Playing With Your Kids (a confession)

I aim to give my children a variety of play experiences. However — don’t be too shocked now —  I’m not a huge fan of going to playgrounds, or baking with my kids, playing games and…sometimes even doing craft.  Now, it’s not that I don’t like doing these things with my children, because I do…to a degree, but I can only sustain these activities in small doses.  However, there is something, something I can do for hours, something that is relaxing for myself and the children. It’s exploring the outdoors.

I LOVE being outside in wide open spaces with my children. I feel relaxed and this sees me stay out with them for hours at a time. Sometimes I sit as they play within watching distance. Sometimes we go for bushwalks. Sometimes we explore new roads and towns. Sometimes we walk along the beach.

{all these pictures were taken with my iPhone 4}

outdoor kids

outdoor kids

outdoor kids

Outdoor kids

outdoor kids

Maybe one of the reasons I enjoy experiencing the outdoors with my children so much is because it’s something I value highly. I get so much pleasure from simple things, and I want to share this love with my kids.  And you know what? My children play their best, most imaginative, creative and long lasting games when I’m relaxed. For me that is when we are outdoors. So that is the sort of play I facilitate most. Everyone wins.

You might find, like I did, that the activity you enjoy most with your kids is the one you value most. This may be creativity and art or being social with other mums and children at a playground. 

The confession: I don’t officially “play” with my children all that often but I do facilitate play opportunities constantly.

Playing with your child/ren is such a special thing (and I need to try and do it more) but I think mums can feel guilty sometimes for not playing with their kids enough (as if mums need more guilt!!). So ask yourself this question: do I facilitate play opportunities for my child/ren? I don’t know any mum who would say no to that question. 

What activity do you find most relaxing to do with your kids?

External Link

I enjoyed this post: Getting Kids Back Outdoors

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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. says

    Thanks for this post Kelly. I have been feeling a bit of the “playing” guilt lately. Our baby has some medical issues (nothing serious), but as a result has been very high maintenance! I feel like, by the time the “essentials” are done, I just don’t have a lot of time for playing.

    Sometimes we get all organised to play together, then the baby starts screaming and I have to attend to her instead.

    I feel so blessed that the older kids do play together well though (most of the time). As long as I get something out, or start some play, they generally “take it from there” happily without me!

    • says

      My third baby had some issues too (and was very demanding!!) I’m glad to hear that it’s not something serious though…Especially in the times when kids are young and so demanding, sometimes all we can do is facilitate play and that’s okay. xx

  2. Rebecca says

    Great post…I too, have been a bit slack with the ‘playing’ lately, but I think we all, as mums, create amazing opportunities for our kids to play. In saying that…if my daughters ask me one more time to play ‘mums and dads’ I think I’ll scream!! I play mum anyway, can’t I be dad sometimes…. guilt free! hehehe

  3. says

    Loved this post! I think it is far more important for our children to share experiences with us relaxed, having fun and enjoying the moment than through gritted teeth lol
    Amazing photo’s…. I definitely want to get out and about with my kids more after reading this xox

  4. Peta Wright says

    Hi Kell.
    I have a question… Now that your son is the only one at home during the day (and I’m sure he had gotten so used to always having a play mate around) how do you keep him “entertained” throughout the week? I worry that my Harrison is not getting enough stimulation or that he’s “missing out” although we do go for playdates to friends houses and visit the park etc. I was wondering if you had any other suggestions for being at home???

    • says

      Really good question Peta. I thought having one at home (and the other 3 at school) would mean I have more time. But no. Harrison does miss his sisters terribly and, being a 4th child, is not used to being alone lol. It has been harder to keep him entertained at home now. So most weeks, I plan to go somewhere 3 times in the morning. Another thing we do together is visit dad at work for lunch (near the beach) and then we go and play in the sand on the beach until we need to get the girls from school (I took some of the beach pics above one of these times).

      I don’t think he is as social as the girls…but I think that is a personality thing.

      It sounds like you are doing the same things as me (ie going out, play dates etc) and are having the same challenges at home (keeping him entertained) lol. I’m still working on it but the best thing I have found is I’ve created a “play garden” for him outside. It a rocky section and I have some trucks, spade and a few other things so you may give that a go. I’ll find a link to show you what I mean…

  5. says

    It’s funny you said the things you DONT do are the things I DO DO :)
    I love baking with the children, doing craft & playing games, & even doing the Park (best when beautiful people come along with you to chat and play). Suits me well 😀

    p.s. Hey, I even like getting outdoors but struggle doing it because there isn’t much to do (At home I got so many jobs its such a strange experience ‘just sitting’)

  6. says

    Fabulous post . I too have written about this before as I think it is easy to feel guilty for not “gettIng down on our hands and knees” and playing with our kids all the time. There are many things I don’t enjoy doing with the kids but now that I have so many of them I find that they are all better at entertaining each other rather than relying on me. I also love being outdoors and going to the beach, but really don’t like sitting down to watch kids movies. I do quite like doing Lego though as I find that quite therapeutic! So as you said I think it is far more important to provide them with the opportunities to facilitate their own fun and when we are relaxed & enjoying ourselves there is far greater chance they will too. :)

    • Kelly b says

      My kids play with each other too. But I find my son, when he is home with me when the girls are at school, harder to occupy. I love Lego too. Reminds me of my childhood when my sister and I used to spend hours on Sunday afternoon creating. Always love hearing your thoughts on motherhood Martine. x

  7. Wendy McKay says

    AAAhhhhhh! I feel the guilt slowly receding. Thank you so much for a wonderful post. I listen to other mums about what they do and I always feel so guilty that I don’t spend time doing the things they do. When you work full time, ferry children to extra curricular activities after work and on weekends, and try to keep up with homework and housework, there is very little time to enjoy the precious, simple moments. I do try. However, for the most part, I think I let myself and my children down. You’re right though Martine, my children often entertain each other better when I’m not involved. I enjoy watching them interact BUT I do feel guilty that I’m not playing with them. Maybe I can encourage them to enjoy doing the washing and ironing with me….LOL

    • says

      Part of what I’m learning as I write this blog is to live life with my kids (which encompasses all the boring everyday stuff too) and create moments as we live life rather than waiting to do stuff together. This change of thinking has created more time without the need to be less busy. But it’s hard to find the balance. I so appreciate your thoughts Wendy.

  8. Bek says

    We moved a little further out of town just this year, when our third little boy was born to complete our family. We have an old X-Box. I think my 6yo once played it when he was 4..since then I doubt it’s been turned out. He loves the computer, but having changed his school due to our move we’ve noticed a huge improvement in his reading and general all round confidence with all things school…the difference? There is no dependence on computers AT ALL in the classroom until older grades. Different to his previous school. Moving further out has given us a MUCH larger ‘adventure playground’…a little over an acre. My boys are free to be noisy, boisterous, to wear themselves out, to watch parrots getting tipsy on nectar, the frogs come out on wet evenings, massive spiders spinning webs and scrambling away across the garden…and the local ducks that visit daily are starting to not run quite so quickly upon noticing the boys are outside. Just this morning we watched bees cross pollenating. Then climbed a tree. Life is so much more FULL outdoors! :)

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