Playing As Kids – Building Forts & Making Gold

All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.  ~Pope Paul VI


Our cousins, Casey holding Marla, Joel in the back, Michael & Elizabeth. Stacy has yet to come. c. 1986

Trying to teach Kyle that you don’t need money or the latest and greatest video games to have fun, is surprisingly a really hard lesson to teach.  At least with my little stubborn man.  I can’t say it enough, he is a good kid, a truly good hearted person, but he only sees playing and having fun as an activity that has been dictated by his generation of video games.  He is not accustomed to good old fashion playing outside, unless I demonstrate and participate of course.

This past weekend, Kyle wanted to play a game with me.  Great!  I suggested a game of chess.  Denied!  I suggested a game of Battle Ship.  Denied!  I suggested a game of Trouble (love that mindless game.  We used it to reach Kyle how to count when he was wee little.)  Denied!  He wanted to play a few games with me on the Wii.  Ok, I’ll give him that since we haven’t busted out the Wii for a while.  His compromise was to play the hunting games and the Wii Sports Resort (Swordplay, Fruit Ninja, Wakeboarding).  I wanted to dance to Micheal Jackson, denied!   I gave in and we played, having a pretty good time.  But after so long, I didn’t have the patience to sit in front of the television and play games anymore.  I would rather get up and move around.  Not Kyle, he wanted to continue for hours upon hours.  Denied!

I pretty much have to force Kyle to undertake any activity before he realizes he’s actually having fun or enjoying himself.  Time and time again this has happened.  Perfect example would include his perceived dreaded hikes with the dogs, which he does enjoy while on the hike.  Even after we come back from having a nice time, he still won’t admit to it.  I guess it’s not cool.

As kids we made up some pretty crazy games and undertook some unusual activities to keep ourselves entertained.  One of the stories I’ve shared with Kyle was the fort building.

Let me step back to state, I grew up with my brother and sister and my cousins around.  So there was never a shortage of kids to play with.  For Kyle, not so much.  I know that has a lot to do with the way he plays and his interests, but I do try as best I can.

Anyway, when we were kids, we used to chop down trees, yes with a hatchet, smaller trees, probably about six inches in diameter and stack them on top of each other to form a fort.  Yes, a real fort with four sides, nestled back in the woods.  We would play in and around this fort all day.

Near this location were these large vines that hung over a small creek.  We would take turns swinging back and forth on the natural ropes like Tarzan and Jane.  It was so much fun.  We did all this with our dog Jill hanging around, without parental supervision, while everyone was getting along and getting dirty and exercise.


Cousins playing at Twin Lakes for Lisa’s birthday. L to R Nicole, Tim, Lisa, Ryan, Casey, me, Elizabeth & Mikey behind trying to claim a spot on the swings. c. 1986

Let’s be realistic, I don’t really have a desire to build another fort anymore.  However, if Kyle really wanted to, I would, but since manual labor is not at the top of his list, we never relived those good old days.

Instead, dad decided he wants to raise chickens.  Apparently, I’m going to construct a chicken coop, correction, Kyle and me are going to build a chicken coop soon.  I guess that’s close enough to a fort.  At least he’s doing something productive, in real life.  I Need To Build My House – Video Games.

As far as the whole experience including the vine swinging goes, I’ve actually taken Kyle in the woods and we have done just that!  He even enjoyed himself!  Although for me it seemed more fun as a kid, but for Kyle, who is still a youngster, it was a new experience.  There is something about swinging past trees that is so relaxing and fun.

Now onto the gold.   Another quick story of how we used our imagination and every day items to create our own pastimes.

One day Ryan was tinkering around in the garage, yes I believe we were still in elementary school. He was always in that garage.  Anyway, he came running out yelling, “I’ve found gold!  I’ve found gold!” as he darted down the driveway toward my cousin Casey and Joel’s house.  What on earth?

Ryan found a can of gold spray paint and took some rocks and spray painted them.  They did look like nuggets of gold.  Yes we added that to the items we played with as kids, simple rocks.  We even fought over the rights to the “gold nuggets” and made up war games with the “gold” as the booty.

Really it shouldn’t take much to have an imagination and to be entertained.  At least not with us as kids.  We found fun in everyday life, with every day things, even rocks!

Read other related blogs

Playing As Kids – Tire Rolling
Playing As Kids – Chasing Cars

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Hunting & Fishing,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Gamers Start Small & Grow

There are people who are very dismissive of games and gamers.  ~Jane McGonigal


Me & Holsters at the Latrobe Turkey Trot Race. It was a cold one! 11/28/13

Kyle loves his video games, a fact I’ve reluctantly accepted for a few years now.  As the days pass by, Kyle seems to exude more passion for these video games.  His choices in digital entertainment are also more advanced and are taken to the next level with each new video interest.  I mean, unbeknownst to mom, Gigi Our Original Gamer – Pac-Man she paved the way for our little gamer.

My sister is also a video game fan, as are many of her friends.  She plays the Wii and Sony Playstation (PS3).  I don’t believe she has an XBox 360, but for all I know, she could.  I really don’t get into gaming, nor do I have an interest except for the dance games.  Yes I LOVE dancing around to the video games.  My favorite?  The Michael Jackson Experience!  Love his music, love his dance moves.  That’s as far as my gaming interests are peeked.

When I was younger, I loved Atari.  My game of choice?  Frogger!  Even as much as I loved that game, I still was not a typical gamer, investing large stents of time into the virtual world.  Not then, and most certainly not now.

This past New Year’s, I told Kyle I’d play him a few video games, you know moving me out of my comfort zone and sacrificing a small amount of time for Kyle’s happiness.  I tried to get excited and I wish I really wanted to play, but alas, I could not.  One would think the shooting games would keep my interest, but nope.  Not even my beloved childhood friend, Frogger could build my yearning to play.  There was absolutely no desire.  Truly, I just wanted to watch a movie, read a book, write or do anything else.  I kind of felt bad for Kyle, for all he wanted to do was play video games, and not just play, but play with me.  That’s his favorite way of spending time with us.  We did agree on a few exciting games of Trouble and the good old stable, Chess, but I retired the video games after a a few rounds.  Kyle is lucky to have his Aunt Nikki, for she is the only one who shares video game enthusiasm.

Yes, Nicole can sit there for hours and play video games, and she enjoys it!  Sometimes Kyle and Nicole play each other online.  Kyle does get a kick out the time spent online with his Aunt Nikki, and will literally plan evenings with my sister.  Granted, she is a busy person, so those evenings are far and few between, as least in Kyle’s eyes, but she does try to hang in the virtual world with our little man as much as possible.  In fact, this past Sunday night, Kyle was all excited to play my sister online.  He called her all weekend, nudging her along, making sure she downloaded said game, I believe it was Mine Craft, and re-confirmed his reservation to ensure there was no miscommunication.  Too funny!  While I was sick all weekend, he was planning for his big night online with his Aunt Nikki.


This is what Kyle does while in the car… playing video games…. & he wonders why he gets headaches in the car? 2012

A couple of weekends ago, Kyle and I stopped in to Best Buy to purchase a camera for my company Thrill of the Hunt.  As I was speaking to the sales associate,  Kyle mentioned he was going to peruse headsets, whatever that meant.  He came back with this simple headset containing a movable microphone.  Being elated over his find, Kyle went off on how much he loved it and needed the piece of equipment, at least that’s what he told me.  Great! (I was happy for him, but not really that excited.)

Next thing I knew, Kyle pulled out his own chain wallet, courtesy of his pappy (my dad) and proceeded to get in line to pay for his purchase.  My little man is growing up too fast!  At the same time, he took my phone and proceeded to call my sister letting her know he was now in business.  I looked at the young sales associate assisting me and said, “Do you play video games?”  Without hesitating and giving me a confused look, he replied with confidence, “O yes!”  Great, I’m the minority.  Of course I was in Best Buy, the hub for computer geeks.  I should ask that question when I’m in Barnes and Noble and see what kind of answer I get.

What did he need the headset for?  Apparently, Kyle has graduated from simple playing video games on his laptop and iPod, to playing online with his friends.  On a side note, he is not permitted to play with anyone he doesn’t personally know that either goes to school with him or is a family friend.  Kyle doesn’t really understand my reasoning, but he respects my instructions, at least for now.

This past Friday, Kyle arranged to play Mind Craft with this friends.  What?  He scheduled a time to play video games online?  Yep!  I’m glad Kyle has an interest, and I’m very happy he has friends to share that passion, but I can honestly say, I don’t get it.  I would be happier if he was socializing with his friends at someone’s house and happen to be playing video games, but he’s enjoying life and I’m happy for him.  And the headset?  It’s to talk to his friends while they play.  I guess I should be happy for that line of communication too.

Kyle gets into reading as much as he does his video games.  That’s our shared interest, books, as well as snowboarding!  Maybe the gaming is just a minor difference in interest.  I wish he would get into running or hiking like I do, but I can’t have everything.  After all, he’s not me, he’s his own person.  And fine young man he is!

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Snowboarding,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

How Do You Handle Change?

It takes all kinds to make the world go ’round.  ~Rita Piper

Kyle's Piano recital 5/17/09 - Aunt Heather Piper

Kyle with his first music teacher of 5 years, Ms. Debbie 5/17/09

Consistency is a good thing, especially with children.  As long as the standards are set in a good and moral direction, as opposed to consistently dysfunctional.  However, it’s always good to throw a little change in there.  Constant change without solving anything or for no reason can be absolutely, 100%, pull your hair out, madding.  But change, with the idea of trying something new and spicing things up a bit can be good and even exciting!

As my mom has always said, ‘It takes all kinds to make the world go ’round.’  She’s right!  God made us all different so we would rely on one another and work together.  If everyone knew what everyone else knew, and thought as everyone thinks, then the world would be a pretty boring place.

So on that note, let’s discuss my perception of different personality types based on change.  I know people are more complicated then my general brushstroke observations, but I believe I’m on to something.  The first type.  Those who hate change, no matter what.  They want to walk the same line, heading in the same direction, while maintaining the same status.  I’ve seen some people, they are extremes with this behavior.  They are those who can’t function when change happens and it throws them for a loop.   Sometimes change can cause them physical elements.

Then there are those who have to change for the sake of changing.  They never can have a clear thought or move toward a steady direction.  They are the ones, who change and then change again, even before measurable proof of something working or not working.  Usually it seems that those people are the ones who change so frequently, they come around to full circle.  That cracks me up, especially when they don’t even realize they are at square one.  My opinion those are the ones who, deep down inside, are not happy and are always searching for something.

Let’s not forget those, which I believe are the general population, who are pretty consistent but enjoy changing up their hair style, buying a new wardrobe, or even going away for a change of scenery.  Change in moderation.

Kyle won at the Gutchess Hardwords Idlewild Picnic  Aunt Heather Piper

Keeping with tradition Kyle won again at the Gutchess picnic at Idlewild

To self assess myself, I am a pretty consistent person, maintaining the grid of structure.  Actually, I am a bit of a habitual and routine type person.  Not to the point where I get bent out of shape or can’t function if things change or are modified.  I am a structured person, just enough to go into automatic.  However, I do love change, but not always for the fact of changing.  It’s true, sometimes things just get boring and need to be kicked up a notch.  It’s fun to go on an adventure and see things differently.  That’s probably why I like to travel so much.  It’s a change for the moment before getting back to the routine.

Then if we are talking about a process or specifically laid out direction that is not working at the current set path.  Now that change needs to be reviewed and could just make sense, creating the perfect reason to change.  So change does need to happen and it is a part of life.

Again I’m making very broad strokes here, not taking into account the change in which there is no control.  Change, that just strikes you like lightening and then you just pick up the pieces and adjust as best you can.  I’ve seen and have been a part of change like that.  One minute your life was going in one direction and the next minute, literally, you are set permanently on a different course for the rest of your life.  Sometimes it’s for the better like those winning the lottery, and sometimes it’s not.  I’ve experienced both, not winning the lottery, but I’ve been apart of major change.  Kyle was our change that was certainly for the better. I was such a different person before he arrived on the scene.  Now that was good change!

Kyle on the other hand tends to be more like my sister, pretty habitual and can’t really handle change.  Not the small stuff, but big change is very stressful to them.  Kyle was always like that, it certainly is part of his DNA.  Even when he was a toddler, if we did something different than the way it was done before and he deemed it as a change, he would stop us and call out how it’s “suppose” to be done.  When Kyle would play with his cars or his Thomas the Tank Engine, he would place certain pieces in specific places. Example, he had a blue truck that always sat on the side lines.  Yes I will admit that I would, quite intentionally move the truck or start driving it around.  He couldn’t deal with this obvious break in the pattern.  When we played the game Trouble, he always had to be red.  Sometimes, just to keep him on his toes and shake things up a bit, I would call the red before he did.  That always set him in a tailspin of furry and frustration.  Ok so maybe this blog post should be about how I am antagonist.  Maybe some other time.

I’ve said it to my mom a thousand times, it’s a good think my sister and Kyle have me.  I keep them from falling into a deep set pattern and bring the reality of life to their world.  Not too much, because I don’t like constant change too but enough to cope with the changing world around us all.  How to you handle change?


posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments
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