We did some cider mill hopping this weekend, which had us in the car for a decent amount of time. The last mill we visited was about 40 minutes away from our house. It was me and the four kids. Lorelei was at home, patiently waiting for a blueberry frosted.
Me and the big guy were in the front set, with a big and two littles in the back. I don’t know how it began, but before I knew it “99 Bottles of Coke on the Wall” was ringing from the rear…and they went for it.
At around “fifty bottles of coke on the wall” I realized I had never actually heard it sung all the way through. Our 12-year-old was covering himself up with his coat as the siblings chimed on. They were laughing hysterically with each round. I joined in, adding accents between the verses. We we’re all laughing at this point…even big brother under the coat in the front seat. It was fun. We were joyful, sharing positive emotions, finding meaning in our time together, strengthening our bonds with one another, and in doing so…enhancing our well-being.
Through the laughter and the silliness we made it to “zero bottle’s of Coke on the wall” and began cheering. One of the kids had the bright idea to continue with negative numbers. He was quickly shut down by the rest of us. He agreed that would be taking it too far. We rode the energy of our singing and some great laughter the rest of the way home.
It doesn’t take much. Being together and having fun is wonderful way to build connections, make memories and again, enhance well-being.
I remember when the kids were little and a new gift came home, they would tear into it and play for a while. Then, like clockwork, they would turn to the packaging for extended hours of creativity and engagement.
Kids get incredibly excited about sharing their imaginative play with us. They love showing us what they can build with boxes and string, and what incredible stories they can come up with about a cardboard city. Joy is generated from within. We simply need to make ourselves available to be shared with.
Last week was the STEAM fair at school. I was overjoyed to see so many families scattered around our cafeteria and gym creating structures and patterns from coffee filters, marshmallows and various other everyday household items. It was wonderful to watch kids make sense of their imagination with purpose and to hear them so excited about sharing the process, the purpose and the excitement with their families.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading, thinking, talking and writing about play lately. It seems that everywhere I turn some of the most deeply impactful moment are generated by play in some form. Whether we’re singing, laughing, drawing or building together, I continue to find the benefits of playful and exploration to generate among the most significantly impactful outcomes we can hope for.
Through this pandemic and beyond, I would continue to assert that engaging in creative play and joyful togetherness with our kids might be the most important thing we can do for their daily learning and growth, and for the promise of their longterm health and achievement.
Thank you for reading…in it together for the kids!
Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead.