(I tried to make the most fun image of the word “fun” ever. This makes me happy.)
Is your life fun?
Melisa continued to say, “It took me many years of walking through some ick for me to realize that I had to find the contentment and joy within the ick so I could find my fun, but I can safely and confidently say that having fun is where it is at.”
This got the wheels in my head turning.
I had a fitness article published on Simple Homeschool last week and I was blown away by the positive comments. I’m always a little nervous when I write an article (or even a blog post) but I really believed in what I wrote so I submitted it. I am happy I did. Reading and responding to the comments reminded me of how much Fun – with a capital F – we have in our activities together, especially the physical ones. And finding fun in our days often begins and ends with my energy level which is why I loved writing this article. I was a joy to be around this morning after my training session. I sing more. I smile more. I laugh more. I speak gently. I’m more patient. I am open to FUN.
Just the other day, during #3’s lesson on shelters, we played a game that the “People of the Ice and Snow” play in the far North. They have races on their knees: knee walking races. These races were a great warm-up for my own training session.
This set the morning off right! They were rolling around on the floor laughing with each other and overall, they were in better spirits throughout the day. So of course, we open the next day with another game brought to us by the “People of the Ice and Snow”: toe jumping. You squat down and hold on to your toes and jump as far forward as you can. You can also play with a partner where you are side by side and hold your partner’s inside toes with your inside hand. Take a moment to imagine. So. much. fun. There are no pictures of the toe jumping contest because I was fully participating and falling over. But let me tell you, it is more easier for littles than the big people. (These games and other great lesson ideas are found in the “Native Americans” block I used from the Christopherus Grade 3 curriculum package.)
We also had a morning of animal charades after circle time. In our morning circle, I told #4 and #5 a story I had made up about a beaver trying to find a friend in the forest during winter. They had to guess the animal friend that he met through my actions and my sounds. This prompted a game of “Guess The Animal.” Everyone took turns acting out animals – we started with woodland folk, then we moved on to sea creatures, then jungle/desert animals, and finally fantasy creatures (which were really tough). At first #4 and #5 were the only ones in morning circle but soon the big ones crept in wanting to play our game of charades. Again, loads of fun. And after this hilarity (you should really see #5’s depiction of a monkey unicorn), the big ones were more than excited for their own lessons and #4 and #5 kept pretending to be animals on their own and ended up drawing some.
I’ve adapted circle time to meet the changing needs of my kiddos. Before they loved the songs and verses and while they still do, they are now more interested in moving and games. I tried to recite some verses and finger plays from a couple of years ago which turned into a disaster. I didn’t have toddlers and preschoolers anymore. (Hold on, I need to brush away the tear.) I had to stop forcing it and accept that they have grown up and the fun factors have changed.
There are days when that other f-word rules my mood. We’ve all been there. We stress about insert grown-up responsibility here. We are tired and exhausted. We are impatient with our children. The days where life feels heavy and serious. When my oldest left us for a bit, I felt like I had a ton of weight on my shoulders. Life seemed daunting and emotion-full. The world can seem scary and dark. I find myself asking: “Am I the one that’s crazy? Or am I the only sane one left in this world?” How can I have fun when there is so much to worry about???
Then this happens:
#5: Mama, do you have a baby in your belly?
Me (With a very sarcastic tone): Um, no, but thanks for asking. Thanks a lot.
#1: Mom’s stomach isn’t that big. It’s just loose skin scrunched up and stretch marks!
Me: Um, again, thank you.
#5: Ok fine. You have a mini-baby then and I have baby nipples.
Cue the dying with laughter moment.
That’s it. Tension broken. We laugh. We wrestle. We tickle. We chase each other. Fun is found. I don’t play with the kids all day long. They find fun amongst themselves and are able to entertain each other. But there are times when it feels good to be a kid again alongside them.
I have fun on my own too. On a recent trip to NYC, I was able to have these tiny bits of fun all by my lonesome:
While on a walk, I spotted this sign for the cafe called “Smile To Go.” So of course, I had to walk in and order a coffee and a smile to go. Imagine that: if we ordered smiles for pick-up, for delivery, or from a menu at a fancy restaurant. I guarantee the world would be less crabbier. Fun, Fun. And by the way, I DID get my smile to go 🙂
I found this Little Free Library in a church courtyard. I had seen tons around our city that looked like these ones. But this one just made me smile. I went to take a peek inside and there were rows of books lined all around. How fun it must have looked to the passerby to watch my legs spin around inside it as I perused the books! Fun!
I would take early morning walks while the streets were empty. We went in January and the streets were lined with discarded Christmas trees. I would walk down these streets closing my eyes and smell. It was the coolest thing. It smelled as if I were in a pine forest yet when I opened my eyes I was in one of the biggest urban centres in the world. It was a fantastic play on the senses. That was fun.
Here is a picture inside the Marimekko store in NYC…this one is for you, B…:
Oooh la la. How much fun did I have perusing this store? Um, a smidge. I knew full well that I wasn’t going to buy anything but I was really surprised that I wasn’t disappointed or the least bit depressed about it as I fondled the fabrics. (Yes, I touched EVERY fabric.) They weren’t busy. The sales person was more than willing to provide information on all the fabrics. I did provide a disclaimer that I wasn’t in the position to purchase anything but she didn’t care about that. What!? Really!? I was honest. I told her that I am a big fan of the Marimekko and wanted to just look and feel. She gladly obliged and pulled out all her favourite bolts and unravelled them to show me the repeat and talk about the story behind some of the designs. Fun. (And faith in humanity is restored.)
Little random bits of fun that I find are more about embracing an attitude than engaging in specific activities. Noticing little things without being jaded is key to finding these bits and saving your sense of humour.
Fun usually happens when I least expect it. Fun happens when I let go and focus on the now and embrace the silly. Fun happens when it’s balanced with disciplined work and reflective moments. Fun happens when we move our bodies. Fun happens when I get down on my knees and crawl around. Fun is sometimes big and sometimes small. Fun is when I play for real. Fun is laughing when I shouldn’t and when I am crying because I’m laughing.
Fun happens where I let it in.
And in case you were wondering, this is what a monkey unicorn looks like:
And a big thank you goes out to family and friends who I have had fun with and at the expense of 😉 You know who you are. Thank you for all those times you made me pee in my pants – because of laughing. Mostly.
When was the last time you had fun? What did you do? Do you need more fun in your life?