Learn to enjoy the simple things in life
Pandemic a perfect chance for parents to share own childhood summer memories
Organized sports, camps, scheduled vacations and endless playdates have long been summer staples in our house. However, this year, because of the pandemic, our school break is looking a lot different. On the surface, there is much that has been lost due to COVID-19, but if we step back and take another look, we will realize that we have all gained many things too.
Over the past few weeks, I've been thinking a lot about the slower, free-range summers of my childhood, and I decided to embrace this opportunity to give my kids a different kind of summer this year.
Structured activities are great, but the lazy days of summer are the perfect time for kids to assert their independence and engage in free play. Parents benefit from being able to take a break from planning and entertaining, and kids learn decisionmaking skills, negotiating skills, how to build relationships, and how to use their imaginations and foster their creativity. An old-fashioned summer can be good for everyone's physical and mental well-being.
In case you forget, the following is a refresher course on the experiences of an “old school” 1970s/1980s summer:
• They looked like: No schedule, neighbourhood freedom, no electronics, playing outside, spending time with cousins, swimming, biking, playing hide and seek until dusk, flashlight tag, building forts, fishing, dancing in the rain in bathing suits, splashing in puddles and plastic pools, blowing bubbles, making mud pies, reading books outside, cloud watching, star gazing, hanging out in someone's shed/clubhouse, trading stickers, tenting in the yard, catching fireflies, slip and slides in the backyard, roller skating, catching frogs, old school lawn darts and hopscotch.
• They tasted like: Family meals, drinking from the hose, watermelon seed spitting contests, boiled hotdogs, bologna or PB&J sandwiches in the yard, homemade ice cream and popsicles, frozen chocolate covered bananas, Kool-Aid and Tang, lemonade in styrofoam cups, halfcooked cakes made in Easy Bake Ovens, penny candy from the corner store and rocket popsicles.
• They smelled like: Washing your hair with shampoo in the lake (which totally counted as a bath), smoke from bonfires, newly picked berries, fresh cut grass and salty ocean air.
• They felt like: Warm sun, light rain, ocean breezes, sunburns, itchy bug bites, bare feet in the soft grass and shockingly cold water from a sprinkler.
• They sounded like: Jump rope rhymes, neighbourhood kids “calling” for each other, the bell from the Dickie Dee bike, kids yelling red rover, red rover or Simon says, Casey's top 40 on a Sunday afternoon, clapping games like Miss Mary Mac and parents hollering when it was time to come home.
It may have taken a pandemic, but I think we are all learning the value of slowing down and enjoying the simple things in life. We have lost many things during this difficult and unprecedented time, but I am extremely grateful for this chance to give my kids a taste of what childhood used to be. Gina Bell writes the East Coast Mommy column, which runs every second week. Follow her blog at www. EastCoastMommy.com
Without modern day conveniences, childhood in the summer was simpler in the 1970s and 1980s.
COVID-19 has given parents the opportunity to share simpler summer activities from their own childhoods with kids, like flying a kite.