We needed a mini-adventure today, so we packed everyone into the car and drove into Stockholm. Our destination was a new (to us) playground in a part of town we've never visited. We stopped at the grocery store on the way down and picked up enough snacks to last us the day, and then we did the unthinkable—we spent the entire day at the playground. =)
Unthinkable for adults, I suppose. It was quite easy for the kids to play and play and play some more. The playground was fantastic, with giant flowers and mushrooms and bugs and owls made from wood, and lots of places to climb and hide and slide. The kids' imaginations went wild, and before I knew it I was extending our parking time, and then extending it again, and again.
I'll admit that normally when we take the kids to a playground, there's a time limit, set either by an upcoming event or our own impatience (the adults', that is). I don't usually find it very much fun sitting on a bench and watching the kids, or worse, following them around so that they're in sight at all times. Usually after about 30 minutes I'm bored and ready to go.
But not today. Today, our entire goal was to spend the day at the park, so we did. James and I sat in the sun and took turns playing with Zoë on a blanket or walking her for naps. I climbed around with the boys a bit, playing hide-and-seek and climbing up the side of the giant bugs. I suppose it helped that there weren't any open cafes in easy walking distance (during summer in Sweden, everything closes for a few weeks), so we couldn't badger the kids to go get coffee/lunch/sweet treats. We were just there. And I think the day was easier, less stressful, and more pleasant for the fact that we didn't try to do anything else.
Of course this kind of day isn't always what we desire. We love going for a coffee and a nibble in Stockholm, or treating the boys to ice cream, nipping into local shops, or otherwise wandering the streets. But sometimes it's nice to sit tight and let the kids play until they're exhausted. It made me think of this great read from Derek Sivers. (Which then got me thinking both about the boys' and my own attention span, a subject for future posts.) I'm looking forward, when we move to Oregon, to days spent beside rivers and in mountain meadows, thoroughly exploring a tiny bit of geography.
Do you ever spend an entire day at the playground? Or an entire day doing just one thing with your kids? Do you find it easy to slow down to their pace, and to pay attention?
Photo by me. It says: Drive safely, children playing.