Freerange Friday: the practice of play!
By Lilly Lewin —- This has been one of those weeks where the worries and cares of the world have pushed in and stolen my joy. If you are familiar with the Enneagram personality numbers, I am a 7: Think Mary Poppins and Tinker Bell or Peter Pan, always ready for an adventure and fun and avoiding pain and suffering at all costs! Thanks to the news and social media, I couldn’t escape the tragedies of shootings and fires and children being killed in their kindergarten.
With so much pain and suffering happening around the world and in the lives of people we know and love, our joy and peace can easily be stolen away. For Freerange Friday today, I would like to give us all permission to have some fun this week! We need to recapture the freedom and joy of innocent children and allow Jesus to love us as we seek to play and have fun. Jesus invited the children to come hang out with him, despite his follower’s objections. Jesus stood a child in their midst and said that we all must be like little children in order to receive the Kingdom.
So what makes you feel like a kid? What brings that sparkle of joy and mischief into your eyes?
How do you have fun? How did you have fun as child?
When was the last time you felt the freedom and joy of playing or laughed out loud with abandon?
For children, play is a serious business. Play is how children learn. Researchers are warning that we are corrupting the flow of learning by sitting younger and younger children in front of screens. In fact, we are now calling the generation from zero to 13 “screeners.”
I want to invite us this week to take time away from screens and rediscover PLAY and FUN.
I believe PLAY is holy and an act of worship. I believe that God is playful and created fun. One cannot look at the abundance of colors in nature, the beauty of a sunset or the creativity of the animals not to get God’s playful side. Giraffes, hippos, frogs in bright colors, monkeys that howl, laughing hyenas, whales with horns…. just to name a few!
So your mission is to embrace you inner five year old or that hidden eight year old!
What things made your much younger self smile? What did you do for fun?
What things do you wish you had done more of as a kid?
What things do you “put off” or not allow yourself to indulge in because you are a “grown up”?
Look through the list and circle a few to try. Add your own ideas!
I believe play and fun need to be a spiritual practice.
So let’s practice! I have outside and inside things to do.
Like all practices we need to be intentional and pay attention as we engage them.
What do you notice about yourself as you play?
Imagine Jesus sitting across from you or playing along side you in your activity.
See Jesus smile and feel his love shining through his eyes towards you!
Try something on your own and then invite others to play too! You might try this as a small group or with your community. Maybe you have kids at home who can help you play and have fun! As a mom I had to be reminded to stop and play because often I got too busy with the tasks of life to stop and play with my boys. The dishes and laundry will wait! The emails will be there tomorrow, so will facebook! Make an appointment to have fun!
Things to help you play and have fun:
Go to a bookstore or the library and read books in the children’s section
Buy your favorite ice cream at the store or go to an ice cream shop and get a cone!
Stop at a drive through a buy a milkshake or make one at home!
Go to a toy store and look around.
Give yourself permission to play with the toys!
Ride a Bike
Skip rocks on a pond or lake
Swing on a swing
Investigate a stream, pond or even a puddle!
Jump in the puddles and get wet!
Go swimming or play in the water
Walk barefoot in the grass
Lay down in the grass and watch the clouds or look at the stars
Build a fort with blankets in the living room
Read with a flashlight under the covers!
Fly a kite
Hit a tennis ball or shoot hoops
Search for frogs or fireflies
Get some sidewalk chalk and draw on the sidewalk
Find some crayons and color for fun
Create a collage with magazine pictures
Make some playdough or get some clay and make snakes or other creatures just for the fun of squishing them!
Get a joke book and read them outloud!
Find some friends and play kickball or kick the can or some other outdoor games from your childhood.
Go to a museum and go to the children’s section and do the activities.
Find a friend and play cards or checkers or a board game for fun not to win!
I’d love to hear what is on your FUN PLAY list and what you try!
Let’s make fun and play a practice in the days and weeks ahead. And watch God smile!