I feel sorry for kids today. For all the things they have, they’re really missing out. Call me old fashioned or maybe I’m just getting older, but we had it good in the 80s. As I’ve traveled around this summer, I see very few children playing outside. What happened to building ramps out of old pieces of wood and jumping over them on your bike? What happened to homemade popsicle, hopscotch, and double dutch competitions? I suppose the only thing better than summertime was being a kid at summertime. I’m afraid today’s overexposure to video games, the endless channel lineup, and lack of true childhood imagination has left kids bored this summer.
My summers in the 80s consisted of getting up early riding my bike to a friends house and not coming home until dark. We sort of ate what we wanted, made forts in the backyard out of stuff we found in alley way or my parents shed, and drink from the water hose. Who can forget that? We didn’t have bottled water to keep us cool. We just found a water house and took a drink. When it got dark we grabbed a mason jar and ran around catching lighting bugs.
I do applaud my parents for one summer activity requirement – reading. Every summer I had to read several books. I think it helped to develop my love for reading which has continued into my adult life. In fact, I ran across one of my old “choose your own adventure” books a few weeks ago.
Today there are endless blogs, Pinterest, and articles loaded with activities for parents to do with their kids. I checked out a few of the blogs and articles and found things like elaborate trips and expensive craft projects. One idea called for buying more than a hundred pool noodles and constructing a backyard water park. I’ll admit that sounds fun, but how long will that last?
I’ll be the first to admit, I enjoy our modern conveniences. Smartphones, fast internet, and more than three television channels is enjoyable, but they certainly don’t take the place of good old-fashioned summertime fun. Perhaps its time we all unplug and make it an 80s summer. Here are a few ideas:
Take a bike ride or better yet, hike and take pictures along the way
Build a blanket fort
Play in the sprinkler or jump in puddles when it rains
Climb a tree
Have a bike race
Make ice-cream or popsicles
Have a picnic (no fast food)
Play hide & seek
Turn on some music and dance
Learn to juggle
Do a puzzle
Hand write a letter to a friend
Lastly, get some crayons and color. And by the way, it’s OK to color outside the lines too. Let your imagination run wild! Albert Einstein once said, “imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Put the phone down, turn off the TV, and go enjoy yourself!