Summer is a blessing and a curse.
Like the kids, I’m excited that school is out for 2 months and there’s no rush to get out the door in the morning or strict bed time to adhere to. The weather is beautiful. The days are longer. We are out and about exploring the world around us. While structure is good, the summer lets us be a little random.
I’m fortunate that I work part time and get to spend a little more time with my kids over the summer months. Hubby has a work schedule that can accommodate changes and our moms are close by to help on these days that we are both working. It’s not so bad during the school year but it can make some long days with the kids when school is out.
What does that mean? Basically, you hear a lot more of “mom, I’m bored…what can I do?”
It’s honestly driving me crazy.
When I was a kid, we played. If we were bored, we played. If we were told to go outside, we played. We found friends, we made up games, we used our imagination, we explored, we went swimming, we went biking, we played skipping games, hide and seek, created dance routines and stories and plays – and then performed it for whoever we could finagle to watch it. We were kids and we were outside. We were getting fresh air and lots of sunshine.
We were not allowed to be inside unless it was meal or snack time – and even then we might be eating it outside.
If, on the off-chance we were allowed inside (you know, if it was raining or something) we were helping with chores or reading a new book from the library, practising our writing or arithmetic or finishing a craft like rug hooking or embroidery or knitting. Basically we were busy.
Fast forward to my kids. It seems I have to be the social convener of my children’s lives or they are “having the worst summer ever”. Unless we have intentionally planned something for the day/week/weekend, they are bored and I have “ruined their whole day”. It’s not like they don’t have anything to play with (other than electronics). I mean they have bikes, hockey nets and sticks, footballs, basketballs and soccer balls, roller blades, skipping ropes, chalk, bubbles, badminton and tennis rackets and a backyard with a play set. And they have a built-in playmate in each other. We even created a list that we regularly refer to when the words “I’m bored” are uttered.
It’s like they have no imagination. I have to give them ideas because they can’t seem to think of anything on their own. Geesh.
Take this morning for example. Hubby was working on a project that involved a sledgehammer and I encouraged the kids to go watch and be helpers. A had no problem. She’s naturally interested in everything and wanted to help. N not so much. I couple of swings and he was done. I couldn’t tear him away from his precious X-box.
There was a glimmer of hope. A stayed outside to play and we ended up throwing a football around. We called N outside to join us. While I went inside to start lunch, the kids stayed outside and decided to wash our van. “Great idea!” I said. They had a blast. I should have taken some pictures for posterity.
Now they are using the long neglected play-doh (they probably haven’t touched it for years) and clay and are creating some pretty fantastic art. Take a look at the amazing burger, hot dog and popsicle! They made a mess that I now have to clean up but that’s okay. And all they needed was a little fresh air, sunshine and imagination to get them started!
What do you do to get your kids playing outside?