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Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Why is it that playdates are rarely as creative and carefree as the one we had last weekend? *This* is what I thought it would be like to have kids and kid friends. We've only reached this lovely, harmonious place a few times — really, I can't even remember the last time. Is it an age thing? Are they finally old enough? Is it a micro-managed childhood thing? Should we be throwing them outside and locking them out to work it out on their own? Do I just have a difficult child, or two, or is it the company they choose? If I had time, I'd think and write more about this. Maybe it's the fact that play time has been reduced to playdates. What are your thoughts?

More photos over at flickr.


Anonymous Shannon said...

Love the photos. It looks like everyone is having fun. :) I hadn't thought about it before, but maybe you have something there with the fact that play has become playdates. I never had playdates when I was young... we just went outside and played. What happened to that?

Tue Feb 09, 03:27:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Jen said...

I want to come for a play date at your house! ;)
I think playdates are much more micro managed than play use to be long ago. I think it gets easier when they get a little older and you can trust that they will be safe and can work out the challenges that arise between friends and siblings. You've the set up that I dreamed of for my boys when they were small. I envy you! :)

Tue Feb 09, 04:12:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Nancy said...

I long for the world of running around outside with whatever random kids you found there. Fond memories that I wish I could pass along to my kids.

Tue Feb 09, 04:48:00 PM PST  
OpenID gerwerken said...

Some of my favorite memories from childhood are of running around in the woods with friends, completely unsupervised. We would be away for hours in swampy areas harboring snakes and alligators. Now I feel guilty if I let me kids play out of my sight, even inside my own home.

Tue Feb 09, 06:00:00 PM PST  
Blogger sj said...

because playtime has become play dates. the girls and i were *just* discussing this on the way home from day 20 minutes ago. i loathe play'dates' and love love love love love playtime!! it's so rich and free and open.

lets get together and play sometime sooner than later?

Tue Feb 09, 07:18:00 PM PST  
Blogger OldRound said...

Gorgeous photos. (I think it is an age thing.)

Wed Feb 10, 06:28:00 AM PST  
Blogger Sarah@Neoteric.Traditional said...

I think it is a combination of things, primarily age and where a family lives. When they're below a certain age, they just don't have the capacity to remember where's safe to go/not to go and could get lost in a wide area of wilderness. Then we have the issue of timing: naps, meals, toilet training, errands, older siblings, etc. So it becomes necessary to schedule a "date". As they get older, naps are out and they can get themselves to the toilet, those 2 things right there open up a world of possibilities! HAHA! Then it just depends on the area you live in - how many kids are around and how far are they. I think when we were *little* we didn't really play with kids outside the family, but just remember the time from when we were old enough to begin roaming a bit.
From my observations, I'm not sure a kid has the full set of tools to handle conflict with a friend until they're 8 or so, and even then it can be hard. I try to wait it out but usually get called in to intervene with my eldest who's 6. I do look forward to the roaming age though, but at the moment there are only 7 out of 150 houses in my neighborhood with kids 2yrs to grade 1.

Thu Feb 11, 10:34:00 AM PST  
Blogger Tina said...

Kids today have less free time and less play time then ever in history. When most kids have 3 or 4 after school activities plus some sort of homework (even in kindergarten!) then fun has to be scheduled. The only problem is, is your child really in the mood to play with others on that scheduled time?

I try to let my daughter play without her realizing that I am watching her every move, but it is hard. There are so many what if's out there. I remember running wild through the neighborhood as a kid, but I doubt I will ever feel like that is a safe option for my daughter, no matter where we live.

So, we schedule get togethers, plan meetings at playgrounds, libraries, and other peoples houses. The good/ bad part is, our kids don't even know what they are missing...

Tue Feb 16, 07:08:00 PM PST  
Blogger Amity said...

Sometimes I think it is the city park. Many of the parks are death spots for playdates. Take them to the arboretum or to pogonip or a city park that has some vegetation that does not get manicured and the playing goes so much better. I think they have more fun when they can feel like a tribe together, and who feels that at the playgound?

Tue Feb 16, 10:26:00 PM PST  
Blogger backhomeagain said...

Being a mom of advance maternal age, I never remember a time when my mom scheduled a "play date". Although, I do remember her getting together with her friends for coffee clutches and we kids would play outside. I struggle with this with my own children. I dread those silly play dates and hope they become a thing of the past. Great post!

Sun Feb 21, 07:11:00 AM PST  
Blogger Amma Brown said...

ah! that picture with the dog and the sheep looking back like they're saying "hey! catch up!" is adorable. It gave me to urge to frolic outside. Except I will be frolicking in snow.

Sun Feb 21, 02:44:00 PM PST  
Blogger Angelina said...

My kid has a pretty close group of friends he likes to spend time with but he is a challenging person to be friends with so even at 9 years old I find I have to play referee a lot. I have had the experience of seeing a great playtime and wish it could be like that all the time too but those magic times have a schedule of their own and can't seem to be orchestrated on purpose.

Sat Feb 27, 12:02:00 PM PST  
Blogger Dorie said...

all is know is that a goat and a dog must make it more awesome. I think the people--kids and adults--have a lot to do with it. Send them out!

Sun Feb 28, 07:23:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

I was sad to read Tina's comment, "less free time and less play time than ever in history" but it's true. I'm 50 and we did not have play dates. It's a different world though today.... My children had play dates because we lived in a busy city and besides that, all their friends had schedules. I'm a strong believer in free play. There are things that children need to learn on their own, unsupervised (within reason) One of my daughters favorite fantasy games with her friends was something they made up, called Lost Girls, in which, for some reason the parents were dead and they had to fend on their own...Go figure!!!

Mon Mar 08, 07:01:00 PM PST  
Blogger Jenifer said...

We had a "playdate" today... I've noticed that more of my friends with kids live on the opposite side of our metro area, and for those of us that use public transit as much as possible, it works out far better to say "around 11" on such and such day as opposed to just showing up. I wish we could just show up... also with younger ones, coordination of naptimes is very important - if you want them to share! :)

Thu Mar 11, 05:44:00 PM PST  

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