Friday, February 15, 2008

Simple and Slow Fridays: Play

I'm skipping the chapter TV, because I've already talked about that (A LOT). This week's chapter in Mitten Strings for God is entitled Play.

Perhaps we adults have lost the fine are of lollygagging, but at least most of us mastered it as children. We knew what it was to be bored and to find something on our own to do; we knew what loneliness felt like; and we discovered that there was value in being alone sometimes. Left to our own amusements, we found resources that we didn't know we had. ( p 56)

Yet, it is difficult in our day and age for parents to simply set children free for summer. But surely we can manage to give them a day or a week here and there, during which we adults fade into the background, erase the schedule, and simply let them be. If we plan all of their days for them, how will they learn to navigate through the idle shallows of their won lives, much less seek out and bask in the those calm waters? (p 56)

My challenge this week is not so much a challenge, but a question: How much do you schedule your children's activities (summer or otherwise)? If you children are in an organized sport or taking lessons of some sort, at what age did you start them? Did you initiate the activity or did they?

We're trying to decide whether or not to put Will (age 5) in a sport or not. He has expressed zero interest in extra-curricular activities, though. Right now his brain ONLY revolves around trains, and I think it would be good to broaden his horizons! :) Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Also, I'm going to forgo Mr. Linky for a while as there aren't too many participating bloggers each week. If you do write a post regarding Play, let me know in the comments... I'll find you, I promise! :)

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Mary@notbefore7 said...

Becky - let you something at my blog, come on by.

As for this...we decided that we'd let the girls do ONE activity this year and we selected ballet. We felt like it was a good foundation for any sport they might persue.

Before that they have taken 6 weeks stints of gymnastics, art, and other dance classes. We like the 6 week rec and park classes because you aren't committed forever. We began around 3 to let them do a 6 week class here or there.

This year, they signed up for ballet the WHOLE year, but we didn't let them do anything else. (they don't do preschool, just a one day a week moms day out)

I think it is a good thing to find some fun things out there - maybe try a 6 week class of some sort.

MommyK said...

I found you through Not Before 7, and I love this idea!! I posted about it at my blog:

Tamara said...

Good timing on this post. Next month it will be time to sign-up for summer activities and I have been pondering what we want to do this year. I keep waffling between thinking we usually do too much (my mom's opinion) or we should do more (my friends opinions).

We have enjoyed doing a variety of short parks and rec programs too like one of the other commenters said. Not constantly, just sprinkled here and there.

I also send my kids to preschool. The only reason I do additional items is that I am trying to get them running around and expending some of that energy - especially when the weather is bad.

Lisa @ Take90West said...

What about swim lessons or Spring soccer? Both are a relatively short time commintment and he might have fun! And if he doesn't enjoy either, then you've only committed for 8 weeks or so, and can try something different next time.
At 5, I think he should maybe be involved in something with some other kids, just for fun!

Anonymous said...

I think it is a great idea to get children involved in extracurricular activities at young ages. It broadens their horizons and provides them with other outlets for energy expenditure (which many parents need for their children). Group activities facilitate their socialization skill development in addition.

I think there are some children seemingly born with knowledge of what they want to do and they pursue it early - i.e., Tiger Woods swung a golf club at age 3; Venus Williams swung a tennis racket at age 5; etc. But, the great majority of children need parents to point them in different directions, so that they can experience what is available in the world and develop a taste for other activities of interest. While Will cares only about trains, he has not yet been exposed to other options for hobbies/play, in the same manner he has with his trains. Also, with Will being older than his brothers, the activity he has available to him now is to play with trains and/or to play the games of babies or toddlers. Getting him into different short term team sport programs will do wonders for him. Gymnastics and/or some type of karate could be a good place to start as it gives a total body work out. Tee ball season is coming up, as is soccer, etc. Learning to swim would be great, since Summer is near!

What I have seen in my life is that children foster strong relationships with those they play with on a team. That, and, they are usually tired out from the activity producing less drain on the parents...ha!

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Kelley at Aroma of Joy said...

After 7 kids I have done it both ways. While each child is different my best advice is to enjoy your "down time" while you have it. Once you enroll, you never really un-enroll you just keep adding to the already busy schedule. There are so many opportunities out there, let them come to you. Sports, music, scouts...he will find his niche and starting before they are ready can cause stress and burnout. Our kids have enjoyed the most the things that they chose themselves. If we chose it for them it often turned into a battle and ultimately a waste of time and $$. For instance our 5 year old groaned every time he had a soccer game or practice, he preferred being home in PJs watching Bibleman. Needless to say we are skipping spring soccer!

Good luck and I would love to hear what you decide!


Lulu said...

In our house, the kids are allowed to choose 2 extra-cirricular activities a year, and it's worked out well for us. I believe in off-seasons to renew and recharge their batteries as well as my own, but trial seasons can be helpful to figure out what Will likes. It might also be helpful to take Will to see some events...a baseball or soccer game, a karate class, a swim meet, a scouting event. It's fun to see what sparks their interest.

Enjoy the ride!

Barbara said...

My first post for "Simple and Slow Fridays".
Here it is: