It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Rowdy Games

Since we’re stuck inside all day, it’s essential we burn off some of their boundless energy before something or someone is seriously injured. Let’s shove the table to one side of the dining room, and pull out all the gross-motor games I can think of.

We play “Move Across the Room“, something I made up but which is hardly unique, in which they have to move as a certain animal, vehicle, bug, across the room. (We hop like kangaroos, we buzz like bees, slither like snakes, race like fire engines, we whhoosh like the wind… As many variations as I have imagination.)

We play “Popcorn“. Know it? All the children squat down on their haunches into teeny balls. They are popcorn kernels. Then you chant,

You put the oil in the pot,
And you let it get HOT.
You put the popcorn in,
And you start to grin.

Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, sizzle
Sizzle, Sizzle….

And then you have five bouncing, thundering, giggling toddler-sized popcorn puffs shaking the foundations. Much fun. With the right group of kids, you can play “Sticky Popcorn”, a variation in which they must bounce together whenever they bump into someone, until they’re one big giggling popcorn ball.

Ring around the Rosey, of course, with the between verse reprieve:

The Cows are in the Meadow, eating buttercups.
Along comes a bee, and they all jump UP!

Then there’s Sleeping Bunnies. The children lay down and pretend to be asleep, as only toddler do: eyes scrunched tight, every limb quivering with excited tension.

Bunnies sleeping till it’s nearly noon.
Come, let us wake them with a merry tune.
Oh, so still. Are they ill?

Then you clap like mad and holler like a banshee,
Wake up, Little Bunnies!!!

They all leap to their feet, and proceed to bounce, as the adult sings:
Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop;
Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop;

And at “stop” they all flop to the ground for verse two.

And finally, “Smelly Skunk”, which doesn’t allow for much motion, but makes up for it in outrageous noise levels. The first verse is sung, very, very quietly. Whispered, really.

First and only verse:
I’m a little smelly skunk,
Sleeping under someone’s bunk.
Nobody want to sleep with me,
I’m as smelly as can be.

Then, between verses, this is chanted:
Second verse, same as the first.
A little bit louder, a little bit worse!

Back you go to the verse, a little louder. With each repeat, it gets louder and louder and LOUDER until, with the final verse, they are screaming their wee heards off. Often we have the rhythm instruments out for this last one, and are beating, shaking, and rattling till the windows rattle in response. Way fun, this one!

Several more verses, this time in reverse: “A little bit softer, a little bit worse”, till they’re whispering again. Then a few more quieter games to bring the wildness down, followed by a couple of books and some snuggling on the couch to entirely restore the peace. Stuff some food into them. And then it’s naptime!!

Not such a bad way to spend a morning…

September 8, 2005 Posted by | Uncategorized | 15 Comments

And the Rain, Rain, Rain came Down, Down, Down

Recognize the tune? You may keep it, and let it run through your minds instead of mine. I am suffering badly enough without it. All right. So yesterday I didn’t go out when I could have. But I acknowledged my error, and promised to do right today. I do not deserve to be punished further.

Today dawned gloomy. But that’s okay. No rain. We can go out. As I bring the stroller round from the back yard, a few drops of rain fall. Light speckles. The children all have raincoats. That won’t stop us!

Back into the house. Get their shoes on. I hear distant thunder. But it’s distant, and I’m determined: We’re getting out today! Help them into their jackets. Step out onto the porch.

And are greeted by a brilliant flash of lightning.


September 8, 2005 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Harry and his dad approach my front porch. Sitting on the couch by the open window, I hear dad’s voice, calm and weary:

“…well, I have things on my mind, things that I need to think about, and you’re always saying ‘Why, why, why’.”

Can we empathize? Yes, we can!

September 8, 2005 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments