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Sometimes I just feel like hiding. The facts of life are too tough to take and I want to get away from whatever threat they pose. That’s when I might step into the woods and let them wrap themselves around me. I might step into a book or the newspaper, a movie, music, art, or a really large Manhattan. I relax with friends or I play games with my family, but any way I do it I disengage from my life for a little while.

As a kid my options were a little trickier, so that’s why I ended up disengaging by stepping into massive migraine headaches, pretending away things too hard to face, popping out hives all over my body, and not talking. The job of growing up, of learning what life is like, is exhausting for kids because the rate at which new experiences appear can be overwhelming. Practically everything is new when you’ve only been on earth three years! Not to mention, children are emotionally undeveloped and are reasonably frightened by simple threats.

That’s why giving your kids completely unscheduled time is fantastic. That’s why encouraging playing in the back yard is your job as a parent. That’s why creative toys like Duplo, blocks, dolls, crayons and balls are wonderful. There is room in any of these ideas to allow kids to create a space away from reality that satisfies the need to get out of here for a while, and to get a respite from the facts of life.