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Entries in Play (2)

Wednesday
Oct102012

After School Activities

One question parents sometimes grapple with is “should the kids be encouraged to participate in after school events.”  With the exception of detentions, the answer is YES.

Let’s first define “after school” events.  These can be clubs, sports, band/music/plays…anything organized.

School is about learning more than reading, writing and arithmetic.  School also plays a role in learning social skills (after all, we all know “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.”)  When participating with others, social skills are developed.

“Sports” are just one way to learn how to be on a team.  Putting on a play is a team effort.  A band wouldn’t sound good if not playing together.

Sometimes the student finds it difficult to coordinate varied activities.  We think this is an area where parents can help by being supportive and not directive.  If a student gets overwhelmed, let them know their options…and don’t make the decision for them.   What better way for the student to learn how to recognize “overwhelmed” and learn to prioritize.  (We do know some students end up in very bad places if there is no relief to the feeling of overwhelmed…this is why parents must be aware (and not helicopters.))

Parents are sometimes worried their students may get hurt playing a sport.  We certainly don’t advocate getting hurt.  We do advocate organized school sports where there are coaches and guidelines followed.

Overall, it really doesn’t matter what the child participates in as long as they participate.  Students tend not to “play” anymore. Going home daily and playing video games isn’t healthy.

So encourage your child to participate in group activities.  With the array of items offered in schools (often numbering over 100) there’s a good chance there is an activity for your child.

What are your thoughts on after school activities?

Wednesday
Jul182012

What is PLAY?

I’m going to sound like the old guy….and I am making a point.

What is PLAY ?

We would leave the house around 9 in the morning, and often not come back until dinner or later.

Since we did not have video games and the three television stations aired soap operas during the day, we would find friends and play outside.

We would:

  • Play baseball – learning the basics of the game (the children did the organizing, not the parents!)
  • Play kickball – basically baseball with a large soft ball
  • Build forts – in my yard I had an old table, with a “fort” built on top made of old scraps of wood.  My fort was especially cool because I had an old French Door laying on it’s side as one of the walls…providing natural light.  It way here I learned to saw a board by hand, or straighten a nail.
  • Dam a drainage ditch – the people living along the ditch were not too happy with us…but we actually began to retain water and establish a little lake.
  • Play war – hiding in the woods.  Filing a paper lunch bag with sandy dirt and tossing it, creating a waft of dust like an explosion
  • Make a movie – one friend had a movie camera…we made on very simple movie
  • Ride bikes – actually we rode bikes everywhere.  There was a Nike installation by us (military, not shoes) and it was cool to peer at the military.  Of course, it is now decommissioned and is a park.
  • Fix bikes – we were always cleaning, waxing, oiling, or repairing
  • Swim in the Lake – it was water.  It was refreshing.  It wasn’t the cleanest thing in the world, but who cared
  • Climb on the Playsets at the School
  • Never eat out – we would always have lunch at someone’s house
  • Never drink soda (just water – always out of a hose)
  • Lay on the grass and watch the clouds, pointing out things in the clouds
  • Eat grass (not grazing…just a blade giving some flavor in your mouth)
  • Burn trash (everyone burned their paper trash)
  • Play with fire (OK, not cool, but we did it.)
  • Find insects or frogs and save them

 

On a rainy day, we would find someone with a basement and:

 

  • Make a fort (using old sheets as walls)
  • Play with trains (one pal had a huge train set up in the basement)
  • Play with little cars
  • Do a play (wrote, costumed, set design/construction/painting…everything)
  • Read a book.  Actually, read a lot of books & Mad Magazines

 

Most of the time we were harmless.  Sometimes we would get in trouble (like the time I put both endo of a wire into a friend’s electrical socket blowing the fuse.)

We were not allowed to sit on the couches…as we were dirty.  So it was easier to stay outside or in a basement.

Where did the fun go?  What are the kids of today learning playing video games all day?