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How playful is your family?

SAntonio

When I think of our FAMILY and the word PLAY, I think perhaps that ship has sailed. Our kids are all in middle school, so there isn’t a lot of interest in play time anymore, is there? There’s a lot of playing around perhaps. And the term “playdate” has long been replaced with “hangout.” But, is there a need for regular family playtime?

While listening to Brene’ Brown’s The Gift of Imperfect Parenting audio CD in my car today, the importance of play in families really hit home. It made me realize that our lack of family play is exactly why we pulled out of our normal existence to take a 6 month hiatus around the USA. It was a way to regain playtime in our family. I never looked at it like that. Times of play had been hijacked by long days at school, homework, competitive sports and other extracurricular obligations. Our family had no time for regular play. Play is exactly what our family was missing.

I think it’s why so many of us love to travel and plan family vacations nowadays. It’s the only time we carve out for downtime to be together. I believe that today’s culture deprives us the regular opportunity for family play and we need to wake up to that fact and intentionally incorporate it back in. Stuart Brown is a leading expert on play who believes that the importance of play is essential through our lifetime. He even wrote a book on the science of play, and its essential role in fueling our happiness and intelligence throughout our lives. We cannot let go of relaxed, silly fun at any age. It is the piece of family life that keeps us joyful and connected.

When you think about your family, what are those activities you enjoy doing where you just lose track of time having fun together?

Here are 6 ways our family PLAYS together. Interesting how every one of them is outside in nature!

1. HIKING – who doesn’t love taking in the fresh air along a beautiful trail in a National Park.

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The beauty of hiking Bryce Canyon, Utah

2. BIKING- We enjoy the simplicity of getting on our two wheels exploring while exercising.

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Biking the Sites in Washington DC with Bike and Roll

3. GEOCACHING- the kids introduced us to this fun treasure hunt type phenomenon. We always were on the lookout for different Geocaches‘ wherever we went.

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Geocaching near the headquarters in Seattle, Washington!

4. ROPES COURSE CLIMBING – Our adventurous kids get us out doing things that we wouldn’t normally do.  We did several ropes courses during our travels, but this was one of our favorites.

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Enjoying our day at Whitefish Mountain Aerial Adventure Park in Montana!

5. WHITEWATER RAFTING – Such a fun way to spend a family day laughing together!

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Rafting down the Nantahala River, with Adventurous Fast Rivers, in North Carolina!

6. COLLECTING SEA GLASS- This is a family tradition passed down from my parents. We love to see who can find the biggest piece or the most unique color! We spend hours doing this at the beach.

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Enjoying St. Martin’s Grand Case beach!

The family that plays together stays together! Make a list of the unique things you enjoy doing together as a family. How will you incorporate PLAYTIME back into your FAMILY if you too find it’s missing?

5 replies
    • admin
      admin says:

      Hi Jaime! You’re right! It’s one of the best reasons to be on the road. How great that you still are. We haven’t had a chance to play much since we got home. We are heading over to the San Diego KOA for spring break though!

      Reply
  1. Victoria
    Victoria says:

    I feel that you don’t nessarly need to travel to play together. Some fun eays we play together is;
    1.Camp outs in the living room, we do all we would camping but inside.
    2. Volenteer, finding a place your passionate about.
    3. Game night with prizes & fun snacks
    4. Dance party
    5. Hiking & snowshoeing
    Love this, great read!:)

    Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      Nobody knows how to play better than you! Volunteering is a big one for us too and I thought about including it but am going to do an entire separate post on that. I love the dance party one too!

      Reply
  2. Toni
    Toni says:

    I am finally learning now play is one of the most important things for our kids. It’s what connects us more and builds wonderful memories for them instead of just thinking of me as strict boring mom?.

    Reply

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