When we travel to our summer destination, I have to pack very carefully. No matter what I tell myself, what incentives not to buy a thing Jeff gives me, every year I go back home with a lot more things than I left. We always return with new clothes, a few toys, and yes, you guessed right, books. Tons and tons of books. Before I came to Corpus Christi, I had prepared my pile of books to read, thinking that I could read things online (there’s always Wikipedia, and ebooks). The thing is, I didn’t have Internet for the first three weeks. So I read, and I read. Before I knew it, my pile had dwindled to one book. I decided to re-read Harry Potter (see? I can’t post a thing without naming him!), but after one (or two) trips to Barnes and Noble, now I have a nice new pile to work on.
I usually bring just enough outfits to last all summer, and the kids bring their Nintendo and Littlest Pets, but there are many times we are bored out of our minds. The first few days in a new town (if we have a car) we go exploring. We’ve been to the museum, aquarium, USS Lex, etc. But, everywhere we went we had to pay an entrance fee, and there are five of us. Lucky for us, this year we live close to the beach. We go to the beach a couple of times a week. We’d go everyday, but I’m already so dark that if I don’t open my eyes and I don’t talk, Jeff can’t see me at night. So, we tried going after 5. Well, Gorgeous Boy got stung by a jellyfish, and he is scared out of his wits because he realized that indeed, living tings inhabit the waters.
When we don’t g to the beach, there is always the pool. We’ve been going to the pool pretty much every day except Sunday because my friends A. and P. don’t have a car in the afternoons. Their husbands need it to work.
We have fun at the pool, at least our afternoons pass quickly when we are in the water. On our first day here I bought the kids life jackets and foam noodles. They have foam balls and their imaginations. They swim like fish by now.
But at the pool I get still darker, if that’s possible, and sometimes I just don’t feel like seating there for hours watching the kids.
It’s time for old-fashioned toys then. Among the few things I buy is a jump rope and chalk. The kids and I jump rope and play hopscotch. Sometimes they draw on the tennis courts. With a ball the kids play futbol, of course, and one-square two-square. They play all kids of things, with a $5 princess ball we got at the store.
Another favorite inexpensive game is “elastic.” I got a little package of elastic (about 4 yards) and I tie the ends. Then we play jumping games that I’ve taught the children. Talking with my Latina friends, I found out that each country has its own little songs and steps for elastic. No wonder we were all so athletic when we were little. We jumped all day. It’s amazing to see how high the kids jump, and how much time they spend making up steps and songs for the game.
Luckily the kids will go back to school and teach their friends.
When the jump rope, elastic, hopscotch and ball become boring, there are always trees to climb. There is a park that has a pond with turtles and the craziest geese and seagulls I’ve ever seen. They’re used to people feeding them, so once they smell stale bread, they swarm around you until not even the crumbs are left. We’ve been to the park several times, and the kids love to play in the merry-go-round and slide down the hot plastic slide when we run out of bread for the birds. Sometimes, no matter where you are, how many toys we have, the most fun things to play with are regular every day things, like plastic laundry hampers, shoe boxes and blankets.
This is a picture of a ship Swan created. She and the little ones played there for days (Gorgeous was completely immersed into HP, trying to finish the book before we watched the movie), doing acrobatics not to fall into the water (which was the carpet). They had so much fun playing ship wreck that they’ve already ask permission to recreate the game back home.
The rest of the time, there are books and movies (we found a wonderful dollar theater. Wonderful not because it’s really nice, but because it’s only $1). The kids also collect treasures, like broken shells and sand dollars, feathers, even the shell of a tiny egg. They play the most amazing things. Nonstop. Because when all is said and done, the thing they need the most, they always carry around with them. In them. Their imaginations. Imagination and time is all a child needs to be happy. Yes, good food is important, and love. As long as they have an imagination children will be entertained.
Still, when we go finally go home, I feel like it’s Christmas morning in July. The children run around the house, followed by the little feet of two happy dogs. They squeal in delight to be able to jump in the trampoline, and play with their dolls, ride their bikes and scooters. When we go home, we realize how blessed we are, how much the Lord has given us, and we appreciate things better. And we enjoy them.
What do you do in the summers to keep kids, and yourself, entertained?