Surrender, Dorothy! (let the munchkins lead the way already). We are the grown-ups. The parents. The Wizards. And as the grown-ups we’re called to act appropriately “grown up”. Right? As the ones in charge, our days are filled with climbing ladders that don’t typically have spiral slides or fire poles or tree houses on the other side. We support our kids from the sidelines, set the stage and make sure they have plenty of play dates, toys, and educational experiences that will help them grow into creative, well-round big people. But we rarely take a flying leap into the pond of Playfulness ourselves, unless begged by our kids to join in their fun. What’s up with that? Every one of us has an innate, cellular longing to PLAY. To let loose, shake our hair down, surrender to our silly selves, act a bit immature and truly, and not while texting, Laugh. Out. Loud. If we look just below our well-manicured “grown-up” exteriors, we too yearn for those twisty, thrilling; unpredictable slides on the other side of the ladders we’re all climbing. But we’re the grow-ups now. Who has time to play around? We hear a lot about the mental and physical benefits of being well rested and well feed and well hydrated. But what about being well PLAYED? In fact, there may be some serious health benefits hidden just beneath the surface of silly. Allowing ourselves time to play reduces stress, boosts creativity, releases happy little endorphins and unclogs our uptight selves helping us to slip out of our cranky-pants, and making us all a whole lot more fun to be around. But how do we return to a place of play? Simple really. We take a cue from the munchkins. Those odd little beings that reside in our homes and crave play like the Kardashians crave attention. These munchkins of ours, with their curious nature and unbridled energy are a constant reminder that our own playful spirit is anxiously awaiting its release. They welcome us into their world, freely. Usually everyday. They don’t care how silly they look, or who’s watching, or what others may think. They are play personified. SO I say let the munchkins show you the way. Play with them. Like getting on the floor with the Barbies and Matchbox cars and making awesome sound effects kinda PLAY. Then use what you’ve learned and Play by yourself. And Play more with your spouse and your friends and your dog and your neighbors. And see what happens. When we have children we’re dropped head first into this fanciful land of OZ, with a munchkin as Mayor. A place filled with magic wands and talking trees and flying monkeys. We might as well grab some ruby slippers, sisters, pick up some yellow bricks, and start building. Guest post by Meredith Sinclair. Meredith Sinclair M.Ed. is the chief blogger/vlogger at Hoo-dee-Hoo.com , a site she calls “a shout out to modern motherhood”. She also blogs at Chicagoparent.com, writes two monthly columns for Chicago Parent Magazine, and is an on-air contributor for ABC-7’s Windy City LIVE, where she shares ideas and advice for Modern Moms.

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