Outdoor Kids: The Space In Between

Now that the kids are in school, it seems like we make space in between our scheduled lives to make sure we have fun outside.

In the morning, the kids are motivated to get ready quickly so they can have a game of four square together. My seven year-old taught us how to play. But it doesn’t really matter if you know the game – my kids change the rules all the time. Simply draw four large squares in chalk and bounce a ball back and forth.

After school, my five-year-old runs out back to see what we have growing in our pots where we planted vegetables. The pepper plant that we planted in May is still giving us peppers in September. Our mesclun mix seeds that we planted only three weeks ago have grown sufficiently to provide us with salad for supper.

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On the way to soccer practice, I toss my kids a set of Curiosity Cards, which I keep in the car. My five-year-old loves to pick out which card we’ll talk about next and my seven-year-old reads them, which keeps the conversation fun and focused on what we like to do outside.

After my husband gets home, it’s four square again until it gets dark. Even after my husband goes inside, I stay outside with the kids. Our four square becomes tennis, and we get distracted looking at bugs and slugs and the other creatures who come out at night. And then we look up, at the moon and the stars, and talk about what we see.

Whether in the car, in between practices, or just waiting around, make the most of your time together. It’s amazing what my kids notice, what we talk about, and how much fun we have in the spaces between our scheduled lives.

Rebecca P. Cohen is Founder and President of Rebecca Plants LLC, is a gardening and outdoor lifestyle company that inspires families to be outside and improve their well being. For her weekly online video series, “Get Out of the House” as well as Starla J. King’s guest blog series “Savoring Summer,” visit http://www.rebeccaplants.com.

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Published: October 1, 2009