Finding time to write my won blog has been tricky of late as I take on more and more freelance work but it is something that I remain deeply committed to. When I open a new post template it feels as if I am putting a comfy pair of slippers on and long may that continue.
I have been busy writing for others on the joy of the summer and children so I thought I should spend some time getting these thoughts onto my own site. I get very excited about the concept of summer and children and I think that harks back to when I was a child and you had that wonderful end of term feeling and the whole summer stretched out before you. We construct things a little differently in our family as our children are home schooled but we do preserve a decent length of time for the children to make the most of the long summer days.
For me summer is synonymous with the great outdoors and it is important for us all to make the most of this time of year. I often get asked to comment on activities that children can engage in during their outdoor time and I always note that these perspectives are generated from engaging with my children over the years. My children are all much older now but when they were small the thing that got them outside time and time again was water. Water in almost any form or container seemed to appeal and I lost count of how many times I was invited to a tea party using water with grass in it poured through a play teapot…..
Alongside the water sat the sand pit built from old wooden pallets and filled with toys that acted as containers, sieves and the like. Sometimes the water and sand had a party together! As the children moved through this stage we were able to play with even more exciting possibilities and the phrase ‘what is the project for today Mummy?’ was invented. A day project might be making a small pond out of a large pot and rescuing tadpoles from a building site. it might be building a den under the trees and having a picnic tea to celebrate. It might also be setting the toughest obstacle course we could muster for Daddy to have a go at when he got home from work.
Whatever the project the joy and excitement was always the same. Most importantly, I would find a very important excuse to withdraw for a period during the day as that ensured that they had time without me and that was important. Children playing with children was so vital to this special time and my children had a habit of attracting the other children over the neighbour’s fence who wanted to join in the fun.
One of our recurring favourite activities as a family remains our nature walks when we set off with a small picnic, lots of water and a brown paper carrier bag with our names on. The point of the bag was to collect interesting things to put on our nature table on our return. It does, from time to time, get a little competitive over who can find the most interesting thing but the activity does not stop at the collecting. Once our bags are bursting with goodies from Mother Nature they are thoughtfully arranged on a spare table and we settle down to update our nature journal. The children and I all have nature journals that we use to capture the changes in the seasons and summer is always busting at the seams. We paint, sketch, write and investigate our goodies on the table and it is a quiet activity that often ends our day.
For me the great outdoors is the ultimate playground and some days we head across the fields to find a tree to climb in for a better view of the sea. Resisting the temptation to over plan the summer is important but, equally, children will look to their parents for a little guidance. My boys love their bikes and when they head off I head to the garden with a book for some time out. But I am always willing to help them devise something interesting to do and so another project is born.
As I write this my, now much older, children are all outside. Molly (21) is sunbathing and listening to music on a well earned day off from her holiday job. Harry (18) is also on a day off but is constructing his new tent as a test run for the upcoming festival weekend. George (16) is out playing with the dogs somewhere on the smallholding and Max (14) has gone for a walk to the village along the beach. Admittedly they are a long way from pouring grassy water through a plastic teapot but they are outside on the most beautiful of days. That is just where I would want them to be….
Speak soon xx