Are you wading through a room of toys?  If not there might be a problem.  In her book Six Ways to keep the “Little” in Your Girl, Dannah Gresh states, “Time spent playing make-believe, dress-up and building things with sticks, twigs and blocks actually helps children develop a critical skill called executive function.  Executive function performs many different things in a human being, but one of them is to self regulate – or to appropriate moral behavior and values.”

We all could use a little bit of self-control, but did you know children would probably have better success in self-control and developing correct values if they got some good old-fashioned creative play back into their schedule?  So turn off the electronic devices.  Take a break from scheduled activities. Get a little old-fashioned playtime into your child’s schedule!  Be intentional about it and protect it.

Once again I’m sharing an oldie but a goodie. I wrote this seven years ago. Time flies and we don’t. Blink and the toys are gone. Set a goal for the remainder of this summer; let there be mess!


Don’t you just love the mess?  Tripping over toys as you make your way through a room, isn’t that a joy?  OK, I’ll admit a small path to the bathroom would be nice.

As I walked into my lovely family room this morning, I had visions of sitting down and writing you an encouraging note in my finely decorated room.  What I met was Barbie land.  My coffee table is now a kitchen and the floor has been re-modeled into various doll sized rooms.  Oh the mess… or is it?

Yes, Dear Mama, our children should learn to pick up after themselves.  We Mamas deserve a clean spot to sit and unwind and pursue OUR pleasures.  But there is another side to the mess.

The childhood messes of today are the creativity and dreams for tomorrow.  My girls love to play doll house.  They will spend literally HOURS just dividing the items and setting up their rooms.  We have two doll houses but the interior of those houses have flowed over into the entire family room.  They create extravagant bedrooms and living rooms but also stores, schools and gardens.  They actually play doll “village” not just doll house.  Quite often it takes them so long to set up their village, I do not have the heart to make them put it away.  Thus, I am Gulliver in the land of Lilliput for days at a time.  (Dear Mama, this may even help your creativity. Jonathan Swift may very well have been inspired by this very thing.)

One of my teenage sons loves to play War Hammer, or should I say he loves to make all the men and terrain FOR War Hammer, he rarely plays.  Our back “Man Cave” is the biggest mess you ever saw.  The room that was created for my husband to relax in, looks as if a bomb went off.  My son is so immensely creative.  He makes water treatment plants from old bird feeders.  He makes blown out buildings, rocket gutted overpasses, and an incredibly life like volcano,  all from trash and found items.  And so he collects and stores all this trash in the “Man Cave.”

One of my daughters dreams of designing real rooms, and she is only 10.  My son’s painting and crafting skill has become amazing.  I feel that the skills and creativity that is growing inside our children can not be calculated when we allow them to play with actual toys.

Today our children live in a texting, social media, and virtual gaming world.  It is time for some mess.  It is time for some good old-fashioned, sitting on the floor and playing.  Let your family room evolve into the Battle of the Bulge, (and I don’t mean your own weight issues.)  Bring out those army men.  Legos, Lincoln logs, plastic animals, art projects, coloring books and crayons and so much more.  Sit and play awhile.  When was the last time YOU made a Star Wars space cruiser?  Today it is time to play, it is summer after all.  If it’s a nice day, take it outside.  A zoo in your garden, complete with plastic animals and landscaping sure beats the computer variety.

When we meet again, I hope you trip over some toys getting to the computer.


I’ve been sharing some of my favorite past posts with you as I travel and thoroughly enjoy my summer. Last week I visited Arkansas and celebrated by father’s 84th birthday. I threw in a safari and some kayaking too. I’d love to hear about your summer adventures too, so leave me a comment.

The summer is my very favorite season. There is sooooo much to do and enjoy. When I wrote my Summer book, it was difficult choosing ONLY 75 pleasures to include. So check out my eBook 75 Seasonal Pleasures – Summer. 

Leave me a comment and I’ll draw a name from the comments on this blog post to receive a FREE copy of 75 Seasonal Pleasures – Summer.

3 Responses

  1. Let children be children for as long as they can be…all too soon they grown and gone…working for a living like we adults. But I also think cleaning rooms is a good responsibility. I think it is good for parents to play on the floor with children. I still do that as a great grandmother. Blessings to all who love and raise children with love. , xoxo, Susie
    P.S. enjoy your summer Debbie.

  2. Glad your home and the fun you had with your Dad. Every parent should read and do what you have written and what I know you do. All want children just like I find in yours and for the most little time is ever really spent on their level. It a great blog. Jody

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