God is on His throne, the sun is shining, daffodils are blooming and the promise of spring has arrived.
Once upon a time (so many years ago), I would gather the kiddos and head outdoors for a bit of spring-time adventure. Sometimes we poked new flower seeds in the ground. Other times we hiked around the loop (Woods Point Drive in Catlettsburg, KY) or rode our bikes down the hill out front. It was more like a slope, but to our little ones, it probably seemed like a mountain.
If we aren't careful, our children can easily become jaded by being entertained...
As the weather warms, why not pitch a tent and camp out in the back yard? This is not a slumber party for friends or cousins, this is time for you as a family to reconnect and have fun. Take turns finding constellations and try to name them. Point out the brightest stars. Imagine walking on the moon. Do a little scheming about your next family vacation. Tell silly jokes. Catch fireflies and roast wieners over a fire pit.
Listen to night sounds. But most of all, listen to your children.
There's just something about being under a big sky at night that makes it a safe place to open up. If your children hint at their hopes and dreams ... and if those dreams don't line up with your dreams for them ... just listen for now. They may also share some fears and concerns, and not expect an answer, but the need to know you are there for them and care. Keep it low key - don't overdo the comforting part and have all the answers. Just listen. It takes time away from routines and constant busy-ness to share heart-to-heart, and any time that happens, it's a time to treasure.
Other together times may involve day trips to fun museums and/or special events. Check with your chamber of commerce to find out about events like musical or theater productions nearby. Butterfly museums, aviaries and birdwatching all can attract children who are "unplugged." When you focus on something outside your child's normal activities and interests, you give them a bigger view of the world.
Another idea: make something together - like one of the fancy bird baths pictured below! Not only will you have a lot of fun, you can enjoy watching the birds flock to it this summer. Turn an old lamp stand into a cool bird bath by adding a ceiling light fixture or some type of large bowl you might not use anymore. Sharing time is even better when you have something tangible to show for it. Be sure to let your child share ideas for the project, too. It doesn't have to turn out *perfect,* it just has to be a memorable time spent with a precious little person you happen to love!