Trophy of Play

Recently the Adult Recess class at the Bellevue Family Y presented me with an award, the Trophy of Play.  This was, however, no ordinary trophy.  I’ll let Gary, the creative force behind the Trophy, explain:

I am privileged to be at this luncheon to honor Kerri for the approximately five years of creative, active and humorous activity that she has generated weekly in Adult Recess class at the Bellevue YMCA.

Years ago, I recall that an objective of physical education class was to acquaint students with activities that would engage them to be physically active over their lifetimes.  Among the many creative activities that have come from Adult Recess Class, group juggling is one activity that has been a real gift.  Throwing balls and other various objects in a fixed pattern is physically and mentally challenging, and fun.

I have shared this activity with a wide range of people.  One notable time was the small wedding for my son at a remote site in South Carolina.  The younger people had gone off to a Halloween party and the mature adults remained behind.  For many of these people, Polish was their primary language.  After some limited conversation in English, I thought of group juggling.  But at this evening hour there were no balls available.  In rummaging around the rental house, I came across a new supply of wrapped toilet paper.  Voila!  Let’s replace the balls with toilet paper!  After clearing the fragile items out of the main room, we made a circle near the walls.  I carefully explained how to do group juggling, and we started.  But they did not get it!  We tried again and still it did not work.  About ready to give up, we tried once more, and the toilet paper rolls soon were flying, along with laughter and smiles.  And as distorted as the rolls appeared after juggling, they did not unravel, and all of us players had built lasting connections.

In recognition of the time energy and thought that has gone into Adult Recess Class over the years, we would like to award Kerri this specially inscribed roll of TP — Trophy of Play.  A second roll is in appreciation for encouraging support from Christina.

We wish you both continuing love and play!

Thank you to everyone who has ever come out to play with us.  It goes without saying that I will truly miss playing with my friends at the Bellevue Y!

Blob tag

Blob tag is a simple, fun game that doesn’t require any equipment.  You need about six or eight people to play.  More than that is even better.

Here’s how:  Choose one person to be the blob (in tag terms, the blob is “It”).  The blob’s mission is simple:  To expand.  The blob does this by tagging other players.  If tagged by the blob, you must join hands with her/him/them – in this way you become part of the blob.  This new and improved blob seeks additional victims and can tag them with either of its two free hands.  When a blob reaches a size of four it splits into two smaller blobs and continues its search for victims.  The game is over when everyone is part of a blob.

I’m not sure what I like most about this game.  It could be the fact that there aren’t winners or losers, but it’s more likely to be the gleeful feeling I get rushing around holding hands with my blob partners while my friends attempt to flee.  It has been a long time since I was seven years old, but I’m pretty sure this is exactly what it feels like.


Recently I have been thinking a lot about a book called Positivity.  In it, author Barbara Fredrickson seeks to explain why we have positive emotions such as joy, amusement, gratitude, and love.  Why do I care?  And why should you care?  As Fredrickson explains:

“… positivity produces success in life as much as it reflects success in life.  Regardless of whether success was measured as a satisfying marriage, a larger salary, or better health, positivity mattered.”

To paraphrase, I don’t just feel good because I got a promotion;  I got a promotion because I feel good.

Yes, you read that right.

Fredrickson’s research is compelling, and it shows that when people experience at least three heartfelt positive emotional experiences for every negative emotional experience, they thrive.  Below that ratio, we kind of just muddle along.  Her prescription, then, is simple:  Cultivate heartfelt emotional experiences, aiming for a positivity ratio of at least 3 to 1.  Her book has plenty of suggestions on how to create more positivity in your life, and they are not of the shallow “just put a smile on your face” variety.

So next time you find yourself thinking you are too busy to take some time for yourself, think again.  The time you take to laugh and play is much more important than it seems!

Favorite toys – and a new acquisition for Recess

I was eying a classic Snoopy sno-cone machine on the Perpetual Kid website and found this: An adult-sized “hippety-hop” (or Giant Bouncer, as they call it).  Needless to say I couldn’t help myself.  My testing department (aka me and my S.O.) will be evaluating it just as soon as it arrives.  I only hope we won’t come to blows deciding who gets to take the first ride.

Which makes me wonder:  What was your favorite toy growing up?  Mine was a red, white, and blue basketball.  I spent endless hours shooting baskets with it.  It could explain why I still love throwing games so much! 

What did you love to do when you were a kid?

There are two questions I love to ask people:

  1. What did you love to do when you were a kid?
  2. If you could be a kid again for one day, what would you most want to do?

Here are my answers.  If you have a moment, I would love to hear yours!

1. I grew up in Phoenix, and my most favorite thing to do was to spend the day at Big Surf.  Big Surf is a water park complete with a giant wave pool, water slides, sandy beaches, and palm trees.  The best part was the wave pool, which generated a wave every five minutes or so.  At any given time there were approximately three thousand kids in the wave pool, and as soon as we saw a wave coming we would jump on our rafts and paddle like mad in an attempt to catch it and ride it to the “beach.”  Hours later, lying in bed at night, I could still feel the rolling of the water underneath me.

2.  If I could be a kid again for one day I would go to Big Surf, of course!  And I would have a slumber party with my friends, complete with pepperoni pizza, potato chips and onion dip, ice cream, and M&Ms.  I would probably still be afraid to go to sleep in case someone stuck my hand in a bowl of warm water.