Inhibiting Play

Saturday morning: The husband let me sleep in! Would you believe it, I got out of bed at 10 o’clock (wonders never cease).  I left the comfort of the bed to find a huge pirate ship box display set up in the kitchen, equipped with half the linen cupboard to make for a sea. 

If I was up earlier, I may have stopped the children pulling out everything blue from the cupboard.  Maybe I would have asked them to set up in a different space.  Perhaps I would have freaked at the bathroom towel on the dirty broom (for the sail).  But it was already done — and it was wonderful.  I often, unwittingly, inhibit play and imagination for the sake of order and ease.

making a boat with pirate box

Look at the different blues the children found in the cupboard.  They weren’t being disrespectful with property or acting naughty in any way. You see, they needed a sea (of course) and were resourceful enough to find convincing materials to work with.  Thanks to my eldest daughter’s wonderful mind, the ship was not only on a sea but also equipped with sail and port holes at each side.

I’ve learnt a lot from my daughter when it comes to creativity.  Her art teacher said, “Flossie is not confined like the other children.  She dosen’t worry about being neat or staying between the lines; there’s a freedom to her work.”

I believe freedom and creativity go hand in hand.

Self portrait done last year (8 years old)

self portrait

Freedom: the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints.

It’s hard to find the balance between having rules (which are important) and creating an environement that produces the freedom to be creative (which is also important).  I think one key to achieving this balance is spaces — creating spaces (watch for a post on this).  Also, FunMum Wendy’s tip comes to mind: Think like a child.  Too often, adults lose the ability to be ‘free like a child’.  Watching children play is one way to recapture this beauty.

Too often, adults lose the ability to be ‘free like a child’.

Thanks to me being up late and not imposing restrictions on the children’s play, an elaborate game was enjoyed by all, throughout the day and into the next. Lesson learnt.  Maybe I should say lesson learning.

Missed last week’s contribution?  Make Scrambled Eggs Tonight, Have Fun Tomorrow.

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Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug; challenging herself physically and stopping for quiet unhurried moments to feel the wind on her face. Kelly and her husband Matthew seek to live a fun and adventurous life with their four children and pet bird.

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  1. Katie says

    Thats so much fun Kel! What fabulous imaginations! As mums so much of our time is taken up cleaning up, packing away and the like that unfortuately we can inhibit their creativity for the sake of avoiding what might be inconvenient to us. Thanks for the reminder of what is more important :)

  2. says

    You are so right, Kelly! I find I stop the kids constantly from having fun, because it’s too messy and untidy. After all I’m the only one who cares about the mess and has to clean it up. They just won’t help and don’t care if the mess is left there. But, certainly, whenever left to their own devices, I’m amazed at their creativity and imagination.

  3. says

    Very VERY cute! I used to do that as a child, and let me tell was the best fun i had..apart from riding the mattress down the stairs. I love the power of imagination, and kids use it so well, it’s great.

    Hope you and your family are having a lovely weekend :)

    K xx

  4. says

    Lucky you getting to sleep in! They have great imaginations. I agree that it is hard to watch a “mess” develop as they play. I simply ask that they help clean up when we’re done with the fun.

  5. says

    Fabulous post! Childhood is such a magical time, it’s a shame to spend it making the house look as if children don’t live there.

    Your daughter’s self-portrait is fantastic!

  6. says

    Isn’t it great having a sleep in? It always amazes me, because the kids, being with dad, usually come up with something completely fun, but entirely different to what they’d normally be doing if I were awake. It always gives me a buzz

  7. says

    Hi Kelly

    I’m so glad that you popped by and enjoyed our 3D Skyline!

    I love this post of yours. I do this!! I inhibit play!! Not all the time, but certainly sometimes. Thanks for reminding me about this! I love what your kids got up to!!


  8. says

    I love this post! We spent the weekend with my brother & sister-in-law & I saw an example of play being stifled right before my eyes. My sister-in-law was angry at her son & mine because they had built a fort in her bedroom. I was so impressed with their creation, but she made them take it down! I’m usually the one playing with my kids, though, so maybe I’m not the best one to judge! :)

  9. Alissa says

    I can’t wait for Jayden to have the creativity to to want to make things like that. (Although I am sure I will have a moment when my best table cloth is hanging from the cobweb broom!) I remember the forts and obstacle courses we use to make as kids out of anything and everything. Such great fun with my brothers… those were the days!

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