I remember once when I was in India. I was on a beach near Bombay (Mumbai) and I found a lot of tiny hermit crabs. I collected them, lined them up facing the ocean and then had a race to see which one made it back to the water first. I was so engrossed in this that I looked up and was surprised to see a crowd of Indians, ladies in saris, men in suits, standing silently watching me. Either they thought I was conducting some kind of scientific experiment or some kind of religious ceremony! No. I was playing.
I'm so glad that my family loves charades and other silly games. When the granddaughters were small we would go into the woods and find the right tree to build fairy houses. We'd line with moss, weave little mats, decorate with bark and hide the entrance so that the fairies would be safe. Once I came upon one of our houses years later and still in tact. (Obviously the fairies took good care of it).
So I'm looking forward to that playground where I was officially allowed to swing and climb. Wouldn't that be great? Only one thing: it would need a high fence around it so that teenagers could not stare and giggle.
What about you? Do you still like to play?
JENN MCKINLAY: I'm fifty and I still ride a skateboard and not for the exercise. I also love to go sledding, skating, and my boys and I recently did an extreme rope obstacle course sixty feet up in the air in the pine trees of Flagstaff. It was three hours of climbing, swinging, jumping awesomeness! I believe playing is the best way to engage the imagination no matter how old you are. What I miss most about being a children's librarian is the time spent playing. I got paid to put on puppet shows, have Lego hour, sing, dance, play with a parachute, join in on video game tournaments, and, of course, read children and YA books. I love, love, love that they are building playgrounds for the senior kids, Rhys! Sign me up!
HALLIE EPHRON: A senior kids playground? Sign me up, too!
My grandkids keep me playing. Reading stories. Singing songs. Playing games. When we were in Puerto Rico in March I had a wonderful time playing for hours with 4-year-old Franny in the pool. What I wish I could do more readily is get down on all fours (and get up again).
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Charades? I'm in. Celebrity? Sure. Scrabble? Absolutely, unless Jonathan is playing, in which case forget about it because I have no chance. Any kind of parlor game, I am all for it and fearless. Board games with the kids? I have played four games of Chutes and Ladders IN A ROW. And Citizens of Kataan , which I didn't even know what was. But totally up for it.
But. Outside? See-saws and swings? Really, no. Skateboarding, surfing, roller skating, parcour, Segway riding, bungee jumping, parachuting, deathwishing? I am home doing crosswords.
I feel bad about this.I'm sure it's a personal failing.
RHYS: No bungee jumping, skateboarding or parachuting for me either, Hank. I don't like anything that goes too fast. Never did like roller coasters. But I do still love boogie boarding!
LUCY BURDETTE: I love Charades and Boggle, and especially, Bananagrams! Though I sure do like to win, as does all of my family. The competition can get ferocious, though we've all learned to be a little more gracious with age:). I am looking forward to granddaughter Dorothea growing to be reminded of all the stages of play. Hopefully Clue and Monopoly will still be around, though there will always be cards!
INGRID THOFT: That obstacle course sounds amazing, Jenn! I would love to do that, but unfortunately, I’m at a chapter in my life where I’d need to get clearance from my spine doctor before undertaking such an activity! I’m hopeful once I get my back issues settled, I’ll be able to resume more playful activities. I’ve yet to zip line, boulder or rock climb, all of which are on my to-do list. Play may be “the work of childhood”—quote attributed to Fred Rogers, Maria Montessori or psychologist Jean Piaget, depending upon your source—but I think play also begets joy. Who couldn’t use more of that?
For the time being, I’m still able to engage in more sedentary play. A few weeks ago, I found myself in a heated game of Uno with my nephew, and Scattegories is a Thoft family favorite. I also have a soft spot for Rat-A-Tat-Cat and Sleeping Queens, both card games for 6-10-year-olds. If you haven’t played them, you should!
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Rhys, count me in on the Playground for Seniors! I love to swing and seesaw and slide, although not too crazy about the merry-go-round. I think dogs and babies are nature's way of reminding grownups to be silly and to be totally in the moment. I play goofy games with my dog every day, and I LOVE playing with Wren. I can't wait for tea parties and adventures of all kinds, and board games, too. But for the moment, it's silly voices and songs and peek-a-boo, and that's great, too.
RHYS: So you see, we Reds still like to have fun. And have you noticed we tend to be competitive too? All right: who else is going to join us at the senior playground?