Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Fun for one, fun for all?

Do you ever beat yourself up wondering whether you do enough fun things with your kids? Maybe it's just me..but I have a funny feeling I may be part of a big group of secretly guilty parents who dread one day being told: "Hey Mum/Dad, you know when we were little? You were no fun at all!" I know life's not just about having fun, but heck, I don't want to be remembered as well, not being fun. Would you?

At the beginning of the mid-year school holidays I asked my kids to write down a list of the fun things they'd like to do. This seemed like a good way of keeping track, for them and me. You know what my eight year old son said in response? "That's a good idea Mum, 'cause we're a family who often talk about things, but never actually do them". Bear in mind this is the same boy who told Santa last Christmas that he was the only eight year old in Sydney without a Wii or DS. (Overly dramatic - yes; underprivileged? Hardly!) So okay, we've never made it to Disneyland or had a jumping castle in our backyard, but were we really that boring? Were we really people who were all fun talk and no fun action?

As it's not a good idea to shoot the messenger, I tried to take this helpful comment from my son in the manner it may have been intended - as constructive criticism. Here was my chance to show our kids that it was possible to do the things we talked about, just for fun. I told them to make a  list of at least eight fun activities, realistic please (so no, we wouldn't be buying a Wii or DS) that everyone could do (except Dad who would be at work. Lucky duck).

Writing the list became a source of much discussion. Ideas were tossed up and then discarded as being not fun enough, or too old for one or too babyish for another. The list was finally agreed on and contained things that even I felt, with some relief, we could carry off. Jesse and Eleanore wanted to play putt putt golf. Mimi wanted to cook cupcakes. Everyone wanted a movie night; a sleep-over at their Grandparent's home; a trip to the local library; a meal at McDonalds; to do some craft; and to do that pseudo-scientific experiment of putting a mentos in a coke bottle and sending a geyser of fiz ten feet into the air.

Here's Eleanore enjoying her craft. I'll admit, I'm not a big fan of craft. While hardly a neat freak (ahem, that's my husband choking in the background), bits of stuff everywhere drives me crazy. Glue or paint smeared over hair, clothes and surfaces, is not fun in my book. French knitting proved a hit with minimum supervision required. Note the nifty use of a toilet roll and paddlepop sticks to make the frame. What's not fun about this?? Now we just have to find a use for the wooly snakey things.

Mim's our little masterchef. She loves breaking the eggs (and has got quite good at this, sometimes even getting them in to the bowl), sifting, mixing and then, you guessed it, licking the bowl. Strangely enough, she's not fussed about eating the end product. However the others make up for this.

Finally, one thing that didn't make the list but proved hours of fun, was autumn leaves on the trampoline. Okay I wasn't an entirely fun mum when the leaves made their inevitable way inside the house (the bed, the washing machine..) but it was great to see that fun things don't have to cost heaps of money or involve exotic locations! You'll be pleased (as I was) to hear that at the end of the holiday, everyone agreed that they'd had a great time! And I felt happy in the knowledge that we'd made some good memories of activities that everyone had enjoyed, even me! And yes, I was glad that we were one of those families that didn't just talk about things, but sometimes did them too!

p.s. Actually we didn't do the coke bottle/mentos thing - um, maybe next holidays..?

3 comments:

  1. Yes, you wooza .... Mentos in coke bottles next holidays.

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  2. Maybe the holidays after everybody graduates?

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  3. Ha I love it so know what you mean:)

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