Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What-to-Do Wednesdays: Retro Summer Fun

OK, Wonderland readers. Summer is fully upon us. In my town, the public schools are out now, and though that doesn't yet affect my family, the sights and sounds of grade-schoolers biking to the city pool, setting up lemonade stands, and shooting hoops in the driveway scream "summer" loud and clear. It's wonderful.

One of my big reasons for wanting to be a full-time stay-at-home mom is that I want to be able to give an old-fashioned summer to my kids--now, when they're little, and later, when school's out. In my mind, summer should mean unscheduled time for all the fun things kids should enjoy at this time of year, not week upon week of structured day camps and daycare crises. In my mind's eye, I envision mornings of impromptu bike rides, nature walks, and teddy bear tea parties on the lawn. Sure, as an adult my ideal summer morning might rather involve, say, an iced coffee on a patio with the newspaper and some adult conversation, but where my kids' summers are concerned, I'm more than willing to try my hardest to concoct some dreamy childhood memories.

However. In reality, at least right now, when my girls are only newly-four and almost-two, summer days are like a lot of other days, which is to say: challenging. long. potentially tedious. at times very fun, and at times much like poking one's own eye out with a stick. Since children this age have an attention span of approximately ten minutes, we need, like, 36 different things to do each day. You did notice that I used the phrase "TRY my hardest," up there in that last paragraph, did you not? Instead of, say, "guarantee to be always cheerful and patient while singing a happy tune"? Yeah, there's a reason for that.

This week's What-to-Do Wednesday feature is not one discrete activity, as usual, but is instead an invitation to consider what an ideal childhood summer means to you, or what it meant to you when you were a kid. In that spirit, here's a list of ideas for good, old-fashioned, retro-summer fun for the babes. Maybe you know them all; heck, maybe you did all of them today by ten a.m. But maybe you've forgotten some of them, and you'll read this and go, "Hey! Yeah!"

And maybe you'll think of a few new ideas of your own, and tell me about them. Please.

*running through the sprinkler
*drawing with sidewalk chalk
*blowing bubbles
*playing in the backyard splash pool
*picnicking--for lunch, snack, whatever, either at a park or in your own yard
*indoor picnicking on rainy days
*playing hopscotch
*jumping rope
*playing hide-and-seek outside
*hosting outdoor tea parties--either for real friends or stuffed animals and dolls
*making homemade Popsicles (you need those Tupperware molds from the store)
*playing "car wash" and soaping up all the kiddie bikes, trikes, wagons, etc., in the driveway
*flying a kite
*playing "Red Light, Green Light" in the backyard
*taking a nature walk, collecting interesting leaves, twigs, and weeds
*playing catch
*digging in sand, gravel, or mulch with sand toys
*planting seedlings in tiny flowerpots from the hardware store and watching them grow
*playing Play-Doh outside on the driveway or patio instead of at the kitchen table
*using the watering can. on everything.
*one word: KICKBALL

What do you think, gang? What will your toddlers be doing this summer during all that unscheduled free time? And what will you do to keep them occupied, and yourself from going crazy? I'd really like to know.


Mnmom said...

That was my kids' DAILY summer list. At the end of every summer I always feel bad that we didn't do everything I wanted to get in

Shan said...

Yeah! It always seems like summer goes by so fast, despite the fact that some days feel about fifty hours long.