You would think with gorgeous blue Carolina skies and temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s it would be ripe time for outdoor playtime…and you would be right. However due to car travel time, errand running, and free zoo (aka petstore) visiting, our time together was a bit shorter and other evening activities (Tae Kwon Do, Bee-Late Egg Hunt et al) would call on gkids to be awake to participate. Therefore indoor play today.
Calling the boys over to our dining room table, otherwise known as “craft city,” I started the boys off with a “What would you like to do this year?” activity. Getting blank looks I explained their cousin, Analise, had put together a list of things she wanted and liked to do as well as places she wanted to visit. I saw a light go on in Isaiah’s eyes and he wrote down “Zoo.” Jeremiah started throwing out his ideas of Greensboro Science Center and playgrounds. Isaiah put down his pen and started rattling off things and soon both boys were keeping my writing hand in furious motion. The list? See the bottom of this epistle for what they came up with…my learning from this activity? It’s hard to envision what to do when you only have 4 and 7 years of life experience (though I expected some crazy TV “reality” show type responses as well).
Thus ended the first 10 minutes of indoor play (setting a timer made it more real for the boys). Next on the Adventures with Pa was an idea my wife, Cheryl, had: create a “vision” board using magazine cut-outs and glue to paste them on a piece of cardboard or construction paper. When I explained this and set the timer again for about 12 minutes, the boys were confused. I then showed them the magazines and said, “If you wanted to see something, do something, experience something, OR if there are activities you think may be of interest, go through some of the magazines and cut those pictures out.” That got them going.
I started asking them the parental “Why did you cut that particular picture out?” but soon learned not all pictures had a verbally explicit reason for the “why” question but those that did have answers were surprising (people in boat – because I want to go in a boat; person standing in a cave – because I want to climb and go in caves). When the timer went off, Isaiah was ready to put down his scissors and move on to the next adventure; Jeremiah wanted to cut a few more pictures out so we waited for him to cut those out.
It was then time for a physical activity (did one visualization then one tactile and now physical). It was time for – insert drumroll here – indoor badminton! No, I am not crazy. Using a couple of dollar store soft-sided rackets and balloons, we were soon batting balloons back and forth in the living room. After taking videos in slow motion, the boys watched the movie and marveled as they hit the balloons and noted how the balloons rose from the rackets. The solo badminton activity was “how many times can you bounce the balloon up in the air without letting it drop?” and soon a contest ensued.
Time passed quickly and soon it was time to put the rackets down, gather up belongings and head to their evening activities. Though we didn’t have a lot of time, the boys enjoyed each new experience. Below are the “Attraction Notes” keeping the same format but only filling out ones that are applicable.
Asking the boys to come up with a list of things to do this year and then following it up with a “Vision Board” activity made me realize one thing…I have not done that. What would be on my list this year? What would I cut out and put on a vision board but more importantly why would I choose those magazine pictures? Would setting a timer and coming into this activity from a creative perspective change how “difficult” it seems to start or focus on? Would my real answers to both activities surprise or excite me (and others)? Hmmm…
- Link: none
- Location: our home
- Cost: $3 for rackets and balloons
- What did the kids like/dislike: At first the visioning and magazine cutting was deemed “boring” but once they got into thinking about things and looking in the magazines, they dove right in. Though the gkids were not aware of it they will be gluing their pictures onto a cardboard during our next indoor adventure. Indoor badminton was a huge hit and will be repeated anytime the weather is intolerable.
- Kids opinion of it: Thumbs up!!
- What to do: tis written above
- New places to eat along the way: we did stop at PDQ for our meal while doing errands. 50:50 for the boys today thought they have gone there before and loved the food.
- Discoveries: 1) Using a timer is really, really helpful. It keeps all of us focused and sets expectations but also allows the gkids the luxury of doing an activity longer than the timer and not feel too bad (it surprised them how fast time flew by); 2) Getting over initial resistance to an activity requires some creativity, story-telling and just saying “let’s just do this for 5 minutes and see how it goes”; and 3) As always any gkid response to a “Why?,” “How come?” or “What about that?” question is a surprise if the question is not shirked with a typical “I don’t know” or “Because” response.
- Difficulty of getting around: none
- Return? Duh…
- Restrooms? Second duh…
“The List” (to be amended as time marches on)
Both boys (the “Oh yeah, I wanna do that too!” list):
- Greensboro Science Center
- Winston-Salem Science Center (aka Kaleideum North)
- Bike riding
- NC Zoo
- Trampoline Park
- Boat riding
- Sprinkler, water guns, noodle obstacle course (all things outside and wet!)
- iPad day (yes, they did ask for a whole day of just playing video games!)
- Movie Day
- Junk Food day (this one ain’t happening…I think 😉 )
- Bug catching
- Creek walking
- Harmon Park
- Roller Skating
- Rock climbing