Who needs expensive day trips when you can get outdoors and have fun in your own garden?
Well, that’s what I said this morning and my two little ones looked at me as though I’d gone loopy for even making that suggestion. Regardless of what they may have thought, I sent them off into the garden at midday, armed with a picnic, a blanket and an ordnance survey map of Sevenoaks and Tonbridge.
I told them to go off on an adventure. We have the secret passageway (a path that runs through the old Laurel bushes) and a trampoline, the underside of which, I said, would make a great den. See where that map of yours takes you, I said.
‘You have a really good imagination, Mum,’ my daughter said to me, clearly inspired.
I haven’t seen them since.
Well, I technically have seen them, they are safe and well, but they’ve been outside for over five hours now and the only reason they’re going to have to come back in, is when I call them in for dinner.
I thought it would give me an hours’ peace to get some work done. I certainly didn’t bank on it being all afternoon!
It’s reminded me of when I was a kid, all those many moons ago. Being indoors wasn’t an option for me, not because I wasn’t allowed, I just didn’t like it. Inside was boring, we didn’t have much to watch on television, certainly no electronics and although we had toys (things weren’t that bad), they weren’t as appealing as being outside.
Outside you could breathe. The garden meant adventures, gymnastics and playing fun games with the neighbours’ children. I used to drag out the day for as long as possible, pleading with my mum for five more minutes (yes, we knew that trick back then too). Outside meant freedom: being free from the restraints of four walls and parental rules.
Although we didn’t have much sunshine today, it was warm and dry and the perfect day for spending time outdoors. My children are definitely fair-weather types. I would struggle to get them out if it was cold or wet. I don’t remember being that way though. It didn’t matter whether it was cold, wet, sunny or dry, I would be outside.
I said I would give the children the opportunity to make their own fun this summer and I’m glad they’ve been able to experience that and reap the benefits of it. They even took a board game with them on this epic trip of theirs, so that’s numbers one and two ticked off the list of summer activity ideas in just one day.
It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it and I think the children have surprised themselves by how much fun they’ve had. Let’s hope it continues.