There are so many amazing activities, playgrounds, splash parks in Edmonton that I can forget that fun in the summer doesn’t have to mean leaving our backyard. A few days ago, little dude had enough exploring and insisted (loudly with foot-stomping) that he was NOT. LEAVING. HIS. HOUSE. When little dude followed that announcement by immediately stripping down to his underwear, I realized that he was serious. WE. WERE. NOT. LEAVING. THE. HOUSE. Luckily, I was well-stocked with everything we needed to have a blast at home.
- Just add water: Have a big backyard? Turn on the sprinkler. Tiny backyard? Fill up the biggest containers you have and put them outside. No yard? Fill spray bottles with water and let the kids loose on the balcony or sidewalk. Too cold to be outside? Middle of the day bath. The minute we add water to our day, it opens up so many possibilities.
- Get messy: We had a little bit of paint left in our craft bin so we took it outside where I armed the boys with paint brushes and set minimal limits. Within an hour, their toys were painted, they were painted and our sidewalk was a work of art. Clean up was a breeze – I just handed them a bucket of soapy water and walked away.
- Just bring food: First snack of the day, we ate on a blanket picnic-style. Later in the day, the boys set up a snack stand and sold each other goldfish crackers and glasses of water. The snack stand went from a McDonald’s drive-thru to a sit-down restaurant and all I had to do was order exactly what they told me to order.
- Science experiment: A staple in my house is baking soda and vinegar. When the weather is nice, I set the boys up with a bucket of each and their own section of dirt and let them build volcanos over and over again.
- Bring the inside out: The first time big dude asked to bring Lego outside, I imagined chaos but I agreed with a few rules. We set up a space away from the grass and only one bucket/kid was allowed. With little dude, he prefers to bring his matchbox cars outside so he can chase ants.
- Stay out of their way: Last year, I started letting my boys play in the backyard while I stayed in the kitchen – with a window that overlooked the yard– it was a good way to give them space to figure out how to play together. Now, even if I’m outside, I try not to get too involved in what they are doing even if they means that there are moments of screaming and fighting and tears.
Both of my boys like to get out and explore but it needs to be balanced with an equal amount of time at home. Remember the six broad ideas listed above, I can mix and match activities and still have a full, fun day without going further than our backyard.
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