Let them Get Dirty!
We have already felt the first hints of summer here in Pawling. The greenery is lush, the mosquitoes have found us, and we have enjoyed several pleasantly warm evenings. School is almost out and before you know it, the kids will be back in the house, rolling their eyes, whining about their deep torturous boredom and wanting to be entertained by you, by the TV, by the video games.
Remember back when we were kids and we had to entertain ourselves? Remember when it was completely normal and expected for the kids to play outside all day…no cares of Lyme disease, of Ultraviolet damage, under no pressure to remain clean. For sure, our children are growing up in a different time, and the dangers we obsess about are real, but we should not deny our children the wonder and adventure of free-spirited outdoor play.
So, this summer, I challenge you to join me in my quest for recreating an old fashion, slow paced, country summer. Let your children play outside every day. Let them get dirty every day. Let them run through puddles. Let them climb trees. Let them jump into the kiddy pool fully dressed. Let them help you in the garden, even if that means they will be covered from head to toe in soil. Mmmm…mud pies! You will laugh just as hard as they will when you squirt them clean with the hose. Set up the sprinkler. Play kickball and croquet. Let them roll down hills in a dizzy gigglefest. Chase fireflies together. Eat lots of ice pops and watermelon. Make s’mores by a crackling fire. Squeeze lemons for homemade lemonade. Bring the sidewalk chalk and paints outside. Blow bubbles. Go deep into the woods and feel the cool of the forest. Go berry picking. Taste the warm, sweet wild strawberries, blueberries and blackcaps that all grow naturally here in Pawling. Leave a tent up in the yard all summer…it will become a cave, a pirate ship, a castle. Sleep outside as a family, at least just once, and listen quietly for the hoot of an owl or the song of the tree frogs. And let’s do our best to give our children time to run and be really free in nature, even if you are keeping a secret close watch.
We all have our own special summer memories and we shouldn’t forget that the simple, summer pleasures can be just as entertaining, if not more, than the high tech activities our children have become so used to. So, slather on the sun block and do a good tick check at night, but don’t let anything stop you and your kids from enjoying getting good and dirty while playing outside.
I wish you all a happy and safe summer!
This article is sponsored by a generous donation from M&S of Pawling. http://www.mandsofpawling.com/