MAY 21st | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL TAKE YOUR PARENTS TO THE PLAYGROUND DAY – I cannot remember the last time I played at a playground. It was likely when my kids were little and it was rare even then. As a stay-at-home mom for the first six years of parenthood, our frequent visits to various playgrounds gave me a brief respite from any further loss of energy. I would gladly sit on a bench while watching them run from slide to swing to monkey bars.
Upon reflection, I might have had it all wrong. The Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be transformed or transferred. Please bear with me and my geekiness.
On a summer evening many years ago, I was not at a playground but in the soccer pitch beside the playground. Several families from our neighbourhood were all gathered in our backyard for a weekly Friday night BBQ. This particular night I decided to go and play with all the kids in the park.
I was chased around the grassy field by ten or twelve kids, pulling kids down with me and being piled on by most of them. I was dirty, exhausted, and sweaty but filled with exuberance from lots of smiles and laughter. The other adults all sat on the backyard deck, consuming beverages and chatting.
I specifically remember wondering why aren’t any of the others parents noticing how much fun we are having and joining in? I realized then that play is a choice.
Play is uncomfortable for many people but I guarantee that while you are playing it is nearly impossible to focus on what’s wrong with the world. Play doesn’t destroy energy. It transforms it into positive emotions.
But more importantly, there will be incredible love and joy transferred to a child when you truly play with them.
NATIONAL LITTLE RED WAGON DAY – the iconic red Radio Flyer, the centre of many kid’s imaginative journeys, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Based in Chicago, this family owned and run company has won awards and have kept their products simple yet current.
The original wagon was wooden but changed to steel in the 1920s. Today, there are wooden, steel and plastic varieties. Canopies, fold-down padded seats, storage areas and cup holders are possible options on the modern wagon.
Visit this link to read the interesting history of the Radio Flyer:
I would, however, like to celebrate all wagons today. When my girls were little, we spent time outdoors everyday. Many hours were spent on the driveway with a wagon, toys and other children. There were countless trips around the block with wagons and, later, tricycles. Children who had paper routes would put their dailies in wagons. My girls are still friends with many of their playmates from those days.
I have new neighbours who have children … I think. I never see the kids outside playing on the driveway, pulling a wagon with stuffed animals or anything else for that matter. I wonder, what do they do inside all day? They are missing so much. The outside world is a social world with children, dog walkers and friendly neighbours. Maybe they need a Little Red Wagon to get started.
NATIONAL GOOF OFF DAY – Goofing off is intentionally avoiding work … at all costs. Do not look like you are working today, do not feel like you are working and, above all, do not tell anyone you are working today.
But let’s say, for your family’s well being and job security, that you do have to work today. Take a few moments, any moments during the day, and play. No, I do not mean Candy Crush or Trivia Crack. I mean PLAY. Unscripted, impromptu, and laugh-inducing silliness.
When my kids were younger, I used to occasionally take them to Lowes. While we there we would, without discussion, break into a game of hide and seek. The kids would be at one end of the long aisles and I would be at the other. The game was to spot someone as they were crossing the aisles or to hide from them but still keeping moving along the store. Occasionally a staff member would figure us out and start helping us. We would laugh and giggle and we still talk about this game, many years later. That is play.
If you are an employer, imagine how surprised and happy your staff would be if you suddenly started blowing bubbles with them or something equally as fun and easy. If you are a parent, the dishes can wait. Kitchen dancing is way more fun!
NATIONAL MARIO DAY – Not gonna lie, I love Mario. I love Super Mario and I love Mario Cart. I suck at them both (ask my daughters) but they are so much fun to play!
Play is incredibly important and adults do not play enough. One of my definitions of play involves losing myself completely in an activity. When I am focused on something that involves play, I find it nearly impossible to think of anything else … especially stressful things in my life. The pleasure regions, including the reward centre, of my brain light up and literally take over.
Although it is rare these days, we can play Mario games for hours There are always lots of groans, laughs, hoots and hollers. I don’t advocate over-playing any video game as it can begin to have affects on our mental health; especially the violent games. But the occasional Mario-fest is truly entertaining.