An Old Fashioned Summer
An Article written by Ruth
(reprinted with permission from A Child's Place)

Somehow, we have become a society that feels that we must 'entertain' our kids and keep them enrolled in activity after activity to provide them with a full childhood. In reality, we are robbing them of the pleasure of stopping to smell the roses. Here are some fun 'old fashioned' activities that is sure to put the FUN back into SUMMER!

Family Puzzle - I can remember doing this as a child. A large jigsaw... a table that is not needed and lots of time spent looking for the right piece. People would come and go from that table. One might start, but many joined. It was a time to reminisce, tell jokes, and catch up on what is going on in each other's lives. Somehow, the puzzle eventually got finished and we were all proud to be part of the accomplishment, but what was more important was the time spent together doing the puzzle.

Hide N' Seek - not just the kids, but EVERYONE. We had parents helping toddlers.... the whole neighbourhood would be out playing. It was a great time for friends, neighbours, and family to get together for an evening.

Rainy Day Crafting - maybe this is where my tradition in shopping and organizing stems from. I would sit down and organize my Christmas list... names, ages, etc. Then I would either write down what I wanted to get that person or their interests. This is a great time to get kids started on making those extra special presents. Let's face it, the Christmas season is VERY RUSHED and who has time for elaborate projects. Set aside a rubbermaid container and have the children start NOW.... they can put their gifts in the box and save to wrap later.

Journals - this is something I loved doing. Writing down stories, diaries, poems. You didn't have time to be bored... there was always something exciting happening in one of your stories.

Cloud Gazing - ok, I confess... I still do this with the kids. My yard slopes down and in the afternoon, we will all lay side by side on the slope and gaze up at the cloud. Each trying to find a form in the white puffs overhead. This is so much fun and then trying to describe which cloud we mean and yes it does to look like a unicorn... SEE... you mean that puppy carrying a bone?... this usually has us all LOL!

Hiking - pack up the snacks and drinks and head off to explore nature for a day. This is great exercise, peaceful, and brings a bond to the whole family. We actually did this a few weekends ago. It was so much fun - we saw a snake (I kept my distance LOL!) chipmunks (which we never see at home... only squirrels) and all kinds of plant life and insects that we are not privy to in our developed area.

Have a 'no electricity' day. Take your kids back to what it was like in days of old... somewhat... I'm not giving up my indoor plumbing for anyone!!! Cook on the BBQ, play games outside, use flashlights to get around, sit in bed and tell stories under the blanket.

Realize how much fun a simple chore can be when done as a family. Washing/cleaning the car may seem like a chore and you ignore it until you cannot possibly be seen in that vehicle again! BUT... get the whole family involved and it makes all the difference. I suggest you clean the inside first because if your family is like mine, once the hose and buckets come out it is every man for himself and NO-ONE is dry enough to go inside the car to clean!

I hope that these ideas will trigger some fond childhood memories. Ones that you will want to share with your own family.


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