Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stay Days and Jack's First Slide in Our Sensory Sandbox

Chillin' at Home
This summer, I have recommitted the kids and myself to Stay Days.  At least once a week, we do what seems rare in our modern day world where appointments, errands, play dates and other "needs" keep families constantly in and out of the car – we stay home.

Mind you, we don’t always do this.  Like so many, we have periods when we get caught up in the “normal” routine of buckling into a vehicle to run from one thing to another.  Then, an epiphany moment hits:  We’ve been on the go too much.  We need some "breathing out" time between busier days.  We need to schedule time to simply be present with one another, doing what was once commonplace for many in our society -- working and playing at home.

Stay Days Are In Order
I Get to Stay Here
For me, that epiphany came one day not too long ago when my daughter woke up and the first words out of her mouth were, "Where are we going today?”, only to have my son in with, "Who are we going to see?"  I wanted to answer, “nowhere and each other,” but the calendar told me otherwise.  Commitments were penned into block after block.

Ugh!  We had been (and would be) spending far too much time in our minivan.   

All Smiles and Shaving Cream
Despite choosing to live a life that seems to some to be outside the boundaries of "normal" –homeschooling, maintaining no satellite or cable connection for out TV, working to live instead of living to work, etc., we somehow had been swept up in a very typical tide of "to do's" that were requiring us to be buckled in for a fair portion of our daily lives.  And, the kids queries evidenced that our young children were becoming more accustomed to days punctuated by an errand here, an appointment there, an event over there than ones appreciated simply at home.

So, I decided to revert to a rhythm of life that includes Stay Days.  (I had done this once before for a practical reason – gas prices!, but had slipped away from the commitment somehow.)  And, now, instead of speeding about in our minivan every day of the week, we sometimes simply smile at home!

Planning Our Stay Days
How do I do it?  It’s simple.

Each week, I take a look at our calendar each week to see if there is a day without a health/therapy appointment or prior commitment and set that day aside as our weekly Stay Day.  If there is not a day like that, I see if any of the pre-scheduled things can be moved.  I also think ahead when scheduling things for future dates – grouping errands and appointment and ensuring there are “blank spots” on the calendar for breathing out.

Once I have selected which day will be vehicle-free for us, I think of a an extra home-chore that has been being pushed aside and at least one or two "special" at-home activities for the kids and I to enjoy.  With these as touch points, I just let the day unfold...

Sensory Sandbox -- Jack's First Slide
Central to some of the activities that we’ve enjoyed during our Stay Days over the past few weeks has been one of our best freecycle scores ever: two ubiquitous green plastic sand – or for us, sensory—boxes.

Water.  Boats.  Ice.  Sand.  Mud.  Beach toys.  Shaving cream.  Soap suds.  You name it, we explore it in our outdoor sensory boxes.  And, I do mean “we”.  Jack even gets into the fray, albeit sometimes with a face more pensive than pleased, as was the case with his first shaving cream experience.

Hmm... Do I Like This?

 Yep, our youngest child was not quite sure how he felt about slipping and sliding in shaving cream with his siblings. Undoubtedly, he'll enjoy it more over time.  For all things take getting used to – even the idea of staying home.  

Stay Days can be so much fun!
Get Your Hands In!

I'm Skating!

I'll Help You, Jack

Together, But Into Our Own Explorations

Onto the Next Thing...
Do you enjoy regular time at home together?  What activities do you enjoy?  Have you got any great ideas for our sensory sandboxes?  Do share in a comment.

And, if you’re looking for some ideas yourself, please hop on over to my post at OJTA to read a handful of great ways to enjoy sensory summer fun in a sand-turned-sensory box.


A Joyful Chaos said...

Most of our days are stay days since we have only one vehicle and my husband needs it to go to work. there are so many fun things to do at home that we really don't mind at all that we only get to go away once a week.


Martianne said...

I aspire to the life you are leading then! There ARE so many fun things to do at home, but it seems we always have so many appointments and errands that it is easy to fall prey to every day out.

Rashi said...

Very nice outdoor activity with kids, and it seems that they have a lot of fun.


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