Childhood Unplugged


I have to start by saying that I borrowed the title for this post from an Instagram account that I love called Childhood Unplugged (not affiliated in any way, just a humble, no-name fan). I’m not sure how I came across the account (probably trolling the “explore” section, let’s be honest), but I have been inspired by their mission to make “a conscious effort to encourage our children to get back to the art of play.” The gorgeous pictures they feature of kids playing sans any sort of electronic device have stuck with me for the last few weeks. I have nothing against technology, obviously, as I am sitting here typing away on a laptop. And I don’t even expect that our kids will never use an iPad or watch TV, I just don’t want technology to be their definition of fun. I know it’s a big part of our world today, but I don’t want it to be our whole world.

Last weekend was our annual family reunion with Dave’s side of the family, and this year we gathered at Bear Lake right on the Utah/Idaho border. As we approached the lake the weather was getting stormy and cold and I was internally lamenting that it probably wouldn’t be much fun to play outside that day, which was a shame since that was our only scheduled day to actually be on the beach. Well, I guess I was wrong because sun or no sun, Ella was completely and totally enthralled from the second her little toes hit the sand and she made a beeline for a bucket and a shovel.

This was her first time on a beach and we could barely drag her away to eat a lunch that included Doritos (so you know she was serious).

I love these pictures because you can see the succession of the weather/her filth level. Thankfully, what started as a super cold. windy, rainy day got progressively warmer and played through the entire thing.

Finally, swim-suit level warmth.

I don’t know if there has been another activity in Ella’s 21-months of life that has kept her this interested for such a stretch of time with no interference from me. She played for four and a half hours, through lunchtime and nap-time. I was totally in awe that she was just doing her thing, totally oblivious to the fact that she would be totally expected to be in meltdown mode at this point under typical circumstances.


As the afternoon wore on and she got dirtier and dirtier I couldn’t help thinking that these are the sort of classic kid moments I want her to experience as she grows older. No electronics, no manufactured stimulation, just a little gal, outside, exploring the mud and water. Childhood at its finest!


More on the reunion later, I just wanted to get these pics up while the thoughts were still fresh