Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Summer Time, Summer Time

Photo by David Castillo Dominici
Well, it's summer break for the Little Man an me. A break for him, that is. My schedule just kicked into high gear. It's not easy entertaining a 3-year old. Husband built a tree house for Little Man. Not just any tree house, a pirate-ship-fort tree house. It is awesome with a rope ladder, slide, ship's wheel, telescope, and cabin. Yet Little Man isn't at all interested in playing in the tree house with me, he waits until Daddy gets home and the two of them go out and play together. I think that's sweet. Still, the fantasy of opening the back door and letting the kid and the dogs out into the back yard to play for the day has vanished. So amid the housekeeping, fixer-uppering, needlepointing, knitting, writing, blogging, reading, bill-paying, laundrying, errand-running, cooking, property-managing I typically do, I now have to find things to entertain and occupy the Little Man without setting him in front of a TV all day.

There are lots of things to do, but at his age there aren't (at least none I've found) day camps where he can go for the morning. Those will have to wait until he's five. So, this means all my housekeeping, fixer-uppering, needlepointing, knitting, writing, blogging, reading, bill-paying, laundrying, errand-running, cooking, and property-managing will have to happen on the go or in the middle of the night after the boy has gone to sleep. That's okay because he's only this age once and if we spend the day playing hide-and-seek, reading books, coloring on the sidewalk with chalk, or making rice crispy treats that's good. The only real obligation I have is the autobiography I'm ghost writing. Everything else can be squeezed in when necessary or until Husband has to go buy new underwear because I haven't gotten to the laundry in a while.
Image by Stuart Miles

So what to do? Well, if you have little ones and are wondering what to do with your summer, these are some of the things I found to do with Little Man:
  1. Teaching him to swim in the neighborhood pool. He's terrified of water so this is going to be a struggle. I also don't like to swim so this is a REAL challenge.
  2.  Story Times. Barnes and Noble and the public library both offer story times for toddlers and preschoolers. Barnes and Noble is good because we can have a morning at the mall. The library is walking distance, connected to a park and it promotes reading.
  3. Library programs. Our library offers wonderful programs. This summer there will be a ventriloquist, a magician, a jazz concert (geared towards children), an art exhibit, and a puppet show.
  4. Farmer's Market. There is a farmer's market at our library near the park every Thursday. He can play and then we can visit the market to pick up vegetables. He's usually more willing to try a vegetable if he can pick it out and help cook it.
  5. The gym. I am making a renewed effort to go to yoga and the gym. This is good for him to spend time at their nursery meeting new kids. He is also enrolled in a tumbling class at a gymnastics gym where he can meet new friends and learn new skills.
  6. Parties and play-dates. Little Man has several friends from school who have summer birthdays, including his. So, at least once a month there will be a birthday party to attend. Play dates will be arranged probably once a week or so. I have come to realize that play dates are really more for the mothers than the kids. We need the interaction of another adult.
  7. Helping around the house. Little Man is more than willing to help "clean" the house. He will dust and put his clothes away and he's learning how to make his bed. He also likes to draw on the sidewalk and driveway while I'm weeding the gardens.
All that sounds like enough but still, there needs to be something BIG to look forward to. Something he chooses to do. So, I created the "Fun Bowl." Inside the Fun Bowl are folded slips of paper with an activity written on it. Each Sunday he reaches into the Fun Bowl and pulls out a slip and that is the activity we will do one day during the week. This Sunday he selected bowling so on Friday afternoon we will go bowling. Next week (due to scheduling) we will be going to the Renaissance Festival. The other activities in the Fun Bowl waiting to be selected are: Visiting a farm and going berry picking, children's museum, zoo, putt putt, movie, aquarium, planetarium, ceramics, Build-A-Bear, and an afternoon in the bouncy house. And we will have a family vacation in there somewhere that will be fun.

It will be a packed summer with lots to do. What are some of the things you've found to do with your little ones? What are some of your favorite summer memories?

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