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Let There be Mess

July 11, 2012

      Are you wading through a room of toys?  If not there might be a problem.  I knew I had to re-share this post after I read the following information by Dannah Gresh in the book, “Six Ways to keep the “Little” in Your Girl.”  In it she states, “Time spent playing make-believe, dress-up and building things with sticks, twigs and blocks actually helps children develop a critical skill called executive function.  Executive function performs many different things in a human being, but one of them is to self regulate – or to appropriate moral behavior and values.  Kids today could use a little bit of self-control, but did you know they’d probably have better success in self-control if they got some good old-fashioned creative play back into their schedule?  So turn off the Leapfrog.  Back away from the Pixar computer games.  Take a break from too many piano and dance lessons.  Get a little old-fashioned playtime into your daughter’s schedule!  Be intentional about it and protect it.”

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      Don’t you just love the mess?  Tripping over toys as you make your way through a room, isn’t that a joy?  OK, I’ll admit a small path to the bathroom would be nice.

     As I walked into my lovely family room this morning, I had visions of sitting down and writing you an encouraging note in my finely decorated room.  What I met was Barbie land.  My coffee table is now a kitchen and the floor has been re-modeled into various doll sized rooms.  Oh the mess… or is it?

     Yes, Dear Mama, our children should learn to pick up after themselves.  We Mamas deserve a clean spot to sit and unwind and pursue OUR pleasures.  But there is another side to the mess.

     The childhood messes of today are the creativity and dreams for tomorrow.  My girls love to play doll house.  They will spend literally HOURS just dividing the items and setting up their rooms.  We have two doll houses but the interior of those houses have flowed over into the entire family room.  They create extravagant bedrooms and living rooms but also stores, schools and gardens.  They actually play doll “village”, not just doll house.  Quite often it takes them so long to set up their village, I do not have the heart to make them put it away.  Thus, I am Gulliver in the land of Lilliput for days at a time.  (Dear Mama, this may even help your creativity, Jonathan Swift may very well have been inspired by this very thing.)

     One of my teenage sons loves to play War Hammer, or should I say he loves to make all the men and terrain FOR War Hammer, he rarely plays.  Our back “Man Cave” is the biggest mess you ever saw.  The room that was created for my husband to relax in looks as if a bomb went off.  He is so immensely creative.  He makes water treatment plants from old bird feeders.  He makes blown out buildings, rocket gutted overpasses, and an incredibly life like volcano,  all from trash and found items.  And so he collects and stores all this trash in the “Man Cave.” 

     One of my daughters dreams of designing real rooms, and she is only 10.  My son’s painting and crafting skill has become amazing.  I feel that the skills and creativity that is growing inside our children when we allow them to play with actual toys is uncalculative.

     Today our children live in a texting, face booking, and virtual gaming world.  It is time for some mess.  It is time for some good old-fashioned, sitting on the floor and playing.  Let your family room evolve into the Battle of the Bulge, (and I don’t mean your own weight issues.)  Bring out those army men.  Leggos, Lincoln logs, plastic animals, art projects, coloring books and crayons and so much more.  Sit and play awhile.  When was the last time YOU made a Star Wars space cruiser?  Today it is time to play, it is summer after all.  If it’s a nice day, take it outside.  A zoo in your garden, complete with plastic animals and landscaping sure beats the computer variety.

     When we meet again, I hope you trip over some toys getting to the computer

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lucy permalink
    July 11, 2012 9:19 am

    OOOohhhh….I ~LOVE~ this post…it is my fave of ALL.
    Lucy (Mom to Margaret, LOL~)

  2. Jennifer permalink
    July 11, 2012 2:39 pm

    Fantastic post! Unstructured play time is important. 🙂

  3. jody hollis permalink
    July 17, 2012 1:18 pm

    Debbie you are the one who helped me to see when the great-grand-children come that they have my whole front room to put up their trains and leave them until the day they go back home. That is why they love to come. Jody

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