"Let's have a merry journey, and shout about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves. "NOW thyself" is more important than "Know thyself." Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It's crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful." ~ Mel Brooks

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Child's play. It's such a simple yet necessary action in the daily lives of our kids; imagination, curiosity, self awareness, self confidence.......to name just a few reasons to allow free play. Not to mention what a joy it is to watch your child discover other worlds within their own that is all theirs for the creation. They're taken away on a journey, within their own minds, that allows them to create any situation, work through any insecurity, celebrate any moment.......exactly the way they see it in their heart and soul.

Playtime is a gift that many children in today's over worked, over booked, over teched society, don't even get to experience anymore. Between preschools or day cares at such a young age with toys that take away any notion of imagination, kindergartens that push to write, read, and understand math concepts first over understanding the world around them and how it works. Then the lower grades that have almost zero time for free play. By the time our children reach the age of 10 they may have almost forgotten what it means to have an imagination, to play by themselves without an iPOD, a laptop, or another hand held electronic device. When I was a child, by the age of 10 I was still playing with toys, rode my bike, went for walks in the woods, with or without friends. I didn't have a cell phone, a computer, or any other portable gaming device. It was me, with a book, a friend, a notebook, some crayons, a swing set! We did have television and my sister had a Nintendo (which I played when she let me but not everyday and certainly not all day). Regardless, most of my childhood memories are me sitting amongst the trees, making forts and pretending; this is what I strive to give back to my children.

Now that I am a mother to four (with another on the way) it has become so important to our family to 'take back' what it means to be a child. We don't have cable, we don't have any hand held gaming devices or ones that hook up to the television, no iPODs. We do allow the two older children (ages 10 and 12) an hour a week on the computer and they do have an MP3 player (which I attribute to the modern Walkman which I had as a pre-teen) that they are allowed to listen to when they are in their rooms only (which is hardly ever because we're so busy being together as a family). We struggle to accept talking and music making toys for our little ones, we try to intimate what types of toys we'd like sometimes with great success sometimes not. The toys the little ones do have are ones that will allow them to pretend, to imagine, to create their world in the physical form; animal figures, doll house, costumes, art supplies, cars/trucks, blocks, and lots of books, soft baby dolls and musical instruments. We keep our dining room table free from clutter (as much as possible ;o) ) to allow for any crafting, coloring, painting, or baking that may take place at any given moment. We strive to keep our children's environment stress free and simple to allow the creativity to flow, to allow their genuine selves to shine through and create the vision that their imagination sees.

In today's society, it is hard to not fall prey to wanting your child to keep up with the times, to have the same things that their peers have so they don't feel left out. Sometimes our older two feel very left out and wish for the things their friends have. As their parents, we do our best to show them that it's never a good idea to compare ourselves to someone else, and in the end, it's our bond as a family, it's our ability to laugh together, play together, and have fun together that reminds them that if they did have all that other stuff.......we wouldn't be the family that we are. By not allowing our kids to plug in and knowing in our hearts that their 'play time' is the most important gift we could give them, we've invested in our family as a whole. That simple choice means that we have chosen our family over 'keeping up with the Joneses'.

As parenting our children becomes more difficult with each day, I ask you this.......how do you allow your children to just be? To be with themselves (not plugged in), to be with their friends (again, not plugged in), to be with you (dare I say it, not plugged in)? If you're lifestyle is one that supports iPODs, gaming devices, loads of plugged in time, I would ask that you think about how those choices might have affected your relationships with your children. Do you still spend a good amount of quality time together? Do you talk, play, or interact with each other outside of a video game or text? How could you limit their screen time and reinvest that time inward to allow for free play and downtime together?

At the end of the day, these are each simple lifestyle choices. In the end, one needs to chose what type of living works best for them, based on actual life experiences. My hope is that by providing a window into the alternate choice, one might be inspired to look at how their child exists in their own playtime and implement a change for the better........for the child and the family as a whole.

*For ideas and inspiration on interacting with your child more fully and helping them to discover that life isn't just about being plugged in, check It's a Simple Life's blog roll. These are lovely people choosing to live a very connected life simply because they now that in the blink of an eye, their children will be grown and that precious time they are given them will have shifted into something else. Savor your time with your children, hold them close, smell them when they are near, look them in the eye. Hold their tender heart in your hands and remember that they are only yours to experience fully for a short time.*


  1. Hello! I just found your blog. We also live a simple life and it's so great. Since we homeschool, our daughters are not rushed on a daily basis, they get to play and learn in a fun way. No TV, no video games for our daughters. We have plenty to do each day.

    1. Hi Mariza! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on this post, comments make my day! It sounds like you have a lovely rhythm going with your daughters.....that makes me very happy! Giving our children the freedom to just 'be' is such a lovely gift. Enjoy your moments and please, come by again!!


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