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Why Can't We Just Play?: What I Did When I Realized My Kids Were Way Too Busy
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Why Can't We Just Play?: What I Did When I Realized My Kids Were Way Too Busy

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Facing summer with her two boys, ages ten and seven, Pam Lobley was sifting through signups for swim team, rec camp, night camp, scout camp, and enrichment classes. Overwhelmed at the choices, she asked her sons what they wanted to do during summer: Soccer? Zoo School? Little Prodigy s Art Club?

Why can t we just play? they asked.

A summer with no scheduled activities at all
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Familius
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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Lisa Lewis
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book describes a wonderful concept that I'd truly like to enlist for my family. Take away scheduling, and just enjoy life. Written with heart and love for her family, Pam Lobley details what is missing in our lives. Let the children play. ...more
April Cunningham
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Every one in a while you read a book and wonder if the author had been spying on you. While I’ve never done a 1950s summer experiment, the reasons she pursued her 1950s summer are all things I’ve thought at some point. Maybe we’ll give it a try next summer.
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Funny, refreshing parenting expose` a'la Family Circus style. Suppose one could stop the merry-go-round busyness of over-scheduled summers for children and go back to the "good old days", say the 1950's. Well, that's just what this mother of two boys (ages 7 and 10) did. She collected her observations in this chronology of that one summer and concludes with some suggestions for other like-minded parents.

I found some of her accounts to be foot-stomping funny (the almost perfect dog, running erran
Susan Bazzett-Griffith
An interesting little book that I thought would be more parenting guide than memoir, and I wound up liking it more than I thought I would for that same reason, Pam Lobley writes about how she took a summer off with her 2 boys, aged 8 and 10 at the time, from doing anything that was expected of modern moms and had a "1950s" summer (with lots of video game time, though). Being kind of a relaxed mom myself, I related to her, and having a son who is a homebody at heart, I saw my own son in her portr ...more
Oct 23, 2020 rated it liked it
I wasn't expecting a memoir when I picked this up, but the book tells the tale of a mom who wants to have a "1950s summer" in which her kids do nothing. The idea of slowing down and jumping off the hamster wheel has always been appealing, and I found that much of what Pam Lobley was thinking and feeling resonated with me. She also gets major props for admitting some things that I would be inclined to gloss over or omit from my own memoir, such as the copious amounts of TV they watch, her childre ...more
Cynthia Muchnick
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes going back in time to more nostalgic days really does force us to slow down and reconnect. Lobley's book does just that. She gives us a peek into her world that is now more relevant than ever. Play is one of the most important pieces of connection that we have with our kids. This book reminds us that getting back to the basics can really be what we all need to feel better, recharge, and reconnect. ...more
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
My favorite line was the last few in the book. "You may get a surprising feeling of lightness and joy at how a day that holds so little can feel so full. Let me assure you- it feels great to get out of the rat race. It is not easy, but you don't have to stress out; you don't have to keep up. You don't have to rush to get to someplace wonderful; you're already there." ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the idea of this book, but there were pieces that seemed a bit repetitive. The main idea--of slowing down, of letting kids have free play, and of not micromanaging every minute of their lives, was great. I enjoyed Pam Lobley's style of humor. ...more
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, nonfiction
Enh. It didn't really do it for me. And the part where she couldn't send her kids outside to play in the back yard because her husband was too protective of the lawn? The heck?? ...more
Shelley Thompson
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Memoir of a mom trying a 1950's no-plans summer. Page 91: "I just wanted to use the 1950's as a prism through which I could view my life in a new way." This book was funny and spot-on. I found myself thinking, "that is so me" several times. I enjoyed the chapter introduction quotes and the 1950's cleaning/life tips. Author also compares being a housewife to the book The Phantom Tollbooth, and gleans similarities to women in The Feminine Mystique. Interesting viewpoints. Page 153: "...but everyth ...more
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Pam Lobley decided to let her kids play one summer. By staying home and getting a local pool pass, and only signing one of her boys up for one week of Boy Scout camp, she had a 1950s summer. Everyone was going to play. And swim. And entertain themselves. And relax. And be unscheduled. An experiment.

Sometimes it went just as planned. Sometimes it did not. But she tells the truth in a very funny way and helps all parents realize that we have to make the best decisions we can for our kids. Sometime
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book. Loved the concept and Pam's voice. I actually wished there was a bit more detail (still not clear what they did every day for all those weeks besides build with legos and watch TV!) My big take away though is to really set aside uninterrupted play time for my kids and try not to interfere. I loved hearing about her experience and all of her insights. ...more
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, momma
A bit funny, a lot of truths. Quick read. Gave me greater intentions to let the littles "waste away" stay at home days when their packed schedule doesn't sound fun. Let's maybe stop those packed schedules and let kids be kids a while longer? ...more
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Mary Prather
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Jun 01, 2017
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Feb 25, 2016
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Pam Lobley
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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Pam Lobley has written comedy, plays, newspaper columns, blogs and books. Her latest book "Why Can't We Just Play?" is a sweet and funny memoir of a summer she spent “doing nothing” with her kids. You can keep up with her at ...more

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