Today I heard a statement that annoyed the crap out of me.

“This area needs a kick arse park where we can sip our latte’s…blah blah blah blah”

Why did it annoy me? Because it was the tune of an entitled, unsatisfied, ungrateful and unimaginative parent of today’s disconnection with what really matters in life.

Are you serious??

She would rather use up her petrol going out-of-town so that her precious mites can play on equipment while she gets to sip her latte while checking her social media on her phone….and yes, she complained that she has to use soooooo much petrol just to get to a kick arse park where the community can grow and be wonderful.

Oh dear, poor us with our below average parks that are right near our beaches and stunning trees but at least they are close to cafe’s where latte’s can be purchased. Oh dear, we are so under privileged with our third world parks that we are missing out on families being able to build community. Gosh, what ever are we to do????

Lets face it, the only way that community is going to be built is if the council get serious about building a kick arse park where latte’s are on tap. Oh and of course how dare the council waste money on art projects that have no worth when that money could have gone to the real needs of the community……on a kick arse park with readily available latte’s.

Oh and by the way, this is the unacceptable park that can never be kick arse in a world where people think that everything should be done for them.

As for me, this is more than kick arse……this is paradise.

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Go Play

About two years ago I was sitting in our new church building

and I believe this is what God told me;

That the church was like a tree-house and the land was his. That he was my Heavenly Father and I was to go and play.

At the time I thought “aww that’s nice” but I did not recognize the significance of this until just recently. For the past year I have been dealing with depression due to many stresses of life  that have had me feeling like there was no hope and nothing will ever change in our lives. Praise God that for the past six months I’ve been coming out of it with an abundance of joy!!

So what happened???? I went to the Doctor and got some happy pills 🙂

Not just that alone, as I still had my faith in spite of feeling lost, one of the scriptures that kept me going was this Habakkuk 3:17  I posted it on our fridge to remind me that everything will be okay.

The other thing that has helped, has been my garden adventures. I have never felt so creative in all of my life and I am having the best fun ever. God showed me that the first dwelling place that he made for humans was a garden. It came as such a revelation as I continued to enjoy the space at the community garden. Being out in nature in the sunshine with other people is so good for emotional well-being that I totally recommend anyone who is suffering depression to just go and be a part of a community garden, even if you just sit for a while.

So I sat for a while and then I started to get creative, here are some of my adventures

What have I been up to??

I have been playing.

This then brings me back to my vision that I had nearly two years ago when God told me to go  play!!!!

I have and through this experience I am learning what being childlike is all about. I am learning that as adults we can still play and the things that get us down in this world should not be taking so much of our valuable time. I am learning that God really does desire to be our Heavenly Father. I am learning to receive and not be so stoic in life. I am learning to just be me.

I Think I’ve got a Butterfly Theme Going on Here!!

I’m just a bit excited and feel like I’m a kid ready to play and have fun. Last Monday I went op shopping and found myself some pretty delightful bargains!!

I picked up this butterfly dress for $7.50

I couldn’t resist wearing it the other day, on a frightfully rainy come windy kind of stormy day. I felt like a butterfly flitting from place to place.

One of the other items that I was able to purchase is a mosquito net for the gorgeous price of $5.  I was instantly thinking that it would make the best butterfly palace ever!!!! So I hung it on my clothes line and road tested it at home

Now that is nice and so delightfully serene. Forget some exotic location to bring some tranquillity, just get yourself a mozzy net and you’ll be fine.

The next step was to take my net to the garden for yet another road test

Now that looks fantastic and I can’t wait to set up the butterfly palace for the kids at the community garden…….. Sometimes I think that the kids are just an excuse to me to experiment and play.

So the next thing to do is make some butterfly wings and make up a story and in the meantime lets sing this classic song

Inspired by Christo

For the past couple of weeks I have been getting my art on at my local community garden and it’s been a very awesome and pleasant experience. Traditionally I am a painter who likes to takes photo’s on my iphone and have never seen myself as a sculptural kind of girl. At art school I flat-out did not do well at sculpture and was always uninspired to produce in the 3D realm.

Although sculpture has never been my forte I have always had a soft spot for installation art, in particular Cristo. Wrapping stuff up in material just makes me visually excited for some reason. So as I have been letting the creativity juices flow in the garden my inspiration has led me to create installation pieces from things found there.

One day I spent a pleasant afternoon creating trees form newspaper and sticks and it felt very liberating. There was a slight breeze that day and the movement of the paper was delightful to watch.

When the kids arrived after school we made some variations of the fake trees and they became like fake fire twirling things. I know I had an awesomely great time swinging the sticks around!!!! It felt like I was venting out my frustrations!!

My son is using this makeshift whip for a crane

Anyway I now have many more ideas that I would like to do at the garden, like create a river cascading down the hill. This is where I suddenly think of Christo and find myself amazed that I’m thinking about creating installation art. In fact, I find it like a new adventure and the garden is my canvas and I can’t wait to just play.

Caine’s Arcade…..An inspiring story!!

This little film brought me to tears.

It’s about 11 minutes of your life well spent as you view a young boy’s imagination and ability to play. He has an awesome dad who just allows his son to use objects with no monetary value to create an innovative cardboard arcade!!!

Caine is the kid who will never be bored in life. Caine is the person who will overcome disappointments and will find ways to overcome tricky situations. Caine is a genius as the film-maker states.

Why did this bring me to tears?

Because it is a welcome relief from the consumerism that is blastered at parents that says “children must have this!!” For goodness sake the kid is using cardboard boxes and things that would otherwise be discarded as worth nothing!!!

It is also a wonderful to see this dad  give his son the opportunity to create and not just state it as rubbish.  It also impressed me, how when Caine asked for a claw machine his dad replies “Just make one”.

As a result, Caine uses his brain and makes one!!!!!!

A breakthrough with play!!

This afternoon I feel as though I have had a breakthrough with my son. Usually when he comes home from school the first thing that he wants to do is play either the X box, PSP, or my iphone. I’ve really been thinking what can I do to get him to play meaningfully just like what I have been learning about through my course. I’ve never had an issue with getting other children to play along where I have facilitated a play/craft activity, however, when it comes to my son who has VCFS It seems to be a bit of a challenge.

It sometimes grieves me that he is not like other kids but nevertheless he’s my precious son and I love him and I am certain he can learn to play too. This afternoon we were out in the back yard and I suddenly got inspired  to mark out the shadows on the concrete with some chalk, but then my son said “can you make a road?” the next thing he is getting me to draw our Mazda, an electric train, a cruise boat, the lake, the harbor and all the things that have meaning to him and it went on and on. He even wanted me to draw Curtin university lol!!! He is so interested in my Studies!!

He then started talking about his memories of being on a cruise that was kindly donated to us by Kidswish, recited a book about a little toy boat lost on the lake. It was so exciting for me. Then we went inside and he saw his cars and I suggested that he use them on his road where  he played  outside unsupervised for at least half an hour!!!! The use of language is awesome and exquisite. The concentration and in-depth play was  unbelievable!! Yes he can play and I knew he had it in him but I also knew that I had to do more to release him into it as he does lack some self motivation.

I feel that if I want to be an extraordinary educator  for other children, then I need to dig deeper and be that for my son too. It was a great afternoon and I feel like much was accomplished!!!

Pretend play

This is my son doing pretend play

I know that it may not seem all that remarkable to some

but to me it is awesome!!!

Awesome because finally my Son is starting to use his imagination

in a more, in depth way.

In our culture we view pretend play as important

other cultures view exploring the land and learning how to track footprints as important.

For so long I viewed pretend play as the ultimate way to play

but as I learn more about how different children play  it has opened my eyes

to see that whatever play my son does

whether it is pretend, repetitive,  kicking balls, or imitating his non verbal friend

it is all awesome and no lesson is escaping him

as he continues in a state of play.

You can’t see it very well but the above image is of my son

playing is his cardboard box train that  I made for him.

And below is my Son pretending to be a fisherman!!!!

Reading the evidence on play!!!…..I knew I wasn’t talking out of my bum!!!!!

One of my subjects that I am studying is called pedagogy and play and as a part of the subject I’ve been required to do lots of reading on the subject of play. It’s so exciting to me that after all these years of having strong opinions about play there is actually evidence that supports my views.

I’ve always had the belief that play stops way too soon in life and that is not recognized as a healthy part of being human. I’ve seen a growing trend these days for children younger then preschool age being taught academic skills as the marketing machine attempts to put pressure on parents for their child to perform.

This saddens me, as so much is learnt through the process of play and it’s where the child is in control and a love for learning can be cultivated. Play promote’s  innovation, creativity, exploration and curiosity and all these things are ingredience for effective learning.

When children play imagination games and partake in story telling then this is the beginnings of literacy. When children play, they learn problem solving skills which helps a lot when it comes to numeracy.

Too often these days play is underestimated and regarded as unimportant. So many unrealistic pressures are being put on children to perform and please tell me, when did academic success become the most important thing in life? Don’t get me wrong academic success is a good thing to achieve and should be encouraged but I’m urging all that we take a balanced approach.

I feel that if we lose our playtime that unnecessary stress will be suffered as children try to keep up with unrealistic expectations. Why do we expect children to be good at everything?  Are you good at everything? Yes numeracy and literacy are important and should be held in high regard but not at the sacrifice of play and other creative subjects.

Much discussion has been made over the NAPLAN  test and concerns that have been expressed are, the risk of schools narrowing their curriculum just to get the top scores and as a result classes that have to do with creative arts and  sciences get less attention.

If I was at school today, how would I fair? I am that creative kid who liked/likes to paint. I was that kid who knew all the songs on the radio and had an awesome knowledge about all the rock stars. As my late mum would say “If only you knew your times tables like you know the top 10 on Countdown” I was that kid who would look strange to the niehbours as I carried a Frisbee around pretending it was a steering wheel. What would happen if I was not allowed to be that kid who had the freedom to imagine, be creative, laugh and make pretend cakes? What would happen if  massive pressure was put on me to perform and be something that I am not?

I advocate, let the children play!!!!

Here is an interesting lecture about play is more than fun it goes for nearly half an hour so only watch it if you have the time and desire.

A passion for play!!

Why do we stop playing? Is play just for children, or are we meant to continue it into adulthood? I’m asking these questions as I’ve been doing  a lot of reading about it for uni.

This morning I was thinking about what it’s like to be an artist and why young children consider themselves as an artist, yet as they get older they cease to think this way.

I see art as a form of play and a place for experimenting and expression. In order to become a good artist you first need to learn how to play with paint or whatever art medium you so choose to express.

Many people struggle to come to terms with art that they can not understand, so therefore bag it out. I just wonder when does this critical thinking come in? Is it the same thinking of  when a child  get’s to a certain age that they must act in a certain way that is fitting to society.

As my son’s imagination has kicked in, I’ve found that we have been having lots of fun playing together. To me this is very stimulating and it makes me want to be a kid again. I always joke around and say that the world has a collective stick up its bum and I mean it.

Life gets to serious and we all need to learn how to play!!! As you watch this commercial, be honest you want to dive in the ball pit too!!!!