Have an Outdoor Play Party
There are a lot of things I love about when the weather gets nicer. The longer days, blooming flowers, bird songs and butterflies,the lack of a schedule in the summer. Sure, I still have all my regular chores and responsibilities, but it’s nice to chuck all that every once in a while and just enjoy the kids. They’re only going to be this age once and all that.
It’s very tempting to throw an electronic device at them and say, “Knock yourself out” while you do the things that you have to get done. I know—I’ve been that person. Of course, I am speaking from experience here. I’ll be totally honest that there are times that I’ve been tempted. Sometimes I have even succumbed and used the electronic babysitter on occasion. I am only one person, and I am the mother of four. So you’ll find no judgement here.
Those lazy summer days that seem so great sometimes can also be torture when all I want to do is sit and eat the peanut butter sandwich I made for lunch without having to get up seventeen times. Or after we’ve had several rainy days in a row. Or simply just 17 seemingly neverending summer days in a row.
Really, though—you know you get tired of telling your kids to stop jumping on furniture and running around like crazy. It happens every weekend, repeatedly on snow days, and during the summer around here. If your house is anything like mine, then you should do what I do: let them go outside and run around. There’s way less stuff for them to break out there.
I don’t care if it is a game of frisbee or blowing some bubbles. Just being outside together can be a great experience. I’m sure that some of your best childhood memories involved grass stains on your clothes or some dirt on your hands. My kids love doing a catch-and-release of fireflies. They also will run like crazy through the sprinklers on a hot summer day—so I’m watering the lawn AND wearing them out. That’s what I call a win-win.
We call them ‘play parties.’ First of all, I’ve learned that giving these sorts of things creative titles makes things more appealing to my little ones. Secondly, it means unstructured fun time, which we’ve all heard is beneficial to child development. Third, it means one less thing for you to plan. Let the kids decide amongst themselves what they’re going to do, and then let them do it. I learn a lot about my kids from listening to all their ideas and watching the games they create.
So let them loose in the yard or at a park. Let them take the lead and just go with it. It’s a party, after all.