Wednesday is the last day of school for the Frowzy children. We are all beyond excited for summer vacation to start. I love summer vacation. One thing I have learned lo these many years of parenting is that the best way to parent is OUTSIDE. When you have your kids outside there is a greater freedom for kids to be kids, they get exhausted from running around in the sun and fresh air, they argue less, you get to say "YES!" more, and chances are pretty good that I can just lay down on the quilt and read a book can be a more engaged parent while they are doing all those other things.
And while the occasional playground is nice, it doesn't keep the children's attention the way OUTSIDE does. But, remember we live in an urban area. Where can a kid find OUTSIDE in an urban area?! Well, luckily for us we live in a city that planned for lots of green space. So, even at our neighborhood park where there are two playgrounds and an awesome fountain/wading pool that we get plenty of use out of, there are also acres and acres of green space and little alcoves and trees and a small creek. At Forest Park, one of our favorite places is not the zoo (though we are there at least once a week!) but this little spot with a creek to wade in
and rocks to climb on.
They last maybe 45mins at a playground. At the creek? 2-3 hours, easily. With fallen sticks they build dams, they catch crawdads, they fill jars with grasshoppers (easy there, we let them go.) And I do a lot of this...
That's not to say that we don't also spend a lot of time at the Zoo and the Botanical Gardens, we have memberships to both. And at these places and even at playgrounds unexpected kid fun can show up. I don't like to say "No" unless I have a good reason, and "because you'll get wet/messy," to me, is not a good reason. That is why I have just assembled the 2010 Frowzy Family Summer Survival kit that I keep in my van all summer long.
And what is in the Frowzy Summer Survival Kit? Well, in addition to the well-stocked first aid kit that I always keep in Behemoth (our van), I have added a big old quilt and this seasonal tub. In the tub is a change of clothes for every child, a cruddy old towel, a package of baby wipes, a (gasp) emergency disposable diaper, another container (so it doesn't spill all over the clothes. Learned that the hard way.) that has bug spray and sunscreen, and what is that? yes, a bottle of Whatever (you never know when you need to spray down the car seat after ice cream, or a picnic table, or frankly a barfy public toilet seat. done it!) and a roll of paper towels. With this survival kit I never have to worry about saying "NO!" to summer fun for all the wrong reasons.
So, get your survival kit together and get OUTSIDE! Throughout the summer I'll post about some of our favorite activities. If you have some ideas on what your family loves to do, email me. We love to try new things!
Enjoy your summer and enjoy your family!