Thinking back to the summers I spent as a child, my memory is vivid with images of playing outside with my little sister. My parents had a huge backyard with a huge veranda and our summer days were idled away outside in the languishing Melbourne heat. With summer holidays only weeks away now, I think about how my boys spend their summers compared to mine. My parents still have the same house, so now the huge backyard with the huge veranda is a playground haven where my boys escape to for all sorts of imagined adventures.
But I’m not going to lie to you and say that my boys spend all their time playing and dreaming up adventures outside. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit that sometimes parking my boys with technology not only happens, but it is easy. The boys love being connected to their games on their tablets and I enjoy the quiet that this time buys me. So it is a win-win. But is it really? Yes, life moves faster now, parents are busier and the demands are greater. But is that really a reason for children to be so plugged in to their world of play?
My boys love spending time with their little cousin. The three of them spend many weekends together and I have no doubt most of the summer holidays will be spent together. One weekend, as I folded clothes and put on more loads of washing I realised that for the whole day these three kids did not need to be plugged in to have fun. They made up games, read books, played puzzles and went on adventures that only they could dream of. They kept themselves occupied and happy for the entire day. Only when they were tired and waiting for dinner to be ready did they sit in their exhaustion, watching TV and playing on their tablets.
That is when it dawned on me. My boys are not rushing to technology as the first thing they want to do in their day. If anything, it is often the last. While I frequently sit here tormenting myself that my parenting is failing because I allow too much technology and too much time being connected, perhaps I need to step back a little.
While technology may be at their fingertips, my boys also have a world of imaginative play at their fingertips. A stack of puzzles, a great big box of Lego, lots of books, lots of stories, puppets, arts and crafts and if the sun is shining, lots of time outside. So this summer, I am going to stop tormenting myself that I am not doing things right and instead I am going to enjoy the play. Whether it is watching my boys and their adventures at Nanna’s house, cousins creating make-believe worlds or the simple exhaustion of being slumped on the couch, with tired little fingers swiping screens.
Being together is what is important. And maybe instead of discriminating ways to be connected or disconnected, I need to remember that we are always connected, regardless of the games that we play.
Glottogon are giving one lucky reader of always Josefa a chance to indulge in the simplicity of play. Their products are just beautiful and the craftsmanship perfect for little hands. My boys have spent hours playing with these products and I have no doubt will spend even more hours playing this summer.
The Glottogon Giveaway is for a total value of $200 and includes:
1 x Safari Domino
1 x Garden Memory Match
1 x Circus Puzzle Pairs
1 x Ballet Trio Puzzles
1 x Dinosaur BIG Puzzle
1 x Fairy character Puzzle
What is your favourite childhood game?
Disclosure: The Importance of Play was written in collaboration with Glottogon, a small independent Australian company with a vision that dreams and play can make the world go round. All opinions expressed are my own.
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