It's vacation bible school week for the older kids which makes a nice little break for me and the littles to enjoy a few quiet activities in the mornings. Since I knew we would have less time to do a big theme this week, I decided to break things down a bit, enjoy this little hiccup in summer and find ways to slow down our time together, because summer is flying by. And as much as I love Autumn and Winter, there is just so much to enjoy about the freedom of summer, not limited to sunlight hours or long school days. One of the books I am re-reading is this book by Marie Sherlock :
What you may not be able to read is the subtitle but it really echos so much of what my maternal soul is calling out.
"A voluntary simplicity guide for moms, dads, and kids who want to reclaim the BLISS of childhood and the JOY of parenting."
I am determined to help my children stay children for a long time, to enjoy their youth, to be nurtured in their own environment, to be taught about life through experiences that expand their horizons and challenge their minds. Living simply isn't about doing without, or withholding things, its about a choice to seek out the things which add quality to life, living simply causes you to slow down and prioritize. Living simply reminds you of the values you wish to share and instill in your little ones. Living simply allows you to focus on what really matters.
So, here is my challenge to you if you are up for it. Set aside a time each day to explore simplicity for your family. We probably all do these things in some shape or form already. Do you read at bedtime? Do you pull out a game to play together? Do you share household chores? These are all ways to embrace part of a more simple lifestyle. In the book there are several games, so turn off the tv and try one...
Fictionary: using a dictionary, pencil and paper, one player picks an unusual word and pronounces/spells it out loud for everyone. Everyone tries to think of a definition for this new word and writes it down. Then, using the real definition - the narrator reads all the definitions aloud and you guess which one was the correct one.
Song Chain: one player begins singing a song and when someone hears a word that they know are apart of another song, that person begins singing the new song - and this continues.
Here are a few more activities:
Storytelling: take a blanket outside and have everyone lay down looking at the sky, begin describing the clouds and see what you find, then have the children begin telling stories based on the clouds, their imagination will not disappoint on this one.
Put together a puzzle as a family.
Play flashlight tag.
Build a tree-house, fort or hideout.
Enjoy a relaxing day playing an old childhood favorites of yours. Here are a few of mine.
Make your meals together. Here is what we did last night, not only was it fun and messy but it was good.
And the best part was the conversation during this time. We talked about my cooking in my childhood and younger years, we talked about eating healthy and why we make some things home-ade, we talked about our extended family, we talked about measuring, and decided it was time to check their heights again. We even had a little flour fight, and at first I wanted to make it stop knowing I would be cleaning up this white mess from all the nooks and crannies in the kitchen (and trust me sweeping the cracks on the hardwoods is not a treat) BUT, it was a moment in time when I embraced childhood for all the joy it has to offer, and watched the flying flour and listened to the endless giggles and my soul felt good. And when it was time for the cleaning, the joy overwhelmed my tired bones and the job was a delight to do. I will add these new additions to my list of 100 free things to do this summer.