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Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how challenging discipline situations can be met with play. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


A simple box of crayons, twenty-four count.  They came from the dollar store and don’t have a brand name or even a fancy box.  Their colors are basic, but with sweet names like “lemon-lime” and “apple.”  Some have been used a lot, others very little, and a few have had their tips nibbled off by a little boy when he wasn’t quite big enough to understand that we don’t eat crayons, even if they do have tasty names.  We turn to these crayons every day, and for all of their fun they are also a great teacher and they present a wonderful and simple parenting tool.

When the crayons come out, my son thinks we are playing.  And he’s right, we are.  But we are also working on some really good lessons.

We use the crayons to count:  One, two, three colors.

We use the box of crayons to identify colors:  This crayon is red. This crayon is green.

We use the crayons to learn vocabulary as we draw simple pictures and identify them:  This is an apple.  This is a pumpkin.

We use the crayons to learn our letters:  We write A, B, C, D…

We use the crayons to learn how to put things away:  before we leave the table, all of the crayons go back into their cup.

We use the crayons to teach about colors in daily life:  Our parrot is green, like this crayonThe ball is red, like that crayon.

We use the crayons to teach “please” and “thank you:”  Please hand me a crayon.  Thank you for the crayon.

We use the crayons to teach about principles of color:  Yellow plus blue make green.

This play is more than just lesson time, though.  The crayons are a tool for expression of deeper feelings, or sometimes even a distraction for those feelings.

We use the crayons to talk about sharing, and why sharing makes us happy.

We use the crayons to distract us from a potential upset:  We can’t go outside right now, but we can color instead.

We use crayons to talk about art.  Even though our conversations are simple now they will someday blossom into something far more complex.

Sometimes we use the crayons to work out our aggressions:  a hearty scribble is good for the soul.

The crayons aren’t just for my son, though.  I know that I benefit from holding those little waxy rainbows and making fanciful doodles on paper.   Mama is a better parent when mama has inner peace.

Sometimes mama uses the crayons to relax:  drawing and coloring a simple picture is a nice release from a day’s stress.

Sometimes mama uses the crayons to remember how much she used to love drawing, and to remind her that there’s no reason she cannot still embrace a little more art in her life.

Sometimes mama uses the crayons to leave love notes for the loves of her life, even if one of them is too little to read them and the other must think his wife is nuts for leaving him love notes scrawled in colorful crayon.

Of all of the toys and the books in our house, we keep returning to this simple, dollar store box of crayons.  I never would have expected all of this from our little one-dollar investment.

Do you have a particular parenting go-to item?  How did it come about?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon September 13 with all the carnival links.)

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18 Responses to Viagra For Women Canada - Erectile Dysfunction (Sildenafil), Can I Take Redbull With 150 Mg Viagra For Stamina

  1. Hooray for crayons! I just bought Niko his first box, and we've patiently experimented (thank God I have hardwood floors… the crayon wipes right off!) but might put them away for another month or so : ) I think I enjoy them much more than he does – remember how much I love(d) coloring (in the Smurfs coloring book, no less).

    Our go-to toy is a $0.63 ball with kitties on it. "Ick-hee Baah." I think that means, "Kitty Ball." Thankfully, Niko is always down to bounce the ball, and we use it a lot!
    Ana @Pandamoly recently posted..The Essential Art of Play

  2. What an incredible list of life lessons enclosed in a box of crayons – awesome. Thank you for sharing Jenn!

  3. A great reflection that made me think about the immense amount of learning happening in our homes at any given moment…
    Hannah recently posted..Wrestling Saved My Life

  4. Aww… I love how you use the crayons too!

    We play/learn in many of the same ways with Baby's colored, wooden blocks and his books ;-)
    I Thought I Knew Mam recently posted..Playful Parenting – Or 5 Lessons My Son Has Taught Me About Parenting Through Play

  5. I love this post! So fun that the crayons can do all of that. Last winter my son absolutely loved drawing and painting and we used crayons all the time for learning other things like colors. We got out of the crayons as the weather got better but I'm hoping some cold weather will bring them back.

  6. I just love this – amazing all the lessons that come from a simple box of crayons. My kiddos both love drawing too – its a wonderfully therapeutic activity when used for a limited time only. I think after reading how it benefits you too, I'll make an effort to join them in their drawing a little more. I really enjoyed reading this.
    Terri recently posted..Practicing Playful Parenting

  7. I love crayons and I love this post!!!

    It's so sweet and profound.

    It makes me want to get out the crayons right now.

    I'm a fan.
    teresa recently posted..Imagination Plays a Role in Our Parenting

  8. What an interesting piece. I've never read anything quite like it. I really like the sentiment. :)

    My parenting go-to is probably a simple tub of blocks, bought by a friend of mine for my daughter's first birthday. I never thought she would bother with such a thing, but she loves them – building them, putting them into the bucket and pouring them out again, bashing them together to make sounds, feeling their shapes. And as she gets older they will teach her about colours and counting. She spends ages playing with them. Such a simple toy. :D

  9. I think your words here are so beautiful, especially at the end.

    My nearly 3-year-old still eats crayons, which is why we do not see them very much in the house. I desperately want them to paint, color and draw more but cannot seem to stop them from chowing down at all times, on all media.

    On a more related note, this post made me want crayons. And I love that this is the most important "toy" in your arsenal, particularly because it is therapeutic to both of you. I applaud your continued dedication to your own artistic-ness (not a word) and how you show your son that one thing has many, many uses beyond what is generally accepted on the outside.

  10. We love crayons too :) One of our favorite toys is a ladybug the size of a tennis ball we gave to my oldest for his first Christmas – its plastic and it has been in the mud, in the sand, in the pool, tub, kitchen, in the ocean…

    thanks for sharing your wonderful experiences with the crayons!!
    Mudpiemama recently posted..Clown School Express: Playing Away Fears

  11. Amy

    We have a box of crayons just such as this! We use them most mornings right after breakfast. Isn't it amazing how many life discoveries can be made just with crayons and paper? The simplest tasks can be amazing learning opportunities! Loved your post!
    Amy recently posted..Getting Cooperation Through Play

  12. Wow, that's incredible. I love how much meaning you found in those crayons! It's amazing how it's the simple things you go back to again and again.
    Lauren @ Hobo Mama recently posted..September Carnival of Natural Parenting: Exaggerating for effect

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