My favorite excerpts from ch. 9 “Home as a Playground” in Jill Savage’s My Heart’s At Home.
(Italics are direct quotes, regular text are my comments)
Families are meant to have fun together. A playful spirit and a good measure of laughter are medicine for the soul. When home is a playground, there’s an intentional effort to have fun and play together as a family.
Laughter is Good Medicine
Not only is laughter good for the soul, it’s great for the body. “Laughter can lower blood pressure, increase muscle flexion, and trigger a flood of endorphins–the brain chemicals that can bring on euphoria. Laughter profoundly affects our immune systems. Gamma interferon, a disease-fighting protein, rises with laughter. So do B cells, which orchestrate our body’s immune response. Laughter can also shut off the flow of stress hormones–the fight or flight compounds that come into play when we feel hostility, rage, and stress.”
Make Play a Priority
Is play each to do at your house? (i.e. Do you have toys and games easily accessible to your children and set up for quick play?)
Games, Games, and More Games
- Games not only build community in a famly, but they are also valuable in a child’s development.
- The most valuable benefit of playing games is the human interaction they require.
- On vacations or holiday breaks you might try playing an ongoing game all week.
- Baseball games in the yard
- H-O-R-S-E or P-I-G
- A picnic in the park
- Playing together in the kitchen…It’s not only fun to bake together, but also a great place to teach about food safety, measurements and fractions.
Fun in the Car
- When the kids were small, I never traveled anywhere without a bottle of bubbles. By holding the bubble wand up to the air conditioner or heater vent, I could fill the car with bubbles in less than a minute.
- This is an interesting idea. Would probably be fun, but wouldn’t it make a sticky mess? Everytime we play bubbles, my hand always gets gross from reaching for the wand. Is that only me? Guess I’m not so fun…
- Car trips usually mean special snacks for our family.
- My dollar store purchases provide a special treat for every hour we’re in the car.
- My mom used to do something similar when we made the long trip to Indiana during the summer to see family. I remember looking forward to opening a special gift every so often. I hope to continue something similar with my child(ren). But every hour gifts could get quite expensive if its a long trip…especially if you have multiple children. Just saying.
Basically, she suggested that we get our kids’ input in what fun activities and trips they’d like to go on. And as they get older, we actually let them plan some of them. Giving them ownership tells them they’re important and part of the family, teaches them life-long skills, and insures that they will really want to participate.
A Playful Heart
I have often said that a mom’s ability to have fun is directly proportioned to her ability to stand a mess. Moms who don’t mind a mess find it easier to have fun than moms who like things neat and clean all the time.
-I’m sure this something I need to work on. I am an organized person and feel better when things are reasonably neat. But I do enjoy playing around and getting dirty. But I do hesitate to do things that will make a mess if I don’t have the energy or time to clean it back up again. Guess I’ll have to find a good balance.