Hey – Get off the internet and go play with your kids!

It may sound bossy, but I mean it – go play with your kids!

(if you are keeping count, this is day 3 of the finding joy in motherhood 31 day series.)

I promise you will get more JOY out of playing whole-heartedly with your kids than you will EVER get by reading my blog.

Still here?

I assume that means your kids are asleep or in school.

Because if they are awake and nearby, I was serious.

go outside and play with your kids

Go play with your kids.

Why?  Remember yesterday when we defined Joy and Happiness?

Happiness includes a pleasurable or satisfying experience.

Joy includes a state of happiness, bliss, and felicity (giggle).

Playing with your kids can make that happen.

Go play with your kids.

Playing with my kids hasn’t always come naturally to me.

When they were two and three, I wasn’t always thrilled with playing “trains” with my boys.  But I did.

Go play trains.

Go play trains. Make the chuff chuff sound.

Train obsession started early in our home.  GoGo was not even walking yet!  His “big” brother still in diapers.

But they loved it.

I learned to sit on the floor and chuff the trains around the circular track.

I learned to tickle them by making the train chuff up their arms or legs.
Legos, Wiggles and Blocks - Just go play!I calmly allowed their primary colored “boy toy” stuff into the main room of our house. A room previously decorated in a subtile palette of natural colors.

If you’re wondering how Watty managed to stack the blocks that high, he didn’t.  He was busy watching the Wiggles while I stacked the blocks.

I stepped back to take a photo and he pushed them down…

…all over the train table (see that track layout? I built that too) and all over his little brother’s head.


Inevitably, our play time ended with me on the bottom of a pile of boy love.  They would squirm all over me trying to hug me and kiss me and tickle me.

At some point, we’d move from the floor to the couch.  The tickles and squirms would settle into cuddles.  And bliss would happen.

My house wasn’t perfect, and at the time I was probably irritated about dishes in the sink.

But my kids look at these photos and say

Wow.  You played with us.  That is so cool! I remember that…

They have awe in their voices.

why to play with your kids

Their awe today is worth every moment I spent playing trains and building blocks.

And I have the precious memory of this little face as a bonus!

Bertie the Bus - My son's joy.

Bertie the bus was a constant companion for almost two years. We had about five of them because my son could not leave the house without one. I still have one in my jewelry box. Just in case.

Can I tell you a secret?

The most boring weekend of my adult life is also my son’s favorite memory.

Watty and I were at home while the other half of our family was on a road trip.

It was Watty’s birthday (he turned 7) and our house was almost fully packed for the remodel to start.  I have to admit I was distracted and didn’t want to be “bothered” by my child.

But it was his birthday.

He had a stack of EIGHT Lego boxes that had never been worked.

They were the “big” boxes – most of the buildings for Lego Police and Lego Fire.  They were too hard for him to complete on his own.

So for three solid days we worked Legos together.

I sat with him and watched as he worked.  I helped when it got hard.  I provided hand strength for the tricky parts.  I found missing pieces.  I taught him organization.

It was soooooooooo boring.

Except when it wasn’t.

I can still picture my son doing the happy dance as we completed each bag.  I can still hear his pride when he called my husband on the phone to share his accomplishments.  When I quit being self centered, I could look at the weekend through my son’s eyes.  And it was such a different perspective.

When I shifted from “what am I getting out of this” to “what am I GIVING in this” everything changed.

When I focused on the giving part, I felt joy.

(I was also able to let go of that “i have a big to-do list” feeling.)

My son still talks about that weekend. He loved it!

He still runs up and gives me spontaneous hugs for his Lego weekend. (and I can’t remember a single thing from my to do list.  duh!)

How cool is that!

Go play with your kids.

It doesn’t have to be anything complicated.

I’m not saying to spend all weekend building Lego City.

It doesn’t have to be big.  In fact, small doses every day are far better.

Go let your kids make you laugh.

Go watch cartoons with them or play a video game WITH them.

Play dolls or dress up.

Tickle their feet or make silly faces.

Go slide down the slide at the park or walk across the “trip trop bridge” and let them pretend to be the troll.  Teach them to see pictures in the clouds.

Play = Laughter = Joy

If you are looking for more joy in motherhood, go make it happen.  Go give your kids some joy.

Joy is contagious.  You can catch it from your kids’ laughter and giggles.

Need help?

I have a post on some fun ideas for indoor play with your kids (no crafting required).  I also have a board on Pinterest filled with ideas on play.

I’m also sharing a review today of an awesome e-book that has 75 ways to have fun with your kids.

Today’s joy in motherhood assignment is simple.

Go play with your kids.

Let me know how it goes.

Go play with your kids, laugh with them, and find joy.

Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. I love this post!!! Playing WITH our kids is so important. At our house, we like card games, Mario Party for Wii, Legos, tickle fights, and Nerf wars.
    Dawn recently posted..I’m a Philadelphia Eagles fan. And It Makes Me Crazy!My Profile

  2. This is a good reminder. Sometimes playing with kids is hard. Sometimes it feels very much like work. Not because it’s difficult or complex, but because as adults we feel like in order to be worth something we need to have visible concerte evidence of our accomplishments. And in my heart, I know my children are my evidence, but sometimes I look at what I did in a day and all I can say is I played cars or play dough, and sometimes that doesn’t seem like much. Gotta keep working on it! 🙂

    • Nikki, it is hard. We can’t put a dollar value on the most important parts of being a mom because they are priceless! If it helps, put “play” on your do to list or schedule it on the calendar. It may seem silly at first, but it will help.

  3. My kids are asleep, I promise!! That photo of the bricks falling is so cool; that’s fun incident to remember!!
    I don’t mind Legos at all, it’s the 500th reading of Go Dog Go etc that really gets to me, but I keep my mouth shut, because I cannot, under any circumstance, spoil their pleasure of reading!!
    Roshni recently posted..Future computer programmer?My Profile

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