Antacid tablets, small canisters, water bottles, soda, a football, swings, and a slide can be the makings of a perfect family day. Some of you may be scratching your head at the combination of those items. Others might simply ask how those items fit together for any kind of day, let alone a family day.
First, ask yourself, when was the last time that everyone in the house walked away from the TV or any electronic device and went outside to play? Well, that’s exactly what we did: eight adults and six children. Getting out of the confines of four walls and into the fresh air was exactly what we all needed.
Let me explain further. Yesterday, my family gathered for my nephew’s 12th birthday at my parent’s home. Having everyone interact together, whether talking, laughing or playing is always the best part. It has become the usual custom for the younger children to play while the adults are in another room, talking, watching TV (usually sports), or on their phones. However, yesterday was different.
The outside activities began with my sister calling for everyone to go outside for the “game” that she brought. It was actually a science experiment in disguise. She brought out antacids, a soda bottle, water bottles and a set of small canisters. Remember the small cylinder canisters that were used to hold 35mm rolls of film. Each participant poured their chosen liquid into the cylinder, dropped in an antacid tablet, popped the lid on, and then quickly shook it before placing it on the ground. “Oh look! Mine went higher than yours.” There were popping canisters all over the concrete slab. As time progressed, the experiments got more creative: more liquid, less liquid, more antacid tablets, more shaking. You name it; they tried it. A few were placed on a basketball hoop, for height, or on the ground under the hoop, to shoot up through the net. No batteries required.
“The boys won’t forget this,” my father whispered to me later as we watched a touch football game, involving some of the kids and adults.
“Which boys? They all seem to enjoying it,” I chuckled. The two oldest nephews were with my husband and the third oldest nephew was with my son and brother-in-law. It was entertaining to watch the playful, yet competitive, nature of the mixed-age teams. They were discussing and executing plays within their four downs, diving for balls, intercepting passes and high-fiving each other. The end zones were a park bench and a car. It didn’t matter that there weren’t referees, goal posts or 10-yard lines. They played the game with what they had and had a good time doing it. No batteries required.
Next up, the swings. Swinging on a playground swing can be enjoyed by all ages. Before you even ask, of course, I was swinging! There is something freeing about feeling the wind in your hair as your feet point towards the sky. No batteries required.
Who remembers climbing up the slide as a kid? Didn’t that always seem to be more fun than sliding down? Maybe it was because there was sense of accomplishment once you reached the top. Somehow, that just made the slide down that much more enjoyable. Well, I did not slide this time, but watching my nieces climb up and then slide down, made me reminisce and smile. No batteries required.
It just seems that nowadays, most people, young and old, don’t remember how to have fun without electronics (TV, phones, computers, tablets, or video games). Being active together or using his or her imagination becomes another chore in the midst of a busy schedule.
Life can be hectic sometimes. Yet, sometimes, adults forget how something as simple as seeing how high you can swing, can bring about a smile that has been buried deep under the stress of daily life. Sometimes, children forget that the adults in their life can be active, fun, competitive, and enjoyable to be around. Sometimes, adults and children forget to spend quality time together. Sometimes, we forget that no batteries are required.