I was coaching a single dad with his 11 year-old son on how to build connection.
They were going to have fun time and we were in a situation without any games available.
The computer and phone were available yet electronics can stifle the creative juices and laughter from flowing between parent and child, while movement and physical contact are often stimulants for fun.
So, I suggested they take scrap paper, newspaper ads, whatever was available…and make a collection of wads of paper that they would proceed to throw at each other.
I then asked the boy what he had that could be used as an improvised shield.
He ran and got two tennis rackets!
That’s creativity, when you take an object meant for one purpose and use it for another. Fostering ingenuity in our kids is extremely important.
It teaches them to look “outside of the box”, is the foundation for problem-solving and encourages further creative thinking.
The father added that they could also use the soccer ball and the basketball as long as they were kept on the floor and just kicked.
Open play without set rules also leads to creativity and fun.
We set the timer for 6 minutes and commenced to throwing the paper balls at each other! Laughing, hiding behind shields, trying to “get each other”…no one held back as joy welled up in each one of them.
When the timer went off, the son was having so much fun, he of course wanted another match.
At the end, with the paper strewn around I said, “The paper needs to be picked up. How about having a contest to see who can pick up the most?”
The race was on as they scrambled and laughed as they each tried to get the most paper balls.
The final tally (in a strange turn of events) the son picked up more than the dad!
I received this email from the dad the next day…
Your visit created wonders. It was very amazing connection and bonding with my son. He has been so happy though out, it is really very touching experience. Thank you for being our parenting coach.
Next time you play with your kids, have creativity, connection, and joy as your goal. Nothing more.