Embracing the Elements

I don’t know what it’s like in your part of the world, but here we have a thriving indoor playground industry going on. A place like that can be a great help when its minus 20 in February. But why have we become so reliant on them for every activity? Why do we feel it necessary to host a birthday party indoors when our child was born in July and the weather is sunny and warm? Snow, glorious snow!I live Oakville, Ontario and that’s almost as far south as you can get and still be in Canada. And I should know – I grew up next door to Point Pelee, the most southern point in the country. Point Pelee, for those who don’t know is the same latitude as parts of northern California. Anyway, the point is that it doesn’t matter where you live in Canada, the winters here are cold and long. And being “south” means that our summers can also be unbearably hot and humid.

Sadly, it’s a matter of being practical. So few of us patents have the time to make time for our kids anymore. When my son had his first birthday – in July – we hosted a BBQ party with about 40 people. That included friends and family and neighbours. Sure it was hot and warm. And sure, at that age, it was an occasion for the adults more than it was for this kids. But the point was that we got together in the backyard… not the indoor playground a mile away! It’s that kind of activity that brings us together as friends and neighbours that makes all the difference.

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2 Responses to Embracing the Elements

  1. Tracey Taylor says:

    Chris — I think many parents are almost scared of holding birthday parties and the like because the benchmark has been set so high. Bowling parties, laser-tag parties, sleeping overnight at the natural history museum parties, pirate parties aboard vintage boats. My kids, who are 9 and 12, have seen them all, both in California and in London — even when they were much younger. They don’t remember what a traditional pin the tail of the donkey and pass the parcel party is anymore. And parents are terrified of having 20 bored, blase kids on their hands.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You hit the nail right on the head in many ways, Tracey! But I wonder why it is that parents are afraid? What difference does it make what we think or do? I’ll bet that a bunch of kids playing in the yard, using their imagination, is just as interesting – to the kids – as any structured activity. My 4 year old has a great imagination and he’s often desperate to use it. When I was a kid we had a tree in the back yard that was a space ship, pirate ship, elephant and fortress all in one nifty package. If we leave our kids alone and let them play, they’ll certainly find a way to amuse themselves. And what’s so scary about that?