We did it! I spent over an hour outside with the boys yesterday. Admittedly, I snuck in a couple of solo laps around the park, but I also played a bit with my boys and their friends.
Their friends let me try their RipStik, which I declare THE hot item for tween boys this summer. My tween boys survived the embarrassment of it all because while they can zoom and zig and zag like pros, I wobbled for and toppled within in five seconds on each attempt.
We also played a bit of basketball and hit a ball around the tennis court. And the half dozen boys around me took their best shot at things like RipStik basketball and RipStik tennis. Again, I'm still working on RipStik "stay on the thing for half a minute."
Though the greenest thing about our green hour was the painted surface of the tennis court, the boys still benefited from more than an hour of unstructured outdoor play. They exercised and blew off steam without realizing it and they honed their social skills- taking turns, sharing basketballs, tennis rackets and the coveted RipStiks.I intervened at one early point when I noticed a conflict between the older kids (6th grade) and the younger ones (4th grade). A certain 6th grader who lives with me may have found my actions humiliating, but the fact is I helped clear up a hot button issue that was based on a misunderstanding. Once the boys realized what was going on, they made peace.
Fresh air, exercise and friends: a winning combination. Maybe this afternoon we'll make it into the forest preserve.
Remember, if you share an idea for family outdoor fun on my earlier post, you'll be entered to win a year subscription to one of the National Wildlife Federation's excellent children's magazines.
And for a slightly different take on playing at the park, check out my current post at Chicago Moms Blog which asks the question, Would a pedophile drive a Prius?
(Note: edited 4/21 to add photos)