Last weekend I joined my family for a Birthday party at a play center called, “Jump on It.”  It is a room full of trampolines, foam pit and other kid attractions.  Needless to say, we had a blast.

While we were playing I had a bit of an epiphany.  We had set up some relays on the tramps that our group of 10 were participating in.  We were yelling, cheering, and laughing so hard we could not breathe.  Without any cue, kids starting gathering around our section of the room and watching.  Eventually we starting inviting them to participate.  Every new relay or challenge involved more kids that were dying to play.  The kids were coming up with new ideas, volunteering to go first, and having the time of their lives.

This is my main point.  The kids were thriving in this environment.  They easily made new friends, used their creativity, and were as happy as Christmas morning.  This is what kids need!

At one point, and as always happens, a little girl got hurt.  She was holding her foot and crying.  My husband went up to her and offered to carry her off the tramp.  She immediately wiped her tears and stood up with a smile on her face.   There was no way she was going to give up play to being hurt.

After our allotted time was over, the group of kids that had gathered followed us around until we got in our cars and left.  I wondered where their parents were, when I remembered one parent telling their child from the side that it was time to go.  While these parents did an awesome job at providing an opportunity for their kids to play and be active, they could have taken it one step further and made it a memory to last a lifetime.

So this is not my main point, but might as well throw a challenge in there.  Play with your kids, don’t just watch them.  They are craving play time.  It is how they learn, how they find out about emotions, how they build confidence, and how they develop their social skills.  Be a part of this!