Sunday, August 10, 2008

Childhood Essentials

As I travel down the road of deliberate parenting, I've thought a great deal about my childhood and what I want for my own children. So many things find their home on my childhood essentials list, and yet so many things are strangely absent. A few of the items on my list are big things that we may only do once or twice, others are daily rituals or seasonal activities each year.

I'm taking this next week off from blogging, so I'll leave you with my picture-heavy list of Childhood Essentials and a few questions.

Childhood Essentials

Loads of Outdoor Free Playtime
Camping (Tent!), Fishing, Boat Rides, Hikes in Gorgeous Nature
Frolicing in the Ocean/Building a Sandcastle
Roasting Marshmallows (and S'mores, of course)
Swinging (tire preferably!) Water Play in the Yard (Hose/Sprinkler/Swimming Pool) Biking, Swimming!Rustic Playhouse, Treehouse, or Fort

Berry Picking, Growing Vegetables Playdough (or other molding clay) and Craft Supplies

Simple, Open-Ended Toys
Playing Games

Music (Listening/Live Performances/Making/Learning)
Books, Books, and More Books Building a Snowman Celebrating Holidays Baking in the Kitchen Family Meals (New, Interesting Foods!)Eating Homemade Cookies Doing Chores A Trip to Disneyland
Road Trip Vacations

What is on your list?

Ride a Horse
Summer Camp
Own a Pet
Visit the County Fair
Go on a Carnival Ride
Visit a Foreign Country
Take a Train Ride
Playing Catch
Visiting Museums
Soccer or T-Ball

I am quite aware that another family's list might look very different than ours. I suppose it depends on a host of variables. Location. Budget. Number of Children. Values. Background.

A family living near a tropical beach might frolic in the waves and build sandcastles weekly, while building a snowman might be a once in a life-time experience.

This list skips the bare essentials such as nurishing food, shelter, clothing, nurturing adults, family and friends.

I also realize that this list covers mostly play and experiences. Education, moral training, life skills all deserve their own focus.

Do you try to recreate the atmosphere of your own childhood? Are you putting your energy into giving your children a childhood that hopefully looks nothing like your own? Is it a combination of the best of your childhood and the things that you feel you missed out on or are newly available?

I have incredible memories of going to Disneyland with my family and grandparents. Our trips to California were the 'big vacations' that my family took.

Our childhood summers revolved around a log cabin playhouse that my dad built for us. It was large enough for a full-sized couch and other furniture, and could sleep all three of us in the loft. It had a front porch and a flower-bed with daffodils and roses. It had a tire swing. It was secluded. It was ours. Even into high school.

Disneyland and a playhouse/treehouse/fort are the two remaining items on our list that we look forward to introducing to our boys.

This list covers early childhood and my mind is spinning when I consider what I want to provide for my children in their late childhood and teens. (Yep, you'll probably see the list soon...)

A few things on my list could be a post in themselves. I might revisit them in the future.

Toys, for instance. What toys around your home do you and your children love the most? What toys do you remember from your childhood?


Unknown said...

I love this post and your blog as well. So inspiring.
I want to create a magical childhood for my children, while also teaching and training them to submit to our loving Savior and be thinkers as you mentioned.
Many sweet things from my childhood are included in my list for them, but there other things I want to be deliberate to include that I think were missing from my own childhood.
Thanks for your wonderful ideas and pictures and thoughts.

Christi said...

I love your list. We are trying to parent deliberately (we call it intentionally) but sometimes I find it so easy to get caught up in the day to day. I think a list like this would be a good idea!

While there are things I remember with fondness from my childhood, overall I want my boys' childhood to look different from mine.

Toys? My boys' favorite toys are ones that let them be whichever "person" they want to be at the time. They are not big fans of anything pre-packaged; rather they like things that lend to the imagination.

Anonymous said...

what's the name of that game your son is playing?

Sarah at SmallWorld said...

What a gorgeous, inspiring, though-provoking, beautiful post!! When I get back to my own home, I'm going to think on this and do one. Fabulous!

Anonymous said...

I love your list, I can see a board book for new moms containing your list of pictures "A Day In The Life Of Boys" The carrot on e is my favorite!!!

We grew up near Disneyland so it was a regular thing for us, always special of course. My husband and I were both fortunate to grow up spending a bunch of time in nature, near ocean and mountains with snow, so we both felt that was something important for raising our children. Have to be able to be close enough to go to the beach and back in a day and live wear it snows! There is nothing like waking up Christmas morning to snow!!! I could replicate so many of the pictures you took, the bikes sprawled out along the long dirt driveway, arm fulls of homegrown goodness. One thing I didn't see any pictures of but know you do is picking fresh berries, that is a favorite of ours! We have some close to the house, but love to drive to the river and pick black berries along the river. We love canning and making jam and syrup too, the kids help as much as they safely can. I think we are a lot a like in that the real life experiences are the ones we want them to have such wonderful memories of and want them to want to do with their own children someday! Living in Oregon is such a great place to get to do all these things!

Trish said...

My great-grandmother left us a big box full of wooden spools (she saved them as she used up thread--Great Depression era--she saved everything) and we played for HOURS (you played with us, Heidi!) and hours and hours making houses and roads and mixed in with our Legos. I inherited her sewing box (with thread on wooden spools) and always look for old wooden spools of thread at garage sales) because I will pass that tradition on!

Heidi said...

Thanks for chiming in ladies!

Anonymous~ Luke is playing Rush Hour Jr. It is our absolute favorite game. It says for ages 6-8, but Luke (4) can set up his own board and do the beginner cards and some of the intermediate. The advanced and expert cards are fun for Russ and myself, so it makes a game that we can all play (except for the 2 yo :)).

Anonymous said...

My kids favorites are Magnetix and Little People. My favorites as a kid were Little People and Tinker Toys. I would use Dr. Seuss books for houses and make furniture out of blocks and Tinker Toys.

Jen - Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

Oh...your list mimics ours this summer. It's the simple things that are the BIG it!

Tabitha said...

Woooooow. Your blog is beautiful!! And so is your home!! I found you through a Google search on using scrapbooking paper as art and stumbled upon your "Slight Change in Scenery" post with the circles. Di you know that could happen??? :)
I love it and I've got a painted canvas and my favorite paper waiting for me!! BUT--what did you use to adhere the paper????
So glad I found you--have a swell day!
Roots & Wings
P.S. When I complete my project, may I link to your post and give you credit??

Tabitha said...

OK, I read your current post and have to give another "wow." I have SO many wonderful memories--crafting with the ladies in the family, trips to the beach and lake (I grew up in Florida), slumber parties, shopping (sooo much shopping), Disney, youth group trips, living on a farm...and, YES, I want my son to experience them!! We're WAY too "city" for my taste (Phoenix, AZ suburb)--and once we're out of debt, we'd love to move rural. City life does have its advantages but kids appreciate very few of them!!
I love your list...reading, games, outside time...aaaaahhh, childhood!!!

Tabitha said...

Sorry to be such a pill...but may I add you to my blog list/roll?? The more I poke around here, the more I like what I see! :)
Roots & Wings

Heidi said...

Tabitha~ Thanks, yes, glue stick, yes, and yes, LOL! ;-) Thanks for visiting today, and for the kind words! Love your blog name (Roots and Wings). I contemplated using that one for our homeschool name. :) Thanks for contributing to the childhood essentials list!

Anonymous said...

Love the list! For my boy ya gotta have baseball...the wiffle ball field in the backyard...a bat and ball is all he needs! The man and I were just reminiscing last night about how when we were kids we could ride our bikes across town to the town pool or Grandma's house and no one worried about you til' dinner of the things I can't re-create for my kids...a different world.

Laurel said...

Heidi - I love how thoughtful you are. It is way too late at night for me to fully respond but let me reflect and get back to you because I LOVE the topic:).

Anonymous said...

Sorry but this kind of post hurts... What do you do when your dad was violent and abusive. When the only way to give such a childhood to your own children is to try to forget that you too were a child once...

Heidi said...

Anonymous~ I am so sorry that you've struggled with memories of your childhood. I can't even imagine coming from that place. I do not know how I would turn that around to make a childhood full of wonderful memories for my own kids. Prayers for you today.

Elise said...

Hi Heidi

Childhood essentials - I love it!
What a splendid record for you and your boys. There are so many things on your list that we also provide for our children.

We think an appreciation of the environment and its beauty is crucial. Together, we enjoy exploring the great outdoors.

Reading - we spend a great deal of time reading and using books as stimulus for other activities, whether it be a craft activity, dress up, or a music / dance based activity.

For us, it's all about imagination and creativity.

Thank you so much for this beautiful post and sharing your stunning photography. It was a joy to read.


Anonymous said...

Lovely post!! I enjoyed your thoughts and your photos. Your blog is one of my favorites. All the best!
Stacy :-)

Simply Me... said...

Did I miss something! where are you!


Anonymous said...

Seeing an old Disneyland ticket book makes me feel nostalgic. In addition to the things on your list, church (Sunday school, choir, camp) was a major childhood essential for my sister and me.

I have to ask, is your cookie recipe posted? : )


Beth@Pages of Our Life said...

I love your post and always enjoy your beautiful pictures.

Kendra Fletcher said...

Every time I visit your blog I leave feeling more peaceful. That's some accomplishment for a mother of small boys! This post, especially, is lovely.

Kim -today's creative blog said...

You know, every now and then something hits you to the core. Deliberate Parenting.....I have never heard of the term, but it's my new favorite. Thank you!
Love the to make my own.

Anonymous said...

LOVED this post! My biggest goal for our family this school year is to just enjoy one another! I am learning what it means to be a playful parent!

Lora @ my blessed life said...

Hi! I came over via SimpleMom. I really enjoyed this post(the pics are great, too!). My husband and I are always trying to take advantage of those simple moments in life with our kiddos to make those forever memories.

Tabitha said...

I did your circles project...see it here! :)

Heidi said...

Lanny~ Nowhere special. Taking a break and sitting around being lazy. :)

KS~ I've never posted my cookie recipe because it isn't very original. Maybe I'll have to post it anyway because I think they're yummy!

Proudgrits~ Love your project! I like the idea of using as part of a trio.

If anyone posts a list of their childhood essentials, I'd love to link to it, so let me know!

Anonymous said...

First of all, what lovely photos. My favorite is the one with chubby baby fingers on the piano keys.

My list is fairly similar, though I do live in a tropical country (originally from Canada, though!), so my kids might not build many snowmen. For me, traveling with them is a huge priority and so is opening as many avenues to learning as possible.