Doodle, Dream, and the Dance of Co-Creation ~ 3 Stages to Unlocking the Gifts of Free Unstructured Play

0 Comments
Doodle, Dream, and the Dance of Co-Creation ~ 3 Stages to Unlocking the Gifts of Free Unstructured Play

“Drawing/doodling can help us to focus on the task at hand. Listening or reading with pencil in hand leads to a 29% better memory recall. Draw/doodling offsets the effects of ‘selective memory blockade’.” ~ Journal of Applied Psychology, February 2009 A few years ago, I was walking along the streets of Summerside, PEI, when I spontaneously began to make some funny noises with my mouth. The sounds were a combination of gibberish and rapping. As I allowed myself to explore and play with these sounds some more, I eventually sank into an eccentric and rhythmic beatbox that I thoroughly enjoyed! It was then that something unexpected happened. A thought appeared in my mind: This is doodling! This is what children do when then draw, except I am […]

Remembering Joy ~ Touching the Immeasurable Essence of Life

0 Comments
Remembering Joy ~ Touching the Immeasurable Essence of Life

The more you teach the measurable, the more children will feel like they can never measure up. Since our early years, we have been inculcated with that which is measurable. We have not been fully supported to gaze in wonder at a butterfly, and explore the feelings and insights it gives us. Instead, increasingly we’ve had to know about it – to understand what kind of butterfly it is, how/where it flies, and what it eats. Rational thought and knowledge has indeed surpassed the purity of wonder. Knowing about has usurped our ability and desire to just be with—to commune with our surroundings, to be present with life. With pressures from parents and schools, and influences from society as a whole, we have become gatherers of the information age, conquers of time and […]

Play is Training for the Real World

0 Comments
Play is Training for the Real World

What skills and attitudes are needed to live in the real world? “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” ~ Woody Allen When you look at the two paths expressed in the image above, what would you say are the skills needed to travel the path above versus below? How do we need to be? What attitudes are necessary? In considering the path below, I would guess one of the first skills or attitudes you thought of was flexibility. (I say this because when I ask my playshop participants the same question it seems to always be the first answer shared, not just by one person, but many, which I find personally interesting!). I would also guess that you might […]

Give People Something to Play With ~ Enrolling Others into the Spirit of Yes And

0 Comments
Give People Something to Play With ~ Enrolling Others into the Spirit of Yes And

The more you give people things to play with, the more they can give back to you, and the world! When you practice the Spirit of Yes And, you discover how easy it is to make people smile in the simplest ways. Their smile opens them up to their heart, and more fully allows them to give back. I was standing at a grocery checkout line waiting to purchase a whole pie for a potluck, when an elderly lady in front of me turned around and said, “That looks like a yummy pie!” I was happy! She was inviting me to play! “Yes it is,” I replied. “I plan to eat it all myself!” Grin! I passed the ball back to her. And then she smiled and laughed. I […]

How to Turn a Snake into a Sword ~ From Reasoning to Playing Along

0 Comments
How to Turn a Snake into a Sword ~ From Reasoning to Playing Along

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” ~Angela Schwindt A three-year-old girl was attempting to play with her older brothers who were messing around with swords. The mother didn’t know why she was bothering her brothers’ boyish fun, and was tempted to redirect her to something more suitable. In that moment, however, she caught herself. She went on to say, “Instead of reasoning, I met her in her world.” The daughter had a toy snake in her hand, and the mother moved next to her and suggested that maybe she could use it as a sword. She played along with her daughter’s imaginative impulses, and validated her in the process. Mom parked her […]

Go Outside and Play!

0 Comments
Go Outside and Play!

“Go outside and play!” said God. “I have given you Universes as fields to run free in! And here – take this and wrap yourself in it – It’s called LOVE and it will always, always keep you warm. And stars! The sun and the moon and the stars! Look upon these often, for they will remind you of your own light! And eyes… oh, gaze into the eyes of every Lover; gaze into the eyes of every other for they have given you their Universes as fields to run free in. There. I have given you everything you need. Now go, go, go outside and play!” “Go Outside and Play” – from Home Remembers Me: Medicine Poems from em claire ©em claire All Rights […]

Play ~ The Artful Dance of Living: Surrendering to Joy and Our Magical Universe

0 Comments
Play ~ The Artful Dance of Living: Surrendering to Joy and Our Magical Universe

“Children dance before they know there is anything that isn’t music.” ~ William Stafford The essence of play is an experience rooted in the present moment without attachment to specific outcomes. It is this moment that matters, and the experience of joy, wonder and imagination. That is why play is such a gift. Over and over again it brings us to the here and now, away from our discursive and troubled minds. Just a few moments of joyful interaction with another, or swinging on a swing set, or twirling around in our living room, can shift our energy, change our focus, and redirect our day down a road we would not have traveled otherwise. We temporarily let go of our plans, our agendas, our thoughts, […]

3 Places to Hide

0 Comments
3 Places to Hide

One of my favourite ways to play is to hide on others. Those closest to me know I like to disappear, and then suddenly jump out from behind a tree or from under a stairwell, and of course, joyously scare them! How fun!! Well, just in case you need a few more ideas, here are three places to hide that I particularly like. 1. In the Elevator                       My friend Ross spontaneously decided to play Hide and Seek with his boys in the elevator. To his delight, they played along, scurrying around, trying to find a hiding spot! One of my participants who I shared this story with decided to try this with her son. […]

This or That ~ A Simple Way to Play

0 Comments
This or That ~ A Simple Way to Play

What do you prefer? This or That? Bananas or Apples? Star Wars or Star Trek? Cats or Dogs? Movies or TV? This or That is a simple and engaging game that people of all ages love to play. One person says two related objects or topics of interest, and the other people say what their preference is. It’s that simple! Try it in the car with your son, at the dinner table with your family, or at the start of your meeting with your team. You will be surprised at how much it raises everyone’s spirit, how quickly you get to know one another, and how pleasantly addicting the game is! Variation: If you had to give up something, what would it be? Breakfast or […]

Doing For Versus Playing With ~ Balancing Responsibilities with Joyful Connection

0 Comments
Doing For Versus Playing With ~ Balancing Responsibilities with Joyful Connection

“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.” ~ Richard L. Evans   An interesting question to ask yourself is, How much did your parents play with you when you were a child? If you were one of the lucky ones, your parents played with you a lot. But for so many others, their parents were focused more on the responsibilities of being a parent than on being a playful companion. This the difference between doing for and playing with.  When we do for, we are less connected to the other, and more focused on an agenda in our minds such as driving our kids somewhere or cooking dinner. We are task oriented and in doing […]