In trying to find common ground between my two blogging themes of running and writing for children, I spent some time (while running) thinking about what similarities there might be between running for adults and playing for young children.
I love watching children engaged in unstructured play. My grandchildren are very good at playing. So were my kids, but in those days I didn’t just stop in for a visit every once in a while, with the luxury I have now of watching and interacting with them after a full night’s sleep and with no preoccupied mind. Children don’t just play because they like to have fun. They are working out how the world around them operates. They are practicing what they see their parents and others do; they are exercising their creativity; they are testing their limits. Sometimes they are also learning how to share and how to work as a team. They learn from their mistakes. If the blocks fall down because they made the tower too tall or because the base block is partly on the rug and partly on the floor, they figure that out. Importantly, this all works a lot better when they are well rested, not sick or injured, not too hungry and not too full, and don’t need to go to the bathroom.
So it turns out that there are several similarities between running and child’s play. When we are running, we are testing our limits, learning from our mistakes, and for many of us, working on our creative side while we are out on the trail with our muse. For those of us running in groups, we are sharing and working as a team. And in particular, we do a lot better when we are not too tired, not too full or hungry, not injured or sick, and, of course, when we don’t need an emergency bathroom break!
And speaking of child’s play, today Clara Cadoodle is hard at work playing, using her creative side as she goes on safari, practicing being a game warden.
Clara Cadoodle Goes on Safari
This is the story of Clara Cadoodle, who lives in a house in the land of Bazoodle.
Her house has an upstairs where Clara sleeps, and washes her hands and brushes her teeth.
Her house has a downstairs where she likes to be – to eat, to read, and watch TV.
And in the basement there’s a brand new room where kids can play and run aroond.
The floors are wood, the walls are green, with hiding places that can’t be seen.
It’s the perfect place for make believe.
This room can be a castle and she’s a princess, with a crown, and wand, and a fancy dress.
Or it can be a classroom and she’s teaching the class, or even a campsite, with lake, trees, and grass.
Pretending is fun; in fact, it’s the best!
Today the story of Clara Cadoodle finds her near a river in Africazoodle.
She’s on a safari far away, with hippos, giraffes, and zeberay.
She’s looking for other animals there, like a unicorn, lion, or teddy bear.
While stalking a lion in her safari disguise, she keeps a lookout for another surprise.
She passes close by some teddy bears dancing, and misses a secretive unicorn prancing.
As she walks real slow, searching high and low, she comes to a party on the go.
A monkey says, “Clara, come join our fun. We’re doing a dance from the Backyardigans.”
But as she joins them in a dancing beat, her mother calls down, “Clara, time to eat.”
So she leaves her safari in Africazoodle and heads upstairs for some avos and noodles.
Clara is planning more pretend play, but more about that another day.