When I was a kid my mother used to regularly send us for FOP. Out we would head, whining and carrying on. Sometimes we would even pout for a while, but after some time had passed we would become involved in whatever imaginary game we could come up with and before we knew it, hours had passed. And we had marvelous adventures; finding wildlife, building forts, climbing trees. Fear not, oh elders, I too now use FOP. If it wasn't apparent before, I have turned into my mother.
It has been cold and rainy the last few weeks. The kids play well enough inside, but I truly believe that it is oh so important for kids to play outside, in NATURE. We've also not had tons of time for outdoor play (what little we've had has been on the preschool playground), what with our twice weekly swim lessons, Elie's enrichment and our generally hectic schedule. However, this weekend, it was warmer-ish (50s) and the rain had abated, so out the children went.
On Saturday, when I realized it was warm enough (the temperature is not usually a problem, but I knew that everyone would be soaked and muddy due to the intrinsic attraction they have for the large mud puddles that form in our backyard after it rains) for everyone to go out, I took a poll. "Who wants to go out?" Talia was the only one that replied in the affirmative. Elie and Isaac were generally whiny. For a few minutes, I waffled on what to do. Should I send them out, let them stay in? Oh what to do. They should want to go outside, I shouldn't have to tell them they have to go. Do I want to *make* them go out? It was time for some decisive action. FOP to the rescue! I told everyone they needed to get dressed because they were going out. There was whining (Elie) and some protests (Isaac). But once they got out there, they had a blast! Elie came to the door after 30 mins and whined to be let in, but I told her that it wasn't time and she needed to go find something to do. The funniest part of Elie's whining was that she claimed that "everyone" wanted to come in. But when I looked to see where Isaac and Talia were, they were deeply involved in some pretent play involving lots of mud and water. Elie couldn't even convince them to come onto the porch to attempt to come in.
Sunday we did the same thing. Out they went, like it or not. And they played for HOURS. They took rocks out of the rock pile and "decorated" their little play house. They dug holes, filled buckets with dirt, put dirt on the slide, stomped in the mud puddles, ate an apple snack (no fear, I did clean their hands before they ate) and generally enjoyed the out of doors.
Of course they came in filthy, from their coats to their undies. BUT they had a marvelous time. They worked on entertaining themselves, getting to know that dirt won't kill you and being exposed to all sorts of fun and interesting things outside. I love FOP and I'm glad that my parents did it to me. Hopefully, someday, my kids will see the value in it too!