Play has no Room for Seriousness

I was taking a self-administered course on how structures stay up; buildings, bridges, etc. I’m glad there was no exam during or at the end!

I am now much more observant about how essential triangles are to strengthen structures. This has returned memories of a ‘toy’ we bought for our young children. Winters are long in northern Alberta; at least, that was the rationale we told ourselves to buy a geodesic dome.

It was a half-circle, about 10 feet in diameter and 4 feet high. The entire structure was a series of bolted triangles. R. Buckminster Fuller built a home for himself in this style.

Ours took up much of the playroom but left most of the space free underneath. At times, it was for climbing, a fort, a tent or a challenge to see who could squeeze in and out the triangles formed by the structure. Of course, it was best to sit at the top and overlook their siblings. It was solid – no flimsy feelings here.

In the summer months, the dome was moved outside. It got a good workout, especially when the mosquitos didn’t drive everyone indoors.

Understandably the kids had no serious understanding of what they were playing on, except it was the hit of the neighbourhood.

Watching my kids play, using this passive dome, they didn’t need instructions or batteries, for that matter.

There is an old joke about kids spending more time at Christmas with empty boxes than with the contents. That probably isn’t true as much today. The young and old quickly pull out their new electronic gadget – me included and start to play with it.

Play has its own value and should be valued for that. When I retired, I vowed to reserve a third of my waking time to consider it time well wasted. No justification was needed. No guilt.

As a parent, I may have undervalued play, particularly as my children grew older. After all, life is a serious business. I didn’t go to extremes, but I had to be aware that just having fun was ok, too.

Please give this a bit of a think. As a child, what was a favourite toy or pastime that you consider ‘time well wasted?’ What is an activity you would categorize for yourself now? That guilty pleasure; see, it still is hard for me just to let go and not couch it as not needing justification.

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think in the comment section below. It will come to me for approval before posting.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

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4 thoughts on “Play has no Room for Seriousness

  1. Patti+Dolman says:

    My vivid memories of growing up in Willowdale are of playing under the bridge where Hwy 401 crosses Yonge Street. The Don River provided a sanctuary for my friend Valerie and I where we found a floatable wooden pallet and cruised the waterway just like . Huckleberry Finn. Day after day we would head down a path with our lunches in a brown paper bag. We swam in our clothes and dried out on our trek back home. We were probably around 9 or 10 years old . One day we returned to to find a tramp occupying the log under which we’d stashed our belongings. We ran all the way home.

  2. Gail Benshabat says:

    The great outdoors was our playground all-year-round. I have memories of playing in a ravine a block away from our house. The cold never deterred us as kids. If it wasn’t drilled into us to return for lunch, we’d still be in the ravine without a care in the world. I don’t exactly remember what intrigued us about the ravine in the cold months. We probably whipped snow balls at each other or built a snow cave.
    All I know is we were entertained for hours. I remember the times when my mitts and scarf were full of burrs.

    In the warmer months we used to dare each other to go as far into the ravine as we could. We got spooked one day when we saw a creepy man coming out of an old hut. It scared us but not enough to never return.

    The ravine was a place filled with mystery, adventure and fun. Time stood still.

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