Build ‘Em Up: Joy of Playing with Our Kids


Courtney DeFeo shares ways to play with your kids.

Ella has not been fishing before.

Yep, I said it.

Am I the worst mom EVER? Nope!

I don’t like dirt, sweat, animals or nature so much. And, you may not like crafts, glitter, make-believe and all things girly. Praise GOD for making us all unique!

The point of this blog is to share the “JOY OF PLAYING WITH OUR KIDS.” And remember, that doesn’t mean perfection or that there is ONE recipe!

Every mom is unique which makes you PERFECT for your child.


Do you feel like you say NO about 492 times a day? I try to say YES every now and then and just delight those little angels.

Yes! Go play in the rain.

Yes! (after you asking 50 times) – we will stop TODAY and climb that awesome tree!


As Ella gets older – she needs less time “playing” and just wants ME.  Kindergarten has been tough for her to be away from me – so we do dates. She’d do anything. Sit on a bench. Lay on blanket. Play Doh manicures. Anything to be beside me. I have to make time for that on the weekends.

With Larson, I began to notice I was skipping her little toddler stage (rushed ahead because of big sis).

Now, baby dolls are back in the game. It took me sitting with them to remind them of the fun of playing momma! Now, she’s acting 3 again, not so much 6, and I love it.


I won’t lie – having two has helped a ton. I realized that I AM NOT THE SOLE ENTERTAINER! I think it’s so good for them to use their imagination and learn to play alone. I love to help use my creative juices to set the scene. Get the paper towel for the patient’s examination area and all the necessary supplies. I might even do the initial check-up of the baby. Then, she learns to do it! I do love playing with them, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE watching them use their brains on their own.


We have so much fun when I have a surprise activity planned. It’s not super often, but they are super memorable. Much like a spa day; they were in shock that I allowed such a mess (and I think I’m still cleaning the mirror). These the type of events that I LOVE to sneak in a virtue or character lesson.

Or, a FREE ICE CREAM stand in the neighborhood.

Or, a dance class by mom after school.


Activity boxes save us and we change them often. They can easily GRAB one and play – alone or with sis or friend. Especially if mom is working or cleaning. Our most popular box is “beauty parlor.”


Our family loves music, dance, performing, singing and pretending anything. So, we do just that. Not everyday. So, it’s normal for a play to break out. Remember – this is me. What I love. What is FUN for me. Nature walk – no thanks.


Sometimes, I seriously do not feel like playing AT ALL. So, I change the scene. Hit the porch, hit the park, grab a blanket.

Just that simple effort can be enough.


My sweet Katie has many talents – like cooking (and imagine that, she teaches her kids and mine to cook!)

We also bring out the silly in each other. We love a funny tune or game or spontaneous game with the kids. They think we are funny, for now. I love the silliness and they do too. Like, let’s just throw on a paper towel on that head – and see who can keep it on the longest. Whatev!


So, our daily lives aren’t like this. We do school and errands and sometimes don’t “play” all day every day. Remember, to give yourself grace. There have been days I know I’ve blown it. I scoop them up and we read a book together. It’s never too late to choose to ENJOY playing with those sweet babies.

For example, on this day … I REALLY just wanted to shop, and they REALLY wanted to play. So, we did both. Both girls, babies and strollers all through the mall. Total scene but way fun (for them). I did get my shopping done.


“You’ll only pass this way once” is a phrase that constantly comes in my mind from my mentor Regina Williams. This past summer, I didn’t feel great in my bathing suit and had to get over it. I put on some shorts, ignored the bomb shells near me and slid down the GIANT slip-n-slide covered in baby oil with my babies. I want them to know two things as they look back: We had some serious fun, and we’re going for it – even when we nervous and unsure – we are going for it! I’m so glad we did. I’ll always be glad I chose them over my ego.

Can we draw you? Um… sure.

Disclaimers: I have the patience of a gnat. I am on my computer way too much. I don’t do this type of stuff every day. My kids watch more TV than they should. They are in school M-F (Ella) and MWF (Larson). So, grace for you – grace for me. Hope one idea makes you smile!

Now, your turn!

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