My parents, intent on recreating my lovely childhood for my children, gave the Bear and the Monkey a dome climber for Christmas. My husband was skeptical of this newfound addition to our backyard landscaping, but I told him the boys would get good use out of it.
Tonight some of the neighbors came over for dinner, and it was amazing how long four boys– ages 2-5– could keep themselves happy with such a simple toy. First there was climbing. Then there was hanging. Then there was jumping off. When they needed a little break, the dome climber turned into a spaceship, and some fantastic imaginative play really took off. (Pun very much intended, thank you!) Once the boy astronauts landed on the rings of Saturn, there was more climbing, hanging, and jumping so they could explore.
At the end of the evening, four red-faced boys came back into the house. The evening reminded me about the joys of simple play, when exercise and imagination come together for good clean fun.
As I stare down a long summer with no school for either of my kids, my mind is beginning to fire with ideas of games I played as a kid. Kick the can. Marco Polo. Red light/Green light. Red rover. Those are all classics we can play together. A backyard field day– with sack races, one-legged races, egg-and-spoon relays, obstacle courses– is certainly going to be on our calendar this summer as well.