When I was preschool-age, my mother used to have tea parties with me and my two siblings. We didn't drag her to the table and then direct her on where to sit and what pretend food and beverage she was consuming. No, my mom would spontaneously show up in our playroom, not as mom, but as the character Penelope Wiliford. (Don't ask me where the name came from). She would loudly announce herself in a funny, British-type accent and invite us all to tea. She was so in character that we didn't dare call her "Mom." Sometimes it was just invisible tea and crumpets on our plastic picnic table, and other times she pretended that our regular afternoon snack had transformed into delicacies of royal caliber. We laughed and giggled and played and had so much fun. Those tea parties with Penelope are some of my most cherished childhood memories, and it is something that my siblings and I reminisce about often when we are together.
I was so blessed to have a mother that was exceptionally talented at all things home related. She is a fabulous cook, and I have copied her recipes often. She was a meticulous housekeeper, and I have held my home to the same standards (most of the time). She taught us all to read before we started kindergarten and made sure we had a solid foundation of faith. Both of those are goals that I work diligently to meet. Despite having three children within a 3 1/2 year time period, she remained charitable and did a great deal of volunteer work and outreach. I have attempted to emulate my mother in so many ways. So how have I forgotten how much importance she placed on playing with us?
I guess I forgot. I got busy. I became the constant caregiver, cleaner and cook, and never really became the playmate. And I really want that to change. I don't want my kids to look back and only remember how clean their house was, how good their meals were, and how much their mommy taught them. Those are all good things. But I want my kids to look back on their childhood and remember how much fun I was too!
10 Ways to Play With Your Kids
- Build block towers and then knock them over.
- Turn off all the lights and have a "Flashlight Battle," pretending the beam from the flashlight is the blade of a sword or light saber.
- Finger paint with them.
- Take them to the park, get on the swings, and swing alongside them instead of just pushing them.
- Build an indoor tent out of sheets and camp out.
- Break out the play-dough, and let your kids suggest what you should make.
- Get into whatever they are in to. (In my house, this means donning a Darth Vader mask or pirate hat.)
- Have a Nerf gun or water gun fight.
- In the summer, have a pool jumping contest. Jump into the pool in different ways (ex. cannon ball, belly flop) and then have your kid copy you. This is extra fun if you have "judges" to decide who had better form.
- Have a tea party, and really get into it!
This post is linked up to these awesome parties: