Outdoor Summer Fun

Here are a few things we’ve been enjoying in the great weather we’ve had this month:
The kids really love riding their bicycles on our driveway.  Last week we spiced things up by drawing a track with some sidewalk chalk.  They love practicing their turns while trying to stay in the lines.  I was impressed with how well they did.

A few days ago I gave the kids some scrap wood, sandpaper, a small hammer and some pens.  (They’ve really been in a building mood lately.)  The pounding was a big thrill too.  I started the nail for them, and also drew a hand outline on the end of the wood where their other hand would be safely away from the hammer.  After a lot of hard work, they ended up with some great pieces!

To get a little shade, we did a backyard tent.  We made ours by pounding in four sticks of wood and attaching a sheet to them with clothes pins.  A nice place to relax and have a snack.

26 Comments

  1. Tsh
    July 24, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Sigh... Looks so fun! You've got such great ideas, yet they ooze with simplicity. Thanks so much for sharing your creativity with us.

    Reply »
  2. Joel Henriques
    July 24, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Thanks Tsh!

    Reply »
  3. Holly
    July 25, 2010 at 12:40 am

    That little shady spot looks like paradise. What sort of bikes have they? Thanks for sharing!

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  4. sherri
    July 25, 2010 at 12:58 am

    the bike track w/chalk is a great idea. our driveway has a big hill, unfortunately - so we trike a lot at the end of the st. cul de sac. we will try that tent idea! your kids are insanely cute. but you already know that.

    Reply »
  5. Lori Henriques
    July 25, 2010 at 3:25 am

    love the winding road. :) and the tent is marvelous! did they help build it themselves?

    Reply »
  6. Joel Henriques
    July 25, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Thanks!

    Holly - They have balance bikes (i.e. no pedals) and we love them. There are many different brands, but we have Strider. Very affordable. The great thing about balance bikes are (I read this somewhere:) kids under 3 years old don't have the brain development to multitask pedaling and steering. But with the balance bikes, it's just like walking/running and steering, which is very easy to learn. It's amazing how well toddlers ride these things. I highly recommend it over training wheels etc.

    Lori - Yes, they did help build it! It was very basic. They helped a bit with the pounding, and also the clipping of the clothes pins, and then laying out the blanket. Very fun activity. And just takes 1 minute to take down when you're tired of it.

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  7. Anonymous
    July 25, 2010 at 6:31 am

    Joel, our twins (turning three this weekend) also have rider bikes and they are so much fun. We put up a "road" in the garage and driveway. Then we draw a "bike wash", "pit stop", "snack station", and other fun things. Its all pretend (chalk drawings of a wrench and hammer) and they have such a great time grabbing a wrench and fixing their bikes in the pit stop, then making schwishing noises in the bike wash. The funniest is when they get tired and state "oh I need a coffee break and grab a pretend donut and eat it and declare that coffee break is over." Last time we did this we had an "crowd/audience" and they got upset with me every time I stepped on them by accident.

    But for anyone thinking of a trike for their kids, I would prefer a runner bike. The are learning the rules of the road while not going too fast and gaining so so much confidence.

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  8. AJ
    July 25, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Great ideas as always!
    Thanks!!

    Astrid

    Lovely kids by the way :-)

    Reply »
  9. anana
    July 25, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Absolutely fabulous blog!
    I am amazed ... and will follow =)

    Reply »
  10. Lillabilly
    July 26, 2010 at 12:54 am

    Driveways are fabulous places for this sort of play, but it's good to remember to teach driveway safety too as driveways are, after all, primarily for cars, and sometimes it can be hard to see little people if you are in one (especially reversing). That said, I wish we had a space like this for chalking and riding, our driveway is a big, steep slope!

    I knew nothing about balance bikes before seeing a two year old doing a fabulous job on one in a park last year (after he got the momentum up, most of the time he didn't even use his feet!) so as a result my little girl is still working her way through training wheels. I wonder if there are bigger balance bikes out there and if it's worth swapping her over to one? She loves the pedalling but is not overly confident with anything else about the bike, whereas she is getting to be an awesome balancer on her two-wheeled scooter. I know we will definately be doing the balance bike for future children!!

    And Joel, that tent looks lovely. Never mind the kids, I could totally see myself relaxing in something like that with a cool drink, a bowl of snacks and a good book!! : )

    Reply »
  11. Miller Moments
    July 26, 2010 at 4:00 am

    you have the most amazingly fun ideas! :)

    Reply »
  12. Justine
    July 26, 2010 at 7:56 am

    It is so rare to find a blog wrote by a man! Just found yours and can't help adding it in my favourites!

    Reply »
  13. Amber
    July 26, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I just started following this blog last week, and I am so inspired by everything I've seen.

    I love the idea of drawing a hand for your children to use as a guideline for safety! Brilliant.

    Reply »
  14. Julia D
    July 26, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    How lovely! I'm a newish Blogger and just love yours. I have two small children too and my blog - Adventures at Home - tracks our creative endeavours. I wrote about outside larks a few weeks ago (when we had some nice weather!)Lovely to see creative parenting being celebrated;yay!

    Reply »
  15. Rachel@oneprettything.com
    July 26, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    I love the tent- it's fantastic. In fact, I love your whole blog. It's so creative and fun here! reader recommended it to me and I'm so glad she did. The printables are my favorite. I would love to link to them if you didn't mind.

    Reply »
  16. Joel Henriques
    July 27, 2010 at 4:07 am

    Thanks everybody! Fun to hear all of your ideas too. Nice!

    Lillabilly - I definitely agree about driveway safety! We bought a bunch of orange cones at Target, and put those out for boundaries when we're doing our driveway riding.

    Rachel@oneprettything.com - Thanks! Yes, you certainly may link to anything of mine you like.

    Reply »
  17. Nö
    July 27, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Hi Joel,

    I found you just today and I am amazed by your work! I like the fact that a Daddy is showing his creations, so much fun and a bit more crafting and a bit less girly...

    I have just made an aquarium with my two little ones and it is sweet. The Paper City will be made soon, that's for sure!

    Our kids also have (or had) balance bikes, our tall girl got it when she was 2 and now as she turned 4 she got a bike without training wheels and she could ride it after 4 times up ad down the street... nothing compared to how I learned to cycle...

    Thank you for sharing your creativity...

    Nina

    Reply »
  18. Nö
    July 27, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Here's our aquarium...

    http://noesfamilie.blogspot.com/2010/07/aquarium.html

    Reply »
  19. Joel Henriques
    July 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Nö - Thanks! And that's a beautiful aquarium! With real shells even. Nice!

    Reply »
  20. Rach_Spencer
    July 29, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Just discovered your blog. I have 4 boys (2 of them are 3 year old twins) and I teach preschool. You have some seriously good stuff here. Can't wait to have my boys try it all out. I hope you'll let us all know when your book comes out for buying.

    Reply »
  21. molly
    August 3, 2010 at 1:19 am

    Perfect timing. We're about to get out the hammer and nails and scrap wood tomorrow. Love the idea of the handprint on the OTHER end of the board!

    Reply »
  22. Cheryl Arkison
    August 3, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Glad to see that my kids aren't the only ones who play outside in their PJs!

    Reply »
  23. sherbear
    April 3, 2011 at 4:44 am

    With the tent, what kind of wood did you use to put in the ground? And with clothes pins it stayed up sturdy? Thanks.

    Reply »
  24. Joel Henriques
    April 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    sherbear - I just used some thin wood pieces that I had in my garage. Any stick-type thing or pole should work. And yes, the clothes pins held the sheet on really well. I was surprised too.

    Reply »
  25. June 25, 2012 at 12:30 am

    I often draw paths with "dangerous points", like skarks, clouds, storms, snow... Children cannot step on the ground, just on the path and garden furniture... Or I give them some piece of paper and ask to step only on paper. They have to pass the paper from the back to front of queue... Love!

    Reply »
    1. June 25, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      Ha, that sounds fantastic! My kids would love that for sure! Thanks Kalina.

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