While I’m no Tiger Mom, and my kids aren’t over scheduled, they do have a lot going on during the school year. They go to school until about 3 and then most of them have after-school basketball, judo, art and other activities. And this means that they are generally on the go and occupied.
When summer started, I realized that my younger four kids would all be getting home from camp at 1:30. And then what, I thought to myself? In the heat of the day, we weren’t going to be hanging out at the park. We weren’t racing to get to a pool or to do any other activities out of the yishuv that cost money. So, while trying to quell my panic, I tried to imagine what in the world we would do for three to four hours each afternoon before it cooled down enough to go to the park.
As the last day of camp wraps up today, I am in awe of my kids and proud to see how they’ve spent their afternoons. Yes, they asked to be on the computer some of the time and they tried to sneak in videos and electronic games. But for the most part, they just hung out. And relaxed. And played. And did art projects.
When was the last time that most of us let kids just be kids…and learn to chill in their own homes and relax? The month was a great lesson in bringing life down a few octaves and in learning to be in our own home without over-stimulation.
Here are some of the things we did.
Zeli, who loves art projects, unearthed an art activity book that I used with Matan about 13 years ago. And in the afternoons, he made penguins.
He made a bookcase that now sits in the hallway for all of his special books.
|Perhaps not the prettiest bookcase, but made with heart and soul!|
And on and on.
Eliav and I played games. We love Perpetual Commotion, so we played that a lot. We played a bit of Sudoku. And he checked his email and practiced his English writing by responding to family emails.
Amichai loves to cook. So he whipped up some great lunches. We had pancakes and French toast. We had potato salad and mashed potatoes (ok…no one said it was healthy food… but it was food!)
And he also found tutorials on YouTube for drawing and made this:
And Yakir? Well, Yakir is just Yakir. And that means that Superman, Batman, Wolverine and every other man ever invented visited our house this month. And when they weren’t visiting, he was playing with Lego, blowing bubbles and jumping rope .
And then there was the afternoon when they decided to create a band. I think the video speaks for itself...
Here are a few more videos including solos!
We have a little inflatable pool, and I didn’t even take it out this month. They just learned to hang out...and it was quite beautiful.
Were there moments when they were screaming at each other? Throwing things? Having tantrums about wanting the computer and wanting some activity?
Well, of course.
But that’s all part of the learning curve and the process.
I look forward to seeing if we can sustain some of this feeling of down time during the school year.
We’ll see how it goes.