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Melissa’s Playbook: Moments of Wonder

2016-11-23 by Melissa
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We recently partnered with Gallup for a study on parents’ perspectives on childhood play. You can see what we learned here. This blog is part of our “Time to Play” series, with advice and tips on how you can make time for play in your child’s life!

This blog is part of our “Time to Play” series, with advice and tips on how you can make time for play in your child’s life!

“Free play and exploration are, historically, the means by which children learn to solve their own problems, control their own lives, develop their own interests, and become competent in pursuit of their own interests.”

—Peter Gray, Research Professor, Department of Psychology, Boston College


The older I grow, the more I realize that the moments I have found the most profound are the truly simple ones, largely involving nothing material and often experienced alone. For the most part, they involve engaging with my environment in a way that brings me a sense of awe. And yet, although these moments of wonder are readily available to each of us, they are easily overlooked in our constant race to charge ahead to the finish line. But once we open our eyes and see the marvels right in front of us, we can develop tremendous appreciation and find immense pleasure in life’s simplest gifts, serving as the launch pad to exploration and discovery.

It occurs to me that these tiny snippets have been stitched together like an intricate quilt to form the person I have become – someone capable of finding the wonder in all that I do. In an era where childhood is becoming more like a job, my wish is to embrace these little moments and create an archive of simple ways to experience awe and wonder every day. In order to Take Back Childhood and nurture children to discover themselves, their passions, and their purpose, they must appreciate all the moments of wonder right in front of them. My belief is that if they begin to see the ordinary as extraordinary, they will then view the world as a magical place and feel empowered to set out on their own journey to discover awe and wonder in everything they do.

Here are just a few of my favorite moments, narrowed down from a list of hundreds (yes, hundreds!):

Moments of Wonder


 Jumping into a pile of leaves Searching for an exquisite leaf Catching falling leaves before they land Following a path in the woods Throwing a spiral pass with a football

Playing in a pile of leaves


 Making a snow angel Eating a handful of snow Starting a snowball fight Catching snowflakes on your tongue Collecting pinecones


Finding the season’s first bud Chasing butterflies Studying an ant carrying food to its family Whistling on a blade of grass Watching a bird make a nest Playing in the dirt Making mud pies Splashing in a rain puddle Looking for four-leaf clovers Watching a snail slowly move Drinking the rain Planting a tree and watching it grow

Hunting for 4-Leaf Clovers and Flowers


Running barefoot through the grass Studying a bug then letting it go Chasing fireflies Running through the sprinkler Sleeping outside under the stars Being the first to jump into ice cold water Eating a fruit or vegetable right off the vine Body surfing in the waves Making a sand castle Blowing on a dandelion Playing with a hose Splashing in the water Finding treasure at the beach Staying outside in the pouring rain Drinking from the hose Doing a cannonball in the water

Blowing a Dandelion


Finding the first star and making a wish Running through a meadow Flying paper airplanes Starting a rock collection Doing somersaults down a hill Making up a secret language Singing in your loudest voice Staying in your pajamas all day Watching a flame flicker Skipping rocks across the water Riding on someone’s shoulders Closing your eyes and swinging as high as you can Watching the entire sunset Dancing with abandon Going down a slide head first Wearing your superhero cape all day Trying to catch a bubble Twirling round and round Finding pictures in the clouds Climbing a tree Studying your reflection in the water Letting a balloon go; watching it disappear

Please share with me some of your favorite moments of wonder! What were the magical memories that still stay with you from your childhood? What are the experiences you want to give the children in your life? It can be something small (“finding the perfect seashell”) or something big (“seeing the Grand Canyon”). Something sweet (“reading books on Grandma’s lap”) or something silly (“blowing a double bubble with my bubble gum”). Something common (“jumping in a pile of leaves”) or something specific (“winning 1st place at the county fair for my macramé pot holder”).

Share your moments of wonder on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you happen to have photos to share, be sure to tag them with #TakeBackChildhood. Let’s create a wonder-full list, and commit to ensuring our children experience these same magical moments!

Wishing you and your family a season of discovery and wonder!

Signed Melissa



As a co-founder and chief creative officer of a toy company committed to championing open-ended, healthy play and as a mother of six who had two children in her 20s, two in her 30s, and two in her 40s, Melissa has had a front-row seat to the dramatic changes in the way kids play and experience childhood. She is dedicated to speaking out about the crisis our children face due to the rise of technology and other societal factors and providing solutions to help families find time for child-led play and exploration.

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