Motherhood is filled with dichotomies that make life so hard and simultaneously so wonderful. I count down to the weekends that aren’t booked with plans. When they finally arrive I try not to freak out while we move from room to room making messes at home trying to fill the day. I’ve realized that with my littles I have to have a plan. We need activities to get us going in the morning so there are fewer meltdowns. Mainly from me. The kids enjoy the little things. And remind us to do so as well.
Since having kids life has been a walk in the park. Literally, every weekend we find ourselves walking at the park. It’s the perfect morning activity. We schedule a playground and walking visit between naps and let the kids burn off their energy. Add in meals, maybe a special trip for ice cream, and a visit with friends or family and bam your day is complete. So when the summer heats up, things get difficult.
We have to get creative here in Central Florida how we spend our very long hot days. Our morning trips to the park still happen though much earlier and a bit shorter. But wait you say, I’m forgetting one very important factor...the rain? Yes, there’s that too. Dichotomies, they’re everywhere. So we spend long summer days alternating between unrelenting heat and downpouring rain. Creativity reigns in keeping our little ones happy and us parents sane. We have a few go-to’s that always make for a great day.
One of our favorite local indoor activities is the Orlando Science Center. New expansions in Kids Town mean there’s even more to do and even our very little guy can enjoy it. For us, there’s no better place to beat the heat. We also take refuge watching children’s theater offerings at Orlando Shakes and the Orlando Rep. All three of these places are located in beautiful Loch Haven Park. If you can stand it, and if it’s not raining, it’s a great place for a walk and a picnic before you head inside. Afterward, we always take advantage of our proximity to Audubon Park and head over to Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream or Gideon’s Bakehouse (inside East End Market) for a treat.
On the days the rain has started long before we wake we make the most of our time inside. I cover the dining room table in kraft paper, bust out paints and stamps and let my daughter unleash her creative genius. I’m amazed that she can sit there for an hour before boredom sets in. Paints are quickly replaced with playdough, then necklace making, and when she’s done with every craft I can think of I tag-in her dad who suggests they make a gigantic fort in the playroom.
My daughter monitors the rain all throughout the day. She’s hoping for it to stop only after gigantic puddles have formed in the street. She knows once it stops she can throw on her boots and jump in muddy puddles. To her, it’s the perfect ending to any summer day.
Our summer days are long, the messes are huge, but the years will be short. As my kids grow they’ll look less to us for their entertainment and turn to their tech devices (or so I’m told). For now, I soak up all the dichotomies, the sun and the rain, the homemade pictures painted just for me, and the mud-soaked ice cream stained clothes piling up in the laundry after a well spent day.