It looked like a ghost town. The hot wind was lightly blowing the swings that moved ever so slightly. The puddles of water were very still and glass like. The sidewalks held no trace of chalk art for the rain had washed it all away. All I could smell was the strong cedar wafting up from the wood chips and there was no sound at all. This was the empty playground at 1pm yesterday. Kinda creepy until you realize the fun you can have when the playground is all yours.
It rained yesterday morning and it was drizzly at times when 1pm rolled around. The rain had cooled the temps down to 85 degrees so we took off for a rare summer afternoon at the park. Our park happens to be just six houses down from us so it was a quick walk to get there. I normally have to stay close to my boys and it feels like I’m herding cats when trying to keep two boys near me at all times with a bunch of other kids and parents around. Yesterday I could let them roam from one end of the playground to the other. There wasn’t any one else to distract them. They could play, explore and do whatever they wanted. They did the usual climbing and sliding for the first bit. Then James found a great thick, short stick. Of course Lance stole it and I had to make him give it back and say I’m sorry brother. I managed to find another equally as good stick, but not quite as thick. Anyways, it calmed the fussing and play resumed with laughter. There were picnic tables under a gazebo and the tables have holes in the metal. I got myself a stick and made sure it was a super skinny one. I started running my stick over the holes and it made a sound that interested the boys so much that they climbed up to the table and tried to rake their sticks too. After some help, they learned how to hold the stick up and run it sidewayss to make sounds too. We talked about how each stick made a different sound and how it related to the stick’s thickness. When they got bored with that, they wandered around until they found the water drainage grate. James was the one who noticed that it looked like the color pink and he said so. So we stopped and I pointed out different things and I told them the colors. They also thought it was fun to stomp on the top of the grate and hear it ping as it shifted around and popped up and down. I’ve never given much notice to the wooden sign with the park’s name on it. The boy’s hadn’t either, but yesterday it held their attention for a while. We felt of the rough wood, the smooth routed out letters, the slick metal bolts and prickly splintered edges. We even talked about dad’s tools in the shop that he would use to make those letter. Well I talked about the tools and the boys wouldn’t stop shouting daddy’s saw, daddy’s shop. It’s a favorite saying of theirs. We named each letter and they did well repeating after me. When I asked them to point out the individual letters that I said, they had no clue. I asked for the K , James pointed to the P and Lance pointed to the R. I’m not worried about that yet because learning their ABCs won’t really start until after they are two. I consider this just a fun warm up. We then splashed and stomped in the water puddles. Apparently each puddle is different because they hit each and every one. James laughed as his brother yelled up the slide to him and James crashed into Lance as Lance was sitting at the bottom of the slide deliberately waiting for James to come down. It’s fun to watch Lance sitting at the bottom, trying not to giggle and slightly glancing backwards to see if his brother is coming down. Then we looked at a tall blade of grass compared to the short clover growing with it. Lance loves anything soft and he felt the need to lay down and put his cheek next to the soft clover. We stayed at the park discovering new things for two hours. What a great learning experience when the park’s all yours with no distractions. I can’t wait until the fall when there’s cool weather and most of the kids are back in school. We will have more days filled with fun to run and explore. What a rare mercy that God gave us in a great, summer day, alone at the park.