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2018 Jul

Old-Fashioned Fun

Fun is not hard to find—even in your backyard!


Getting kids off the couch and moving around can be a tough task, but in summer it’s definitely easier. There’s the beach, for starters. It’s the ideal place to expend energy and enjoy the bounties of nature. We are so lucky to live so near the coast with its variety of water activities available: sailing, swimming, skiing, paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking—the list is endless.

Fun is not hard to find—even in your backyard! Just in case you run out of ideas for things your kids can do, here are some of my favorites—and they are all low cost or free.

1. Catch fireflies! Grab a clean jar with a screw-top lid and send your kids out at night to look for fireflies. After they catch a few and marvel at the blinking lights, open the jars and let your fireflies free to blink away in the darkness.

2. Start a garden! All you need is potting soil, a pot, and some seeds. Whether you want to grow some veggies or herbs or a pretty pot of flowers, your kids will delight in watching their plants sprout and grow. Don’t forget to water your sprouts often!

3. Play in the sprinkler! I have great memories of running through the sprinkler as a girl, shrieking as the chilly water splashed across my body. When my kids were little, they loved it just as much. Get a baby pool or water slide for even more wet fun.

4. Climb a tree! There’s something magical about climbing a tree and hiding in the boughs behind a green curtain. The texture of the bark, the fresh smell of the leaves, the dappled rays of sun that scatter across your skin—it’s truly a sensory experience.

5. Toss a ball! Playing catch is part of growing up. Whether you play catch with a softball and a mitt or throw a football or toss a Frisbee, these are all great activities for honing skills, improving hand-eye coordination, and getting a workout.

6. How about a hula hoop or a jumprope? These old-fashioned toys are still tons of fun and get your kids outside and moving around. Have a competition among family members. How many times can you skip rope without faltering?

7. Chalk the walk! Your kids can get in touch with their inner Van Gogh as they create masterpieces on the sidewalk. If they don’t know where to start, suggest some iconic buildings like the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal. Get pictures from the Internet and then talk about the buildings and where they are and what they mean.

8. Blow bubbles! Get creative with wands and make big oval bubbles or lots of tiny bubbles. Celebrate your bubble universe with some sparkling soda and popcorn. Pop-pop. Get it?

I wish for you and your kids a happy, carefree summer. Put those screens away and live in the moment. You won’t regret it!      

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and co-publisher of Tidewater Family and Tidewater Women magazines. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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