village that you might have created.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. jesebell February 26, 2015 / 10:29 pm

    I can remember taking old tires and having rolling races. The mud and dirt did wash off well back then!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Woman March 4, 2015 / 12:50 pm

      That sounds like great fun! I think it still washes off well today, but you made me wonder if today’s kids even have old play clothes that they are allowed to get dirty. It reminds me that when we got home from school we always changed out of our school clothes because who knew what dirt we might get into.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. badfish2 February 27, 2015 / 3:25 am

    You’ve got me to thinking just how many things have changed since I was a boy and riding my stick horse through muddy cornfields. And riding my bike in the rain without a helmet anywhere in town–those were the good old days when a kid could really be a kid, dirt and all, without growing callouses on his thumbs from tweeting and writing sentences like U R GR8.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Woman March 4, 2015 / 12:52 pm

      How true that is. We have allowed the electronic world destroy a lot of great childhood experiences.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. elizarand5 March 1, 2015 / 3:42 am

    Thank you so much for the reminder. My carpet is in such disrepair and I’m constantly embarrassed by it, but it is because of the life that is lived in this house that made the mess. Definitely made me feel better 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good Woman March 4, 2015 / 12:53 pm

      Glad I could help. More people need to allow life happen and not be hung up on the homes looking good.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. mindmasterjedi March 1, 2015 / 11:00 am

    NOW THIS I CAN RANT ABOUT FOREVER BUT I’LL TRY TO KEEP IT SHORT. IF I HAD CHILDREN THEY NOTBE PERMITTED TO USE ANY TABLETS, OR WHATEVER OTHER DEVICE THEY ARE ADDICTED TO BY 4-5YRS OLD! PARENTS STOP! READ SOME MINOR RESEARCH ONLINE. INCLUDE LOOKING AT BRAIN IMAGERY SCANS GOING TO BE SHOWING WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE INSIDE THE BRAIN ACTIVITY WHILE

    ****** PARENTS PLEASE PLEASE DO EVEN A LITTLE BIT OF RESEARCH ON THE “POTENTIAL” YEA RIGHT ….. I’M TELLING YOU LOOK NEUROLOGICAL DAMAGES CHILDREN USING THESE DEVICES THIS LIST IS LENGTHY (AND STILL FINDING OUT MORE) WHAT IS EASIER TO GRASP IS DEVELOPMENTAL DELAYS AND MUCH MORE CLEAR IT WAS NOT EVEN ATTEMPTED BY THEM TO CHALLANGE!

    I’m not a neuroscientist so I make and quick observable harm —–SOCIAL SKILLS ISSUES (DEVELOPMENTAL, AND FUNCTIONAL) BIG PROBLEM
    TALK ABOUT IT IS JUST DIFFICULT IT’S BETTER FOR PARENTS TO RESEARCH AND COME UP WITH THE ANSWERS TO UNDERSTAND DECISION THE INFORMATION IS EASILY FOUND THEY CAN CHOOSE FOR THEMSELVES WHETHER OR NOT MAY FEEL DANGEROUS OR NOT OR WHAT EXTENT TO WHAT.
    ONE THING I DO KNOW IS CONSIDERING NOTICED IT RIGHT ABOUT TIME ALL THIS ELECTRONIC STUFF CAME ALONG I DONT REALLY SEE KIDS OUT PLAYING ANYMORE, NO BIKE RIDING, SKATBOARDING, NOTHING….. WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE, I GREW UP DURING THE XBOX-PLAYSTATION , BUT OH BOY
    EINSTEIN SAID
    “I FEAR THE DAY TECHNOLOGY SURPASSES HUMAN INTERATION. WE WILL HAVE A GENERATION OF IDIOTS”
    PRETTY SMART GUY LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good Woman March 4, 2015 / 12:58 pm

    Wow. A very interesting perspective on this. I hadn’t thought about the neurological viewpoint and didn’t even think to mention the electronics issue. Kids time is often so structured that they don’t have time to just be kids. You are correct that when they do have free time too often they are wrapped up in electronic devices that rarely stimulate any kind of creativity.

    Like

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