Sunday, April 21, 2013

Making, and Playing, and Kids... Oh my!

This past Saturday was really fun, getting to hang out with the kids and watch what they created. I've been trying to process it all and think about themes or even case studies that stood out to me. For now- I'll make a list.

- It was interesting to me how every kid seemed to undergo a different process to create. I noticed that some of our friends found items arbitrarily and collected them solely based (at least it seems to me) on aesthetic value, texture, or function. After they collected their items they decided what they would make. There were others who found a couple of objects as inspiration for what to make, and went ahead and started their creation rather than collect all of their materials first. They would create, then go back to the table for more supplies, go back and keep working, etc.

- It was interesting that to me one of our friends made things solely for others at the start. The first 2-3 items she made were for someone else, not for herself.

- Some of the kids made things that have usefulness in a normative sense (a scale, a doll, a dollhouse, a puppet), and others who made more imaginative creations (a rain maker, a roller coaster, a bed). 

- Every single kid made something different to start. Only after one friend made a rain stick did then others copy her. But even still, everyone made something original.

- Few kids asked for help in coming up with something to create; in fact, no one that I know of asked for help. One friend got help because he didn't seem to be making anything, but overall I saw and heard no kid ask what should I make? Rather, all of the help asked for was more for practical help- like cutting this or holding that. 

I'm sure there is so much more that I could talk about, but for now, these are the things that really stood out to me.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Playing Fate

So, I'm posting late. ARG! I have a good reason though- I spent the past three days in Las Vegas with my husband! I had never been to Vegas, and Justin had a conference, so it was a good excuse to go.

Monday was his birthday, so it was really nice to be together. We walked the strip, which was beautiful and horrific all at the same time. I felt very conflicted the whole time we were there. On the one hand, you have some beautiful buildings, interesting architecture, and people (like us) who gamble purely for entertainment, and therefore know when to stop. But then, on the other hand, you have men peddling pictures of half-naked women who more than likely aren't in the business because they want to be, homeless people who have nothing, and people who are gambling their lives away, all in hope of hitting that one jackpot. It's a really difficult position to be in. I wasn't sure how to feel, or if I could/should enjoy myself? It made me think a lot about our discussions about how one person's "play" can be so detrimental to another person- and is that then really play?

However, I did enjoy playing the penny slots. I won nothing, but only lost $10. Overall, I did enjoy being with my husband and seeing a new city.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Celebrations and Play

This past weekend was filled with gathering surrounding celebrations and traditions. It all started on Friday. Our church, Redeemer Community Church, held a Good Friday service. It was somber, yet beautiful, remembering the death of Jesus. I sang and read Scripture. While this wasn't really play, I did enjoy the service, as it made me remember and ponder my faith.

After the service, we had a birthday party for my good friend Erin at the Irish Lion. We had such fun laughing and celebrating her. This is how I typically think of play- eating good food, drinking good beer, and socializing with friends.

On Saturday, we had a lingerie shower for my friend Emily, who is getting married in May. I was one of the hostesses, so I spent most of the morning baking and decorating. The shower was a great success- lots of people came, Emily got some great gifts ;), and the food was delicious. Again, this fits with my typical view of play.

On Sunday, we had our Easter gathering at church. I run our kids ministry, and we had 40 kids- we normally have about 20 kids. While it was a bit stressful, it was also really fun. After church, we had a pitch-in lunch. Again, this fit in to my traditional view of play.

I guess what I loved about this weekend was how many rhetorics of play I experienced (not sure if that's the correct word). Each experience had seemed to have elements of play that were shared, and other elements of play that were unique to that particular experience. It's amazing how this semester has broadened my view of play and made me think about how so much of life is play, if you view it that way.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Anxious Play

This past Saturday I went to the Little 500 Qualifying Races. My husband coaches a team, the Christian Student Fellowship Men's team. The weather was beautiful, and the excitement at the track is contagious.

I started the day cheering on my friend Kath, who rides for Theta's team. She's an INCREDIBLE athlete, and an amazing cyclist. I had so much fun watching her compete, but I also felt a lot of nervousness and anxiety while she was actually racing. Especially when they have to do those exchanges! AH! So terrifying!!! But, despite the anxiety, I really had a blast.

Later, watching Justin's team compete, I felt anxious not just for the boys but also for Justin. I know how much they have trained and how hard they have worked, and I was so nervous that they wouldn't do well.

This made me think about anxiety, worry, nerves, anticipation, and play. I felt like I had a playful experience on Saturday, as well as enjoying the day, but I also felt quite a bit of anxiety. Throughout the day I used the word stressed, but I'm not quite sure that's what I was feeling. It might just be semantics, but it seems to me that there's a difference between feeling anxious and nervous and stressed. I don't know that I can think of a situation where I felt stressed and also felt like I was playing. I did, however, on Saturday feel like I was playing even though I felt anxious. Interesting, and something to think more on.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013



Failure... leads to Insight?

So I'm a failure- I failed to bring home my embodied player this week!!! I left it in the cupboard in our classroom. I feel like such a loser- I was excited to take pictures of my player with me during Spring Break. Also, I like to follow the rules, and since the "rule" was to write a blog after Spring Break about our times with our embodied players, I felt rather badly about forgetting my player.

Levi, Krystal, Seth, Leah, and Me
However, as I started to think about Spring Break, and who I would like to be as a player, I thought of my sweet friend Leah. Leah is 8 years old, in third grade, and practically perfect in every way. She's my best friend Krystal's daughter, and I really love her. While I also sincerely enjoy and love both of Krystal's other kids (Seth and Levi), there's something special about Leah and I's friendship.

This past week I went to the Children's Museum in Indianapolis with the Jones kids and Krystal, and we had a blast! I had never been, at least not to my recollection, and I was really excited to go. It was everything I hoped for and more! We saw basically all of the exhibits, and of course, took lots of fun pictures.

Thinking about who I would want to be as a player made me think of Leah, because Leah is wonderful when it comes to play. She's incredibly kind, and while very shy at first, once she opens up she is quite the talker. She's really fun to be around and to play with, as she loves to have fun, laugh, and go with the flow. Throughout the day, despite having seen these exhibits before, she still took it all in as though it was the first time. There were multiple times when her brothers wouldn't want to do something because they had done it before, but Leah would take every chance to do anything offered at the museum, whether it was a craft, digging for dinosaur bones, or playing dress up.
Leah digging for bones

More than anything, Leah doesn't let anything stand in her way of play. She has fun no matter what she is doing. Even if it's something she's done a million times, she makes it fun somehow. She's not inhibited the way so many of us "old folks" are.

Leah playing dress up with scuba gear

Leah striking a pose in Egypt

Leah and Krystal- "Walk like an Egyptian"

Leah in Egypt.
Leah and I

After the Children's Museum, the girls went to Trader Joe's, our absolutely most favorite grocery store ever. While we were in the store a song came on, to which Leah said, "That's our school song! We dance to it every Friday!" So, I asked her to show me the dance. Without hardly blinking an eye, in the middle of the grocery store, she starts dancing. I LOVE THAT! While I generally have few inhibitions, I love that she didn't even seem to think about the cultural norm of how to act in a grocery store. Before long, Krystal and I were both dancing with Leah, and all of us were laughing hysterically. The great thing is that everyone else in the store that we saw laughed with us, and seemed to love that we were having such a great time.

So, to sum up this post, I want to be more like Leah. I want to be uninhibited with my play- to enjoy it fully no matter the situation.