Do kids have fun anymore?

It’s the first of the month and we aren’t allowed to do anything until the system comes back up again, maybe Wednesday soooo I have a free range mind probably in one part, because I was a free range child. A friend and I were talking about all the fun we had as kids and no one ever told us not to do anything that was within reason. Of course, that definition of “within reason” seems to have altered drastically in the past 40 years or so. Things that we took for granted we could do would get our parents arrested for negligence now. We had fun, do kids growing up now have fun? It doesn’t look like it.

When I think of the things we did like playing Hide and Go Seek after dark which in LA was around 8 and using the entire neighborhood as a playing field was considered the main event for a summer night or my dad’s gentler version of capture the flag that took place between driveways and the dads refereeing.

We went hiking all over the mountains behind our houses and met a few things like snakes and teenagers having sex in the bushes and didn’t stop what we were doing. We were on some imagined mission of high importance like seeking gold or the Holy Grail.

We used to con some parental unit into buying us blocks of ice at the local ice vendor and take a washcloth to melt into the top. It became a toboggan on the long grassed inclines at the neighborhood park on really hot days. You went sailing down the hillside if you stayed on and if you didn’t you got a fun roll down the hill sometimes beating the ice block to the bottom.

We walked to the store, we walked to the park, we walked to school. My neighborhood was really steep so biking could be a bit scary and so was skateboarding. I walked to my best friend’s house who lived a little over a mile away and took back alleys sometimes because it was just a cool way to go. Our mom walked us everywhere once and then we were expected to be able to do it ourselves. They trusted us to not be stupid and get in a car with someone we didn’t know and to run like hell if we needed to.

We walked down to the village and got ice cream or candy like big Charms suckers or sunflower seeds and cruised the 5 and Dime to see if there were any new toys like squirt guns or those rings that twirled and whistled when you blew on them.

We played on teeter-totters and slides and merry-go-rounds, good luck even find those now and it has grass underneath, most of time it had sand or asphalt under it. If you fell you got back up and did it again and then went home and got Bactine and a bandaid. Some kids were in Little League or like my sister in softball leagues. Sometimes we took swimming lessons and my dad made us go to summer school for 6 weeks but that left 6 more weeks to climb mountains or roll down hillsides. We usually had a week of camp stuck in there somewhere, music camp, church camp, Camp Fire or Girl Scouts.

We had fun, we had fun all summer long. I don’t think kids have fun anymore. They wait until someone schedules a time to play. That sounds like work to me.

New Google Doodle Honors Anna Atkins, Photography Pioneer

Thank you Anna, Sunprinting was one of my favourite things to do with the kids when I was an Arts and Crafts director, now it’s hard to get the blue print paper to do it. It made this Naturalist/Botanist very happy to share it with the Scouts. Happy Birthday Anna!

Things to do when the power goes out

Things to do with children when the power goes out in a storm.

I know some people are about to be trapped with small children and no technology to entertain them so how about some ideas from my childhood.

1) Hie yourself to the nearest bookstore and toy shop if you don’t already own these:
a) Some Madlibs books.
b) Crossword puzzles
c) Jigsaw puzzles

Depending on the age of the children
i) Battleship – On graph paper if you still have some, that’s how I learned to play
ii) CandyLand
iii) Do the still make Green Ghost that glowed in the dark?
iv) Mouse trap
v) Dominoes or Mahjong
vi) Sorry
vii) Parcheesi
viii) Chinese Checkers or checkers

e) Books to read aloud by flashlight or Coleman lanterns
f) Paper mache or felt crafts – time for finger puppet theater – build a theater too
g) Teach them to knit or crochet –even the boys can make a scarf or cool hat
h) Organize collections and label them in cigar boxes – trip to the local smoke shop
i) Teach them to embroider
j) Beginning baking like biscuits or an easy cookie. See the recipe key word on blogs assuming you don’t have electric stoves. You can make cookies and even bread on a Coleman stove but not without ventilation for the stove.
k) Visit Michaels or your local craft store – Pick up a make your own moccasin kit, some plaster to paint, beads and fishing line for friendship bracelets, origami paper and a book on how to fold them, make plaster of paris masks of the strips for making casts.
l) Plan a scavenger hunt in the house.
m) Play I Spy
n) Hide and seek
o) Make a journal and write the story of the storm or make a newspaper telling the story
p) Write the story of the storm from the point of view of your pet or an animal outside
q) Make a fort in the living room
r) Set up a store with earned credits for good behaviour during the storm for things like not whining, helping do things, being creative. The store should have special treats that are not normally in the everyday. You can use the stocking stuffers you’ve been stockpiling for Yule.
s) Play Kim’s Game
t) Play a hidden object game – have the kids go out of the room. Change 10 things – they have to be able to name all 10 things that were changed.
u) Learn the different kinds of clouds and what they do, learn what winds from the different directions do or bring. Does rain come from the north or south in your area.
v) Learn the colours of leaves that go with the deciduous trees such as Gingko’s turn yellow and persimmons turn orange in fall. Just because you are stuck inside doesn’t mean you can’t learn about nature.
w) Take a shoe box and write down animal names, draw an animal’s name and be that animal for an hour. Might want to go easy on the ones like Howler Monkeys.
x) Design a new house that could be under the sea, in a cave, in a tree, etc

I’m going to try to learn something new, oy!

I’ve decided I want to learn another craft so I ordered crochet hooks and some yarn and a Kindle book on how to do it. There’s no one left in the family who knows how and no one close by as far as I know, knows how to do it. I just talked to a work friend and it turns out she wants to learn too and neither of us knew the other was thinking about it so we decided the first one to figure it out shows the other if possible.

So hopefully I can figure it out and it’s easier than the knitting class I failed in 7th grade which is my personal annus horriblis. That was the year our CampFire Leader and our parents decided to send us to Charm School, knitting classes and Bowling and I failed at all of them and failed big.  And that doesn’t even cover how awful school was my first year in Junior High.

Webb’s Charm School for a baby dyke was a unique form of torture and I really didn’t care how to float up and down stairs like a lady and I had just started to finally grow and had no control over various gangly body parts and the finale fashion show was falling flat on my face in front of the whole dept store audience in an outfit I looked terrible in, a peach sweater and skirt set that made me look yellow. I couldn’t walk with a book on my head nor did I want to do it. I’m sure we were presented with other things to learn how to be ladies but I have blocked it out. We puny 7th graders were sent with a 9th grade troop that loved to lord it over us and teased us that they were swans and we were the ugly ducklings. It was 8 weeks of hell at Glendale’s chi chi dept store that’s only saving grace for me was that they carried Pendeleton products.

This was followed by knitting lessons by a woman that insisted we learn by watching what she was doing and I can’t learn that way. I finally took the book home and followed the pictures and ended up knitting one awful pink slipper. I hate pink, she picked the colours and they must have been what was on sale up stairs in the Sears notion section. She kept yelling at me for not learning which really didn’t help. I hated the old trout. The only good thing about the whole fiasco was access to the candy and nut counter on meeting days. It’s the only place I know that sold mothball candy.

And Bowling is not where you send the kid with no depth perception. It was 8 weeks of futility with a final exam of 2 games. I had a combined score of 11. When you can’t see in a dark bowling alley you have no colour clues as to distance. I failed miserably. I do not bowl, ever! Grand Central Bowl doesn’t exist anymore and it was down the street from Grand Central Airport that was Amelia Earhart’s airfield which I thought was very cool and is now a historical landmark.

So, I have decided to learn to crochet, heaven help me.