Friday, 14 August 2015

Beaches & Splashpads, Picnics & Parks

The entire focus of my life is my family: spending time together, making memories together, sharing moments and experiences and learning and growing together. I try to make the absolute most of my time with my kids while they are still kids. 

I work a job with hours that lets me raise my kids myself instead of sending them to daycare. I spend my time with them actually with them - playing a board game together, going for a bike ride together, working together to build a Lego or sandbox or toilet-roll-and-construction-paper city. Even if it's just a popping-in-a-movie-and-curling-up-on-the-couch kind of day, I curl up and watch with them. There is nothing more important to me than spending time and making memories with my kids while they are still kids.

Because of this focus on quality family time and making memories we often find ourselves scheduling outings and field trips - expensive excursions like Ripley's Aquarium and Canada's Wonderland and the CNE; inexpensive outings to the botanical garden, swimming at the public pool, picking fruit at the local farm; free community events like Music in the Park and outdoor theatre and special holiday events; and our family field trip traditions like the zoo and the Science Centre and all our favourite local fairs and festivals.

This summer, though, in part because we are so busy with baseball and soccer every evening of the week and in part because we needed some time to decompress after an extra hectic and stressful spring, we've not done much in the way of field tripping at all. We've hit no amusement parks or museums. After the round of late spring and end-of-school festivals and celebrations we haven't been to a single festival or fair. We're been to the library, but not for any of the special events or craft activities - just to take out books.

Our summer has been very unscheduled, unstructured, unplanned. (Except for sports, of course!)
And it has been lovely.

We spend most mornings lazing about and the rest of our days outdoors. Bubbles and water balloons in the backyard. Soccer and baseball at the park. Hide and seek and tag at the playground. Bike riding and rollerblading through the neighbourhood and the ravine. Running through the sprinkler, sliding on the Slip N' Slide.

We wandered over to the splash pad for a few afternoons of water play and rode the scooters over to the new skate park a couple of times to try some tricks. A wrong turn coming home from a tournament led us to discover a tiny beach not ten minutes from home and we've since spent several sunny afternoons playing in the sand. And a picnic lunch on the grassy hill at the park just behind our back gate is one of our favourite ways to while away the lunch hour - without any planning or travel or expense.

There have been a few days consumed completely by board games and video games and the furthest we've ventured from the living room has been to pick the vegetables for dinner from the back garden. During that stretch in July when the humidex hovered above forty degrees and the air conditioning was running non-stop and it was just too hot to go outside there was a day we stayed in our jammies, pulled the drapes shut, popped bowl after bowl of popcorn and watched movies all day.

And we are having just as much fun this summer as we ever have before.

Memories are made from the moments we share, not the activities we plan or the money we spend.

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