During the school year, my kids are tired.
Their days are long, the nights are short, and quite frankly, they’re just tired.
Add an afternoon activity one or two days a week–which I know they need as much as they need the academic part of their days–and, well, they’re even more tired.
So we try to keep weekends free, and we do our best to keep at least two weeknights activity-free as well.
But what I’ve been doing lately is pulling out some of our old favorites for a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon–crafts and toys and resources that Maddy, Owen, and Cora can just breeze through at their leisure.
They love it.
And so do I.
Here’s the skinny. . .
- Water Bead Free Play– Relaxing, Soothing, & So Totally Worth It: Who says that elementary schoolers shouldn’t play with play-dough?
Why can’t they finger paint or play with pipe cleaners or water beads?
Maddy sorts her water beads. . .
. . . and Owen does the same.
Stomp in mud? Yes. String beads? Absolutely. Play freely with water beads? You bet.
I think they can–and should add time in the day for such things. . . but I also know very well that there’s a whole lot of other really important stuff they need to cover in school, so I’m doing more to throw these important elements into our weekends.
Not a lot–totally no stress–but just sneaking it in when we can, even if it’s only for a few minutes here and there.
Maddy sorts —
–and Cora sorts–and they admire how colors change as they remove and add certain beads.
This weekend I brought out the ole water beads–sans our homemade light table–and though we left them in the cabinet over the summer and they stunk like the nastiest of nasty, Maddy and I scoured, scented, washed, and rinsed our beads until they were as good as new.
And after the beads were fresh and clean, while Owen was at soccer, the girls and I put the beads in three separate baking dishes so we could appreciate their clear, colorful beauty. I pulled down our small recyclables bin, and Maddy and Cora took out a few cups, bowls, cans, and jars to use with their beads.
They wanted to use spoons and try to use chopsticks, which was cool with me.
And then they played. And I was reminded of how completely relaxing and totally soothing water beads are.
Another good reason to keep those recyclables—
–you never know when they’ll come in handy!
We just sat, and we chatted. And we squeezed and pinched and squirmed and enjoyed the cool of the beads on our hands. Maddy and Cora sorted–on their own–and they mixed and traded and pretended they were fairies preparing their fairy food and I was the fairy head cook.
Then Owen came home from soccer and he took my spot and they added him to the mix.
We all just sat and chatted, and the kids squeezed and pinched and squirmed and enjoyed the cool of the beads on their hands. They did more sorting and more mixing and more trading and more pretending and just. . . played.
And I listened and just enjoyed where we were, vowing that every so often–more often than not now–to pull out these old faves so that my kids can relax, chat, slow down, and just enjoy where they are.
I love these things. They’re really fun for kids, and you may be surprised at how much you’ll love them yourself: