Why I Play-Fight with my Kids

In some ways this seems like an overly obvious, unnecessary post. Of course parents play fight with their kids! Right? Yet I am surprised by how few MOMS play fight with their kids.

I do. And I love it! I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I do, but I do. Here are my top reasons why.

1. It teaches them body awareness – How hard do I have to push to make something happen? How strong am I before I get pushed over? How do I get myself back upright? How hard is too hard to hit? Also being aware of how strong they are now versus a month from now is important too as they grow and get bigger and stronger; I’ve known too many bigger little kids that don’t know their own strength.

2. It teaches them spatial awareness – How far away is that body I am playing with? Where are my legs and arms while I’m wrestling? Oops, now I’m upside down, how does that make me feel?

3. It makes them feel loved and given attention.

4. It’s fun! I’ll bet almost everyone at one time or another has played slug bug, tickle time, or wrestled with your sibling, or started a real fight with your sibling that by the end you two were both on the floor laughing.

5. They feel safe acting out being big and strong and knocking me down or punching me and knowing that I can take it.

6. Kids who play fight with their dads are being shown that men are big and strong. For somewhat feminist but mostly totally selfish reasons, I want them to know that women (i.e. ME!) can be big, strong, and tough too.

7. Along those same lines, grown-ups who play fight with kids are demonstrating that when people play or play fight, they are being respectful of each other’s boundaries, and if you don’t feel safe you can and should ask the other person to stop. If the other person doesn’t respect your boundaries then kids learn that’s not okay and they get time out or kids or grown-ups stop playing with them. This is a super-critical skill that is missing in so much rhetoric, both physical and verbal, in our society today.

8. As their mom, it is so fun to watch my kids get stronger, faster, more coordinated, and more creative in their physical play. They mix strategies, including saying silly things to catch me off guard, which is all part of the art of play.

9. Finally, I want to promote physical play of all kinds with kids and grown-ups alike. Whether that’s boxing, hiking, jump rope, tricycles, making forts, tree-climbing, or just going for an exploratory walk around the neighborhood, I support it.

I’m sure there are other reasons I’m forgetting, but those are my main ones.

My husband teaches natural movement classes, and before that parkour and martial arts. Slowly more women are joining the adult classes in all of those fields. But especially in the kids’ classes, the moms are just as likely to join their kids, but almost none participate given the opportunity. Why?! Some women (and men) don’t like physical contact activities. And that’s totally fine. But more often than not women are intimidated. I say no more fear! Get in there and push someone.

Why do you play fight with your kids? Or why don’t you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Seattle Celebrates “Neighbor Day” on February 11 Through Random Acts of Kindness

Seattle, sometimes I love you!

We invite all Seattle residents to celebrate Neighbor Day on February 11 by indulging in random acts of kindness.

Neighbor Day is a special day set aside to reach out to neighbors, make new friends, and express thanks to those who help make your neighborhood a great place to live.

Residents, businesses, or community groups are all encouraged to participate however they like. The main goal is simply to reach out and connect with your neighbors through generosity.

Here are some ways you can be a part of Neighbor Day:

  • Do something nice for a neighbor: take them to coffee, clean up their yard, bake them some cookies, invite them for a walk.
  • Organize a neighborhood potluck, open house, or work party.

It can be as big or simple as you want. Need an idea? We have an extensive list to help inspire you. Want to know how your local business or community group can participate? Here are some ideas! If your event is open to the public, you can post it to our online events calendar. Use our flyer to post around your neighborhood or work area to remind people of the day. Have your children color our Neighbor Day coloring sheet and give it to a neighbor. Share a “great neighbor” story or tell us how you are celebrating by tagging us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and using #neighborday.

More at: Neighbor Day – Neighborhoods | seattle.gov

A Guerrilla Florist Is Putting Flower Beards on Statues | The Creators Project

To draw attention to historical monuments all over Belgium, florist Geoffroy Mottart stages herbaceous interventions by adding botanical beards and verdant hairdos to statues of luminaries and potentates like Victor Rousseau and King Leopold II. This clash between history and brightly-colored floral facial hair lends the otherwise-somber effigies an air of tender whimsy.

Mottart chooses the flowers for each sculpture with care, taking into account his subject’s features, the statue’s color and material, its location, and the season.

More at: A Guerrilla Florist Is Putting Flower Beards on Statues | The Creators Project

Alessandra Orofino: It’s our city. Let’s fix it | TED Talk | TED.com

Urban activist Alessandra Orofino thinks that can change, using a mix of tech and old-fashioned human connection. Sharing examples from her hometown of Rio, she says: “It is up to us to decide whether we want schools or parking lots, recycling projects or construction sites, cars or buses, loneliness or solidarity.”

Great talk on the value and power of getting the community back involved with the community.

People are leaving compliments all over San Francisco and making others smile – SFGate

Signs from #thecomplimentproject have been popping up around San Francisco

Signs from #thecomplimentproject have been popping up around San Francisco. Photo: SFGATE

When the US is trying to figure itself out, acts of kindness and community go a long way, no matter what your political persuasion.

Kindhearted souls are leaving compliments all over San Francisco this week and making others smile.

The simple signs, printed on 81/2-by-11-inch white paper and taped onto lampposts, feature positive, feel-good messages: “Your Smile Is Beautiful,” “You Bring Joy to Those Around You” and “You Are Perfect as You Are.” Signs from #thecomplimentproject have been popping up around San Francisco.

They’re designed like the charmingly old-fashioned signs tacked on coffee shop bulletin boards, advertising violin lessons or cat-sitting with phone numbers hanging from the bottom that you can tear off and take with you.

The signs are the brainchild of S.F. local and Good Samaritan Anna Sergeeva, 26, who started what she’s calling the Compliment Project to spread good cheer. On her website, you can download compliment posters and print them to post in your own neighborhood.

Source SFGate: People are leaving compliments all over San Francisco and making others smile – SFGate

According the the SF Gate, there have been recent reports of these all over the world.

Have you seen these in your local community? Tell us about it in the comments below. Or, download a sheet from their website and post it somewhere, and tell us where to look.

The Compliment Project sheets

Animal Shelter Partners With Elderly Care Facility To Save Both Orphaned Kittens And Elders

Another great example of how two communities in need can help and support each other. Everyone needs to feel wanted or helpful, whether they are 3 or 103.

When an animal shelter in Arizona needed extra help taking care of the newborn kittens, they made an unexpected decision and turned to a senior care facility for help. “

To some, it may seem peculiar at first: Residents who are in need of around-the-clock care themselves, given the task to care for these young kittens,” says Catalina Springs Memory Care Executive Director Sharon Mercer. “But there are skills, emotions, and needs that do not just leave a person with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. The desire to give love and receive love remains.”

The program who was created by the health services director Rebecca Hamilton. In addition to caring for the elders, the woman also volunteers to foster felines. She noticed that taking care of cats was bringing her a lot of joy and happiness, and knew she had to share it with the seniors.The initiative proved to be a success, as the overall condition of both the kittens and the elderly has improved.

More: Animal Shelter Partners With Elderly Care Facility To Save Both Orphaned Kittens And Elders | Bored Panda

 

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Photographer Mark Neville explores childhood play after commission by The Foundling Museum – British Journal of Photography

At a time when up to 13 million children have been internally displaced as a result of armed conflict, photographer Mark Neville presents a series of images of children at play in diverse environments around the world.

Immersing himself in communities from Port Glasgow to North London, and in the war zones of Afghanistan and Ukraine, the series is a celebration of the thing that all children, regardless of their environment do – play.

Read more here: Photographer Mark Neville explores childhood play after commission by The Foundling Museum – British Journal of Photography

What a fantastic project, and a great way to showcase the innate need for children to play and the resourcefulness of children to play even in the harshest of conditions.

Why I support doll therapy for Alzheimers

I heard an interesting story on NPR today: the increase in doll therapy for patients with dementia:

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Guzofsky, who has Alzheimer’s disease [pictured above], lives on a secure memory floor at a home for seniors in Beverly Hills, Calif. She visits the dolls in the home’s pretend nursery nearly every day. Sometimes Guzofsky changes their clothes or lays them down for a nap. One morning in August, she sings to them: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray.”

No one knows whether she believes she is holding a doll or a real baby. What the staff at Sunrise Senior Living do know is that Guzofsky, who can get agitated and aggressive, is always calm when caring for the dolls.

Doll therapy is catching on at nursing homes and other senior facilities across the country. It’s used to help ease anxiety among residents with dementia, who can experience personality changes, agitation and aggression. But the therapy is controversial.

Supporters say the dolls can lessen distress, improve communication and reduce the need for psychotropic medication. Critics say the dolls are demeaning and infantilize seniors.

Full story here.

I understand the concern that critics may find this kind of treatment demeaning to seniors who now need care to do basic everyday tasks.

However, let’s think of this as something else: Play Therapy.

It’s true that it can be hard to tell if the patients realize this is a toy doll or real baby. However this could potentially be very similar to a child’s imaginary play with dolls or an imaginary friend: kids know it’s pretend, but also get very invested in their pretend world, taking care of their babies, feeding them, changing them, snuggling them for comfort.

I also agree that the positive results – reduced stress, increased verbalization, and more – without the use of medication, make it worth more exploration rather than outright rejection because of its use of toys and play. Maybe the nay-sayers should give it a try.

Madrid’s Crosswalks Turned Into Colorful Works Of Art

Too often cars ignore crosswalks, causing dangerous environments for walkers and bikers. Painted crosswalks have been found to increase safety AND add aesthetics to a normally fairly mundane part of the urban landscape. It can help add identifiers to neighborhoods and help promote the neighborhood’s culture.

Bulgarian artist Christo Guelov is turning crossings in Madrid into colorful pieces of art as part of his project called Funnycross. Using striking colors and geometric designs, Guelov breathes life into otherwise stale public installations. “Funnycross uses zebra crossings to intervene in the urban landscape,” writes the artist. “The metaphor “A bridge between two shores” is the starting point of this artistic intervention.”

See more pictures at: Madrid’s Crosswalks Turned Into Colorful Works Of Art By Bulgarian Artist | Bored Panda

I have read stories about some of these popping up in Seattle and Portland, so it is good to see these painted crosswalks are being implemented in lots of places, including Madrid.