Summer holidays are not even here yet and I am hearing that lament from my kids. In an effort to stimulate them to creative play I started naming off some fun things I did with my brother when we were kids. As it turned out, most of the things I thought of, I hesitated to recommend. In this bubble-wrapped, politically correct, helmet-wearing, booster seat (until you are 9!)-using society, games like ‘stretch‘ and ‘cowboys and indians‘ don’t fit in.
When we were bored we parachuted off the swings-until a kid split her head open when the swing came back and nailed her. We played stretch until an adult saw how close the knife in the ground was to our feet. We watched the brave ‘Tommy M.’ climb the roof of our school to get the rubber balls that were up there. Once, the janitor climbed up after him and the two of them ran around the roof, the latter chasing the former until the former climbed down the water pipe. At home, my brother and I rode the horses bare-back, without saddles or bridles. It was fun until the horses had enough and started running off with us hanging on to their manes and wishing for glue so our pants would ‘stick’. When we saddled up, we often took them and jumped them over the empty ditches made deeper every spring from the run-off. Other favourites were hiding in the 4 foot tall grass, catching snails and frogs in our pond, and making up maps to hidden treasures on the farm. We carved those maps right into the bark of the poplar trees in special places.
160 acres of pasture and hay was our home. It was a kid’s paradise and if our parents worried at all, they never let on. Outside everyday, even when the temperature was well below freezing and the snow drifts over our heads, we made up all sorts of stories and created the objects to go with them.
Now, when my kids say they are bored and ask me for suggestions, I know what I’d like to tell them. “Go outside and play”. Should we have to say more?