This post is by regular contributor, Cath Oehlman of SquiggleMum.
“Mum, we are playing a game called Chilly-Chally and you should reeeeallly blog about this because it’s a great game and we made it up ALL by ourselves!” I laughed, partly because the game was ridiculous, and partly because my five and three year old kids are now dictating what I blog about!
After days of torrential downpours and flash flooding in Brisbane, the rain finally eased and I was able to shoo the kids into the backyard for some much needed outdoor play. Being mid summer, it was hot and incredibly steamy, but the kids still needed gumboots on because the ground was completely sodden!
They discovered this empty garden-cart had filled to the brim with water, and it proved to be more enticing than the swings, the sandpit or anything else in the backyard (I often find children are drawn to water play like moths to a flame). At first their play was tentative. They both stood beside the cart, putting their hands into the water and letting it run through their fingers. Then they found containers from their dirt kitchen, filled them up and poured them all over themselves.
Mr 3 took things one step further by deciding it would be better to climb INTO the garden cart to fill his container. The water level was higher than that of his gumboots however, so he found himself sloshing around as he walked! This quickly evolved into a full blown game of Chilly-Chally.
How To Play Chilly-Chally:
- Climb into the cart to fill up your container.
- Stand on one side of the bridge with your water.
- Wait for your partner to come to the other side of the bridge.
- Count to three, then throw water onto your partner while shouting “Chilly-Chally!”
Truthfully, I almost put a stop to this silly play several times. I almost said, “Don’t play in that water please kids.” I almost said, “Stop throwing water you two.” I almost said, “What are you doing?! Your gumboots are meant to keep water out!”
Almost. But instead, I asked myself a few sensible questions. Are they safe? Yes. Are they enjoying their play? Yes. Are they working well together? Yes. Are they learning anything? Yes. Are they making memories? Yes.
So I resisted the urge to intervene, and simply watched their antics. I was rewarded by overhearing sentences which demonstrated learning through play such as:
- “How did this water get in my boots?!”
- “The water in the bucket is going down, down, down now.”
- “Let’s throw the water up higher.”
- “You have to stand a bit closer or the water won’t get me.”
- “Before we were really hot, and now we’re really chilly.”
Don’t you remember playing silly games as a child? As adults we watch a game like Chilly-Chally and want to stop it because it just seems like messy nonsense. It probably IS messy nonsense, but when did that become such a terrible thing? Mess is just mess. So what if my kids got wet and got water in their gumboots?! And nonsense is just nonsense. So what if they made up a ridiculous title for a game that seemingly had no purpose, no rules and no winner?! They had a wonderful time together learning through play.
Please don’t take your kids outside for a game of Chilly-Chally this week. That is not the point of this post! I just want to encourage you to take a moment to think twice before interfering in your children’s play, and not to underestimate the value of messy nonsense.
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