Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Psychology of Play

I am not ashamed to say that I have had moments of pure despair amidst what one might construe as 'playtime'. I know, reading some of my co-blogging mummies that I am not alone. This in essence is the reason for setting up this blog, to find interesting ways to entertain... well myself while taking care of the kids!
With this in mind, an article by Sally Brampton in this month's Psychologies magazine caught my attention. She cited psychologist Brian Sutton Smith, in saying that "The opposite of play is not work, it it depression".
So immersing oneself in playtime is a good thing, but how to cure the boredom? It occured to me that I should look at things that I enjoy doing myself, and try to find a way to incorporate the kids. After all, didn't our mothers always tell us: only boring people get bored?
As a result we have had a pretty interesting day! I have introduced the kids, via the medium of air band (think air guitar - amplified x4 into whole band) to a firm childhood favourite - Chris Rea. Track six on the Auberge album (stay with me) is called Red Shoes and in the opening bars it includes: a tuba, an electric guitar, drums and a trumpet. Now there's 3 minutes 54 seconds of pure pleasure right there, especially as the kids interpret a tuba by blowing raspberries. I know this example is a bit obscure but please feel free to interpret it as you wish. In fact The Daddy not ten minutes ago suggested S Club 7 with gusto.
Following that we did a moderate canter on Galahad and Silverback (imaginary horses) around the ancient walls of our beautiful city of Chester at sundown, marvelling at the shadows we made. This later turned into a crab race - don't ask me how.
So it seems, if you're game for it, play really does go in its own direction. Trouble is, I'm not always game for it. Sometimes I just want a cup of tea and a biscuit.
The problem is that I feel responsible for the playing. Then the other day, I had a lightbulb moment! Perhaps I should let the Little People take charge. Not having such a great understanding of the world, they do tend to come up with some inventive rationalisations of things. We passed a lorry carrying wood and I asked The Boy where he thought they were going. He thought for a while then decided that someone's house was going to get blown down and the wood was going to rebuild it; the Three Little Pigs, schema being stronger at his age than the laws of construction.
So with this kind of vivid imagination, who knows where playtime might end up.
All that said, I'm also coming to terms with having some 'me time' when I'm with the kids. How unnatural would it be to have someone entertaining you 24/7? That's what the Internet's for!
Speaking of which I'll pop my favourite kids sites up next time.