Summer Vacation: Don't Overthink It and Don't Overdo It

Yesterday I took the kids to North Park for some bike riding and pool swimming. Laurel recently learned to ride a bike, but our neighborhood is really too busy for a five year old to ride safely in. And the next neighborhood over appears to be safer, but two years ago I saw an 8 year old kid on a bike get crushed by an SUV (he survived, but had pretty serious injuries), so I'm a little wary about that street, too. I figured we could get some street riding practice in - as well as braking practice - on the loop around the Pie Traynor field. Lots of senior citizens were out walking, and were luckily amused by Laurel's exuberant use of her bell as she practiced passing "On your left!" Marko rode along in the trailer and cheered us on whenever there was the slightest incline. He also greeted every dog.

After the bike ride, they played at one of the many shaded playgrounds and then we went to the pool. I wondered immediately why I wasn't totally grossed out by swimming pools as a kid. But Laurel and Marko loved it, and since the baby pool was only 2 feet deep and really big, I could relax somewhat instead of constantly preventing my non-swimming children from sinking to the bottom and drowning. I feel kind of bad about Laurel not knowing how to swim yet and it's one of the items on our summer list.

This video is old, but I like it. I'm going to try this approach, and if it doesn't work, then I'll seek some professional help. But I've heard from way too many parents that they've taken their kids to lessons and their kids still don't swim very well, so I don't want to waste my money.

One of the things I wanted to make sure that the kids had this summer (and always) is plenty of unstructured time to play, especially outdoors. This is really important during the preschool years, and I actually think this is a bigger influence on the development of vocabulary and comprehension skills later on than anything academic you do. What you read is never really about just what's on the page. Any experience you can draw on to make a comparison or connection helps to make sense of the words.

So, I remind myself that learning to ride a bike, splashing in a pool, climbing the slides at the playground and digging in the dirt in the front yard are doing great things for them.

The other important lesson we learned from yesterday's outing is that Marko really needs to take a nap from about 12 to 2. Also, it's just dumb for fair-skinned people to be out in the sun from 12 to 2. So, for the rest of the summer, I'll be more careful about getting home in time for lunch and nap, and planning our outdoor activities for either the morning or late afternoon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When you come to visit, we can visit my friend who has a farm. She has horses and I'm not sure what other animals. If you come in late July, the French family will be back in the Recycled House. Four very sweet French speaking children, about 12 down to 7.