Not the fun parent

Confession: I am not a fun parent. I like to plan fun things for my kids to do while I watch from the sidelines. I just don't engage well in imaginary play. In fact, the last time my daughter and I played with her dolls, I dressed my doll in a conservative tunic, leggings, and hipster glasses readying her for a day perusing the aisles of used bookstores. K's doll was decked out in tulle and glitter and big sunglasses and was headed to the ball for an evening of dancing.

"You're dressing your doll in that?" K inquired as I held up my doll.

Playing with my kids just doesn't come naturally for me.

Conversely, you will often find my husband playing with our kids--jumping on the trampoline, playing catch, wrestling in the living room, playing tag in the yard--he has earned the fun parent award.
My husband playing catch with our kids while I watch from our hammock
There is one thing, though, that I love to do with my kids: Music.

If you know me, you know I have a passion for music. I love listening to music, playing guitar, singing, discovering new music, and attending concerts. I've tried to instill an appreciation for music in my kids. We listen to music while we hang out at home; I teach the kids some of my favorite songs so they can sing along with me while I play guitar; I learn some of their favorite songs so we can jam together; and I am deliberate about exposing the kids to a variety of music (though, I confess, they have been steeped in bluegrass). While it pained me a bit, I even encouraged K to check out the latest Kids Bop (I think they're up to #754 now) CD at our local library because I knew she'd like some of the songs.

Cutting a rug with my girl
One of my favorite ways to "do music" with them is by attending outdoor concerts or festivals in the summer. There's an awesome two-day outdoor music festival in our area each summer that my husband and I have been attending for the last six or seven years, so when we finally got our children, I couldn't wait to share this festival with them. It's come to be their favorite part of the summer. Because our kids need it, we are incredibly structured; our kids rarely see 10 PM even in the summer. But during the festival, we let them play and get dirty outside until 10:30 each night. For at least five hours, they run barefoot like feral children through the farm grounds at Prairie Loft making mud pies and stone soup in the mud kitchen, burying themselves in the sandbox, chasing fireflies in the fields, and spinning on the dance floor. For much of the weekend, I am right there with them eating their soup and twirling on the dance floor. There's just something magical about outdoor music festivals and concerts.
This photographer knew I needed proof that I dress like a slob and play with my kids and other people's kids (see random girl on the left).
If, like me, you're not usually the fun parent--don't fret. We all have roles to play in this parenting gig; our kids need a fun parent and a parent who is willing to do the planning and cheering and documenting on the sidelines. I think it's important though, for each parent to have something he/she can share with each kid.What activity do you enjoy? How could you find a way to share this with your kid(s)? Leave a comment below to share about how you bond with your kids over one of your hobbies!

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