For us, summer is marked with weekly swimming (in pools, lakes, creeks) and popsicles with friends.
Summer means staying up past bedtime to play at our neighborhood park and perfecting tree climbing skills (Jack) and mastering the slide (Isaac).
We have gone hiking as a family and Jack and Daniel have enjoyed bike rides in the cool of the evening.
Summer is the perfect time for spending a portion of every day outside. And that is just what we have done.
Last month I read an article online that has really challenged me. Why Kids Build Forts speaks to the importance of children learning through creating their own spaces.
The reason this is challenging is that I have a whole pinboard devoted to ideas of amazing things we could build in our yard some day. The board is just a collection to inspire us for when that time comes. But I am having second thoughts.
Let me clear on this, we know many people with truly amazing outdoor spaces for their kids. One of our neighbors has a tree house that spans several trees and even has a twisty slide. It is awesome and always open for any eager kid to come play.
But... I am concerned that if we build an equally amazing space in our yard, Jack will only want to play in his space. What will happen to the evenings where we gather in the park with the neighbors? What will happen to wandering in the woods across the street if he can do that in his own yard? Will will strip away the creative skills he might learn by building his own fort to his own specifications?
When Daniel was younger he built a fort in his back yard. He took me to see it when we were first dating. It was three stories high. He and a friend built the entire thing and a decade later it still stood, and he was still just as proud of it.
So while a part of us would love to mastermind the perfect fort in our own back yard for our boys, we are trying to defer to them on this. Jack talks about tree houses and forts a lot, but we kind of feel like he needs to take the lead on this.