Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oh What Do You Do in the Summertime?

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More attempts at nature exploration with The Conscious Shopper

Two month ago, I reviewed the book The Green Hour and resolved to increase and improve the time I spend with my children enjoying nature.

As I expected, it has been much easier to have a green hour now that school's out. In the past month, we have...

gone fishing

gone to the beach

watched our garden grow out of control
(It is now much much worse than this...Borers wiped out my squash, and the tomatoes have taken over every inch of the garden and some of the yard. Yeah, for rookie gardening!)

picked raspberries

climbed trees
(My sister and I had a contest to see who could climb the highest. My six-year-old won...I about had a heart attack.)

No school means we have two extra hours a day to play outside, but it's still a challenge to get the kids out there playing on a regular day (as opposed to on vacation, when most of the above pictures were taken).

Because my son goes to a magnet school, we don't know the other kids in the neighborhood...not that we ever see any of them outside anyway. Earlier this week, I spotted the boys across the street playing basketball in their driveway, so I urged my own kids to go over and make friends. A few minutes later, my oldest came back to say, "They want to know if we can go inside and play Playstation."

I find myself constantly nostalgic for my own childhood of riding bikes and exploring the woods, but perhaps I've idealized it - I don't remember summer being so hot that I didn't want to go outside, but I feel that way now as an adult. I need to use these "tricks to get kids outdoors" on myself.

How do you beat the summer heat?

UPDATE: Just wanted to add here that I recently found out that this past June has been the hottest June on record in North Carolina, and that 22 days in June were in the 90s (which with the humidity factor, means in the 100s). Plus, I grew up in northern Indiana. So I'm not crazy - it really is much hotter now than when I was a kid!


Kathryn Grace said...

What wonderful memories you are building with your sons! Lucky them. Lucky you!

Sad to think that children can spend no more than one or two hours out doors a day even in summer. Summer used to be such a time to go exploring, lie under the big shade tree, watch the ladybugs and the clouds.

How did we get to this place?

Rosa said...

We are lucky to live in a place with a lot of lakes and public beaches in easy riding distance. But still, it rained about every other day so far this summer - aside from camping weekends (one in miserable cold rain) we have only been out past our own backyard and park a few times.

But after this weekend (another camping one) I'm going back to my "take one day off each week to take the child to the beach if it's nice enough" from last summer.

Daisy said...

I have noisy neighbors, and I love it! The young boys are outside a lot, running and chasing and playing. When we moved in, the active kids were my own and their friends. It's a new generation now, and it's so good to see them up and about.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

@Kathryn - My kids are six and under, so the amount of time they spend outside is very much dependent on how much time I spend outside. We have a small fenced in backyard, but they don't often go out there to play unless I go out with them. They are very imaginative kids and can play independently/creatively for hours indoors, but the outdoors just doesn't interest them much. Maybe I just need to throw them out there and make them play?! It really is hot here in North Carolina, though. It's been in the 90s all week (so with the humidity factor, it's felt like in the 100s).

@Rosa - Another great idea from you!

@Daisy - I wish my neighbor kids would play outdoors more. It's so much easier to meet the neighbors and make kids when they come outside!

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to the childhood nostalgia thing. It seems I spent my entire childhood outside. There were constant games of hide and seek, exploring the vacant lots and creeks in the neighborhood, climbing trees, riding our bikes and skateboards, sneaking onto the campus of the nearby community college... and sneaking into the pool at the nearby Motel 6!

I was a "latch-key kid", and I suppose that had both its good and bad points. But children today seem to live such regimented lives! Sure we watched some TV, but generally our parents had to drag us inside for dinner and bed!

Sense of Home said...

I beat the heat by going to the library. Well, actually, that's because I work there, but we have been very busy with children's programs. We have had 40+ at the craft programs and 50 to 60 at my storytimes. So there is something to do to beat the heat, most libraries are air conditioned and the programs are free.



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