Sunday, March 23, 2014

Are your kids too busy to play this summer?

Summer is just around the corner and parents are scrambling to find programs, classes, sports teams, and summer camps to enroll their kids to ensure they have a safe, fun, and productive family. It is a very stressful time for parents, and a competitive market for recreation providers as families spend over 55 billion dollars trying to keep their kids busy and entertained during out of school time. This year it is expected parents will spend on average $856.00 a child just on activities.

Sure wasn't like that when I was growing up! Summer time seemed pretty stress free for me and my parents. I would wake up late, eat breakfast, catch a cartoon or two, then out the door. I would hop on my bike, find my best friend (I actually had two best friends: a boy and a girl ) and not return home until dinner. 

Eating lunch was optional. Usually peanut-butter and crackers and a glass of milk at the neighbors would do the trick. We would ride our bikes to the local pond to feed the ducks or to fish, or go to the underground clubhouse to plan our attack against the kids in the next block. 

Somedays we would play baseball. All day. We would play a game we made up called "hot spot" where we had two kids playing two bases and a third kid tried to steal a base. This could go on for hours. One summer my best friend (boy) got hit in the head with a metal warm-up ring that slung off a bat and while he was playing real baseball. 

We couldn't practice our sliding and base stealing skills because he had to wear a helmet to protect his skull while it healed. We tried using a rubber ball instead of a baseball, but his mom felt our game was a little risky (moms know best). So she bought him a ping-pong table and we play that all summer.

Yes, times are different, but my parents never felt it was their responsibility to entertain me. During the summer I played on one softball team, participated in a one week Girl Scout Day Camp, put model cars together, and took guitar lesson when I was 12. The rest of time I played. 

And as far as any money that was spent on my activities? I mowed yards and earned money to help finance my hobbies. And I didn't think any thing of it.

Labels: , , , ,