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Summer is winding down
August 15, 2011
by Jenni Sebora

Summer is winding down, and with that are the words, “I want school to start, Mom.”

My oldest daughter, who is starting middle school, has shared that sentiment with us a few times. It actually is music to a parent’s ears, especially when one of the parents is a teacher. You really do want your children to enjoy school. Now, is my daughter anxious to hit the books and homework again?

Well, not exactly. She can’t wait to see all of her friends. She is a social girl and misses the daily socialization with all of her friends. I am happy about that. She has done various activities with different friends throughout the summer, but she can’t wait to see them all in one place at one time.

Summer has done its job. It has provided a good balance of relaxation, fun, activities, and some boredom. With organized summer sports and other activities over, the time for just plain down-home fun is now underway. This means some creative thought sometimes.

We have a stream running by our property that actually runs into the Crow River. The past few days and evenings, all three of my children and a few of their friends have made their way to a spot in the stream where they are creating what they call a Zen oasis. They actually describe it as a beaver dam that was constructed by them and not a beaver.

With shovel in hand, every couple of hours, they head to the stream to continue work on their project. I have joined them a few times to view the busy “beavers” at work. They have been busy digging mud, piling the mud, rocks and sticks in varied spots along the stream to create various waterfall affects along the way. Each person has their task to create this natural wonder.

Living near wildlife, with some openness and property, certainly provides an environment for imagination and fun. It gives me great pleasure to watch my children and their friends indulge in healthy, creative fun. These are the memories that will stay with them as they continue to grow up.

As summer is winding down, I am glad that my children are emotionally and mentally getting excited for school to begin once again. But I am also glad that they are engaging in some down-home summer fun, with nature at the heart of their fun.

Organized activities are certainly beneficial, but play is just as important. In this world of schedules and deadlines and time lines and organized activities, it is even more crucial that we allow our children time to indulge in play and relaxation. It helps our children know how to balance work with relaxation and fun. This is extremely important. We know, as parents, how busy our worlds are and how sometimes we forget to “take a breather,” relax, have fun. Our children need to learn how to identify when they may be feeling stressed or just when they need to relax. This is a life skill.

Play also helps a child develop his or her own sense of identity and interests. It helps them learn about the world around them.

As summer is coming to an end and the busyness of school will soon be underway again, time spent in play is vital, for adults alike.