Thursday, May 20, 2010

Games Kids Play

When you hear children talking about games, you can usually expect it is something indoor and played on an electronic screen. But some kids will still play simple outdoor games when you give them the opportunity and let them be. Like chase. At Peter's Canyon in Orange, after admiring a sundog in the sky, enjoying a bluebird watercolor lesson, a hike through the arroyo willow trees, black mustard taller than us, unidentified grasses and weeds, and patches of thistle, the children played games while the moms discuss theology or do their own painting. Charlotte says, "The afternoon's games, after luncheon, are an important part of the day's doings for the elder children, though the younger have probably worn themselves out by this time." Not our little ones. They are ready to go as their elders direct them. "Races and chases, 'tag,' 'follow my leader,' and any romping game they may invent, will be more to their minds." And that's exactly what we see. "Meanwhile, the elders play; the more they run, and shout, and toss their arms, the more healthful is the play. And this is one reason why mothers should carry their children off to lonely places, where they may use their lungs to their hearts' content without risk of annoying anybody." Charlotte knew the importance of children running and yelling and letting them have a place where they could be free to do that.

"The resourcefulness which will enable a family of children to invent their own games and occupations through the length of a summer's day is worth more in after life than a good deal of knowledge about cubes and hexagons, and this comes, not of continual intervention on the mother's part, but of much masterly inactivity." Notice how the children have initiated all the play. The Moms are off discussing theology, parenting, life.


  1. Great quotes. Love this post. And that video... too cute!

  2. Fantastic!
    I was just talking to a friend about being more intentional in teaching my kids some "new" games! They already play chase, tag, hide n seek, and things like that. But I'd love to find a book of long lost traditional games!
    You have an amazing group!

  3. I know what you mean. Sometimes we read about an old-fashioned game in a story and try to look it up online. I loved playing Capture the Flag, Blindman's Bluff. This might be worth looking into: The Adventurous Book of Outdoor Games by Scott Strother.
    And yes, what a great group. I love them all. Thanks for commenting.

  4. I appreciate the Back Mustard identification - my daughter and I could not figure out the name of those flowers for the life of us recently. She will be excited to know. :)

  5. Black mustard is all around here. It's called black because of its seeds. You can nibble on the blossoms or the leaves. It's pungent, like dry mustard. Once my kids brought some home that were about 6 feet tall to plant in the backyard. Dad made sure they didn't take!