Where play happens … that’s our by-line for The Parenting Place’s annual Children’s Festival.
And we’re sticking with it.
For every year at the Festival, we marvel at the beauty and engagement of children immersed in simple, hands-on play.
In this digitized generation that is now – with toy smart phones, computer games, technological toys that talk and sing and direct – the significance of hands-on play is often overlooked. Yet scientific research continues to show us that it is simple, basic play that makes children smarter and more creative.
And the reassuring part for me is that the children always respond. Play is absolutely alive and well – when children are presented with the raw materials and the freedom to imagine and indulge.
From dirt, sand, water, paint, “junk materials”, pretend worlds, the children play.
And The Parenting Place Children’s Festival by-line, where play happens – rings true.
Thanks to everyone who joined us at this year’s Festival.
Keep on playing.
This is the time of year for clouds.
I’m not referring to dark and stormy ones, although there can always be some of those. The ones I’m talking about are the white fluffy, puffy clouds that float around against the deep blue sky.
I bet most of you have looked up at skies like this when you were a kid (I hope) or even as an adult – and chosen one of these clouds and imagined it to look like something – a floppy dog, a shimmering dinosaur with the sun shining through, a tricky monkey, or whatever your fancy conjured up.
It’s an age-old pastime – a fun activity -a chance to free our imagination, a pause in our mostly too busy days.
So I hope you don’t miss this chance with your children – to share the fun, the relaxed, lazy entertainment of looking at these fantastic cotton candy clouds and sharing what you see.
Your children will be enthralled – because when sharing our thoughts with each other, even our fanciful daydreams, we share our hearts too.
And actually, one of the very best things about this activity is – no one is ever wrong. Because a puffy white cloud – on a late summer day – can be anything we want it to be.
A ribbon – sometimes that’s all it takes to win a child’s attention.
That’s the way it was at Play Shoppe on Friday when a little girl arrived carrying a ribbon – about two feet long – a pretty, silky ribbon that sailed and fluttered behind her when she ran. This ribbon was definitely coveted by others who hoped to have a chance to hold it in their hands.
I don’t question its attraction for one minute. This ribbon, I believe, could be or do whatever this young girl imagined.
And actually it didn’t really even have to do anything at all, but just be hers – to hold, to touch, to be.
Oh simplicity – I love thee!
And nothing makes me happier to know that something as simple as a piece of silky ribbon can still be all a child needs – to imagine, to dream, and to play.
Thanks, Zoey, for the lovely reminder.
I always notice – the child sitting upon a parent’s shoulders – usually a dad’s, it seems. And every time I do, I am struck by the pure expression of trust, of contentment that I see in the child’s eyes and expression.
For to sit up so high – taller than everyone – to see as far as the eye can see – to move along at the pace of an adult – to have a parent’s hand on their legs, keeping the child secure – to feel this security, so connected, so together – is a special joy.
Often, a child gets to survey a new situation from the shoulders of a parent – to get the lay-of-the-land, to understand a new experience before being ready to explore on one’s own.
Sometimes a child is too weary to go on, or frightened, or shy – sometimes sitting on a parent’s shoulders is just for fun, or to see over others’ heads in a busy crowd.
Children look to their parents for connection, love, playfulness and security. And a ride on a parent’s shoulders provides all of these things.
A simple gesture, a special gesture – its impact perhaps going unnoticed by the parent carrying this precious cargo.
But not to me. I always notice – and not to the child, I believe, who just might always remember when.
I guess I understand it – but I’m not sure I like it.
Here it is – the very first day of August – yet I get the feeling from all around me – advertisements, media, shopping – that summer is wrapping up.
I get it – I know there are plans to be made for September’s school year, supplies and clothing to be purchased, routines to create. But I’m here to say – as much as we can – let’s hang on to these precious August days – now that we know and feel how numbered they are.
Rather than wrapping summer up prematurely, maybe we can have summer wind down ever so slowly.
Take a few minutes and think about some summer memories still waiting to be made – simple ones like enjoying lots of watermelon on National Watermelon Day on August 3rd; celebrating Root Beer Float day on August 4th, (free at A & W); “catch a falling star” during the Perseid’s Meteor shower peak on August 12th and 13th; enjoy an off-to-the-park-simple-spur-of-the-minute-picnic supper; run “through- the- backyard- sprinkler” night; celebrate the full moon on August 18th; enjoy after dinner neighborhood walks, ending up at your child’s school playground.
And for sure, bring August to a very grand end at The Parenting Place Children’s Festival – where play happens – Saturday, August 27th, 9:00 am-12:00 pm- (Dumping of the Dirt at 9:00 AM!). Save the date – Buttons on sale soon, at The Parenting Place and People’s Food Coop – $4.00 each, 3 for $10, $5 on the day of the Festival. Scholarship buttons are available. Please just ask.
And that’s my personal way of saying, “okay, August, a wonderful finale belongs to you!”