I am the kind of parent that lets their kids play in mud puddles. I once dated a guy who did not allow his son to play in mud puddles. It didn’t work out between us.
I like silly fun – and I suppose I let my kids do more goofy things than other parents might. There is a Brady Bunch episode where Peter is playing with a basketball upstairs and the ball bounces down the stairs and breaks Mrs. Brady’s favorite vase. They all look shocked and Bobby pipes up, saying, “Mom always said, Don’t play ball in the house”! Well, I am the mom that lets the kids play ball in the house – and sometimes starts it and plays along. And did things get broken sometimes? Yes. Did I let them play ball in the house after that. Yes.
I don’t let them play ball in the house if the ball is super hard where someone might get hurt. I also have rules as to what kind of play is okay. Tossing a ball back and forth is okay. Kicking a soccer ball is not. Trying to toss a ball into a target is okay. Throwing a marble is not.
Balloons are super fun – batting them back and forth and seeing how many times you can bat it without it touching the ground. Beach balls are great to toss to each other, while trying to stay in the same spot. Playing keep away can be challenging sometimes depending on which room you play it in.
We make up games sometimes. Just the other day, we were sitting in the living room and somehow we started throwing a baseball hat trying to land it on the other person’s outstretched foot. Then we tried to land it on each others’ head. Note – the foot was easier. One time we were super bored and the kids ended up having “worm races”. They set a course and then each kid got into a sleeping bag and scooched and wiggled their way through the course. I think my daughter won – mostly because she kept going while the boys either quit or cheated. Before Christmas one year, we were making cut-out cookies and a flour fight ensued, ending in wide grins and laughter. There have been times when we all tried to stand on our heads. We played “Blinds Man’s Bluff” where one person is blindfolded and then tries to find other people to tag. My recommendation is that you remove any furniture that might be tripped over while playing (I suppose my daughter would have appreciated that part of BEFORE she was “It” – sorry Caitlin).
I think I get this goofy attitude from my mom. She threw potato pancakes around the room like a frisbee and chased the dog with a can of whipped cream, yelling, “Mad dog!” She had someone take a picture of us all wearing those plastic eyeglasses with the big noses and mustaches, so that she could show people our “family resemblance”. When my kids and I were visiting her once, we sat around the dinner table, shooting pieces of ice toward each other.
Life is too short to be serious all the time. Home and family should be a place to have fun and be goofy. It is a time of bonding over silliness. So grab a beach ball, move some furniture, make up some rules, and have FUN!