The Little Joys of Summer

Summer is arriving to India once more. We didn’t think we’d be here for another summer but here we are all the same. Despite the heat and daily temperatures of 30 – 32C, it isn’t technically summer yet. It’s not even technically hot yet, seeing as in a month, temperatures will reach highs of over 40C.

Since we are leaving at the end of the month, lots of prep is going on. We promised the person who bought the dining set that we’d have it varnished for them, so today the person who is working on it took all the chairs, meaning there was nowhere to sit for school time.

So I gave the kids the day off from school, and this is what they did this morning.

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I can’t think of a greater summer joy than sitting in the warm sun, wet from water play, eating a large bowl of ice-cold watermelon.

Visit to the Zoo

Today we took the kids to the Vandalur Zoo, India’s first public zoo. It is a massive place, too big to see in one go, especially with little kids walking, though daddy was the first to want to leave. Ha.

We rented a battery car, like an oversized golf cart, and he took us to the major attractions, though there were many cages he didn’t go to. I would have liked to have spent the day and walked over the whole place, and Logan and Lila would have too, but Nana could only walk so much and daddy doesn’t have patience for long outings, so we had to head home long before the kids were ready. Logan cried when we left and begged to stay longer. I guess I’ll have to take them to the small zoo that is in town and take our time, though it has fewer animals.

There isn’t much to say about the trip. Lila threw up in the car about 10 minutes into the drive, prompting Logan to cry for the rest of the trip about how scared he was. He gets scared of vomiting, why, I have no idea. We had lunch in the car that I made in the morning – salami sandwiches, carrot sticks and apples.

I still can’t get over the size of some of the animals, the porcupines especially.You can’t truly appreciate an animal’s size until you see it up close. We only saw the elephants from a distance, and Logan was distraught because we wern’t there at the time when they give rides. He really wanted to ride an elephant. Maybe next time.

You can see photos from the day here. I only have my phone camera so the animal ones aren’t so good.

A Glorious Slow Morning

Today I am linking up with Heather at The Extraordinary Ordinary for her writing meme Just Write.


Today I did something different…
I took my kids to our favorite park first thing in the morning. We left at 9 a.m. in order to “beat the heat” (38C was the predicted high), and so we could have some fun when it wasn’t crowded, which it is later in the evening.

 I found myself taking it slow today. We didn’t rush and run all over. Instead, they went on the slide as many times as they wanted and spent a good 20 minutes on the swings. My kids like to go slow on the swings and often when there is a crowd, there will be a line of kids pushing to get on and I feel like I have to rush them through their turn. Today there was none of that. The only people in our part of the playground were workmen removing some tree branches they had cut earlier. The girls got to sit and swing at their own pace and they both learned how to move the swing by themselves.
There was no rush or pressure to leave – I had nowhere to be and the house had no idea it was a mess. I put all thoughts of the waiting mess out of mind and we had fun.
Now if only I could do that every time we go.
How about you? What are your trips to the park like? Do you find yourself hurrying your child along or do you let them go at their own pace? 

Memories Captured Linkup – May

Today I am linking up with These Little Waves for their monthly photo meme.
Whether she is coloring …

wearing my shoes…

or just looking cute, she melts my heart.


Just woke up. (18 months old)

 This morning we went to the park early – left by 9 a.m. to get some time in before the real heat hit. Lila and Scarlett learned to move the swings on their own.

So cute.

He has yet to figure out how to swing.

Summer Fun – Day Camps



Excited about his first day at summer camp.

 Do you remember attending summer camps as a child? I never went to one, so I can’t speak from my own memory, but I have heard they can be fun for kids. As a child, I often wondered why parents would send their kids to a camp when the kids were free from school and had time to spend with their parents. Now that I am a parent myself, I can understand their value. Parents aren’t free just because it is summer; they still have to work. And even if a mother is home with her kids, there is only so much she can do before their fights and demands for attention and activities get to her.

Enter summer day camps. While older children might benefit from camps where they actually stay at them for a few weeks, day camps are great for the little ones. You drop them off, spend a few hours doing what you need to do, and pick them up in time for lunch and naps – at least, that is how it is working for me. Logan’s school offers day camps for children from 3 to 12 years, so we signed both Logan and Lila up for the 3 to 5 group. They have 3 hours of activities every weekday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. They started last week and the camp will last for one more week, ending on Lila’s birthday.


She was a little more hesitant.



Some of the activities they have been enjoying are dance, science projects, cooking, art projects, tae kwan do, French, and one day was a field trip to the railway museum. I like having them go because for 3 hours a day, they are completely occupied in a safe location, freeing me to catch up on housework, go shopping, relax, or whatever … at least, that was the hope. I have discovered that Scarlett has become more clingy since she lost her morning playmate and she follows me around like she is tied to me. She also wants to nurse more and insists on going outside after the others leave. Needless to say, I don’t get much done around the house as she has not yet learned to entertain herself.

Thankfully those are three hours in which I don’t have to listen to fights over who needs which toy, whose turn it is to pick the video, “mommy, I want to do this with you”, “mommy, he bit me/she hit me”, screaming, and so on. These are hours of peace that help me get through the rest of the day with them easier. Another benefit is that Lila is getting used to being with someone other than me, and since she will be attending this school come June, she will already be used to it and will hopefully settle in more quickly.

Have you ever, or do you, send your kids to day camps? What has your experience been and how has it made the summer more enjoyable for your whole family?

Outing Ideas

Do you ever feel the need to get out of the house with your child but you don’t want to go anywhere that is a big ordeal or where you have to pay a huge fee? Here are a few ideas that are sure to occupy children, cost little or nothing, and are fun:
Your local pet shop – Places with animals are usually great for small children.

My three love animals.

A children’s bookstore – read a few books and maybe pick one to take home. Some children’s bookstores offer a story hour which preschoolers will enjoy.

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Your local library or a children’s library – these also often have story hour, or you can just browse and borrow a few books or DVD’s.

The children’s library near our house.

Lila (10 months) enjoying the books.

The mall – go during off hours when there is hardly anyone shopping. That way your child can run and look at things without causing trouble for anyone.

Last Christmas Eve.

A toy shop – my kids love visiting the toy shop, and I always make it clear to them that we are just looking, not buying. They often point out things they like and it gives me ideas for birthday and Christmas gifts, and once in a while we do get something small for right away, like bubbles or a small toy or book.
One drawback of a toy shop is that many are very strict about children not touching the toys or playing with them and that can be frustrating since obviously that is what children know toys are for. As long as you are right there and they aren’t wildly pulling stuff off the shelves or being rough with things, it should be fine.

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Ice cream shop – always a fun place to visit, especially in summer.

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A park – if you are bored with the one you always go to, find a new one.

Lila and Scarlett having fun.

 Where is your favorite quick-outing place?

Summer Fun – Parks

One of the simplest things you can do with your children is take them to your local park. Parks are great places for them to run and play safely, and being in nature is relaxing for you too. Whether you stay for 1/2 an hour, a morning, afternoon, or all day, parks are a great option when you are stuck and don’t know where to go.

Simply pack a bag with a few outdoor toys (balls, bats, frizbees, sand toys, etc.), a snack or picnic lunch, water bottle, wet wipes, disinfectant, sun hats, and anything else you might need, then go and enjoy some time in nature.

Here is a selection of photos from the times over the past few years when I have taken my kids to a few of our local parks. These first ones are from when Logan and Lila were small.

Logan at 8 months.

 

Daddy and Logan play together.

 

You can do anything at a park.

Lila at 11 months.
And some more recent ones.
Lila and Scarlett enjoying some climbing.

Snacktime.

“Of course I can climb this, Mom!” (Scarlett at 15 months)
So if you haven’t enjoyed a park outing recently, go for it. It is great fun for the whole family.
What do you like to do at the park?

…And Some New Pics

To go with yesterday’s video update, here are some new pics.
The guy who lost this shoe must be desperate to find it because having that custom made must cost a fortune.

Scarlett makes a new friend.





Summer Fun – Water Play

My children have always loved using water play to cool off in hot weather. When we lived in a tiny apartment, they played in the shower, but when we moved to our house and got our large patio/balcony, they had more space to play.

At first I gave them a bucket of water to play in; then we used the baby bath tub. This works just great for small children in a small area.

September 2010 – Logan, 2 yrs. 10 mo.; Lila, 1 yr. 5 mo.

Then I got them this tiny pool that measured only 2′ in diameter. It was small but they could both get in and enjoy it. It only lasted a short while though as Lila started biting holes in it and I couldn’t inflate it any more.

September 2010

After that, Logan got this large pool as a gift for his 3rd birthday. We finally set it up a few months later once the summer was in full swing and I was recovered enough from Scarlett’s delivery to carry buckets of water to fill it. I think this one is 6′ across.

May 2011 – Lila 2 yrs., Logan 3 yrs, 6 mo.

And we are still using it, but now I use a hose to fill it. And Scarlett loves to help.

This was taken yesterday. Scarlett 16 mo., Lila 2 yr. 11 mo., Logan 4 yr. 4 mo.

Some water play tips:

– As with any activity, safety is important. Make sure the area you are using is non-slippery and has drainage. For a balcony area, you may want to sweep it first if there area lots of leaves or dirt. That way the water stays cleaner and there is nothing painful to step on.
– Bring the toys your child wants before getting in the water to avoid having wet feet and drippy swimsuits running through the house for something they forgot.
– Even if your child is old enough to play alone, do check on them frequently. And never leave a toddler or baby unattended around even a small amount of water.
– Remember your sunscreen, and use hats and t-shirts if your child burns easily.

Have fun.

What is your kids’ favorite way to cool off in the summer?

Summer Fun – Water Painting

This might not be what you are thinking it is, so read on. I once read about this activity in a book of things to do with preschoolers. It is simple and sure to keep them occupied.

All you need is a large paintbrush (one for painting walls), a bucket, and an outdoor area such as a driveway or balcony that is cement or waterproof.

Fill your bucket with water, then show your child how to “paint” the walls with water. As children are wont to do, this painting will probably cover more than the walls. The ground, steps, car, outdoor toys – everything will be painted. But you can rest assured that nothing will be ruined since the paint is actually water.

You may also want to dress your child in a swimsuit and not leave them fully dressed as I did. I just increased my laundry pile. Not smart. But they had a lot of fun, even painting each other in the process. I finally had to put a stop to it when they began climbing into the bucket and fighting over it.  Next time I’d better give them each their own bucket.

You could also do a mini version of this if you don’t want them to get wet by giving them a small paintbrush and a plastic cup of water. This works well with Lila as she likes working with small things, but I would never give it to Logan if I wanted him dry as he would be sure to get wet, throw the water, drink it, or dump it on someone.

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