Friday, February 15, 2013

A surefire way to get kids to play outside.

Ben and I grew up very differently than my kids are growing up.  Both he and I were outside all the time.  Ben basically grew up in a forest, and he's always telling me about the things he and his friend Kyle would do in the woods.  Ride their dirt bikes.  Crash.  Build jumps out of old, fallen tree trunks.  In the summer, I was always jumping on the tramp, taking walks with my friend, Em, or forever trying (and never succeeding) to do a back walkover.  Or we'd rollerskate in the driveway.  Or play "guess that color" with jumpropes.  In the winter, I probably played out in the snow a couple of times per week, or I would be in my room, quietly devouring a book.  And I skied every Saturday - I was in ski school.

My kids like to spend their spare time on the iPad, Wii, or laptop.  Playing stupid computer games.  We limit the time they can play, and when their time is up, they just bug me.  Follow me around.  Tell me they're bored.  Ask me what fun thing we're going to do today.  Eat because they're bored.  It drives me crazy.  I'm always like, "Go outside! Get some fresh air!"  They whine about it being cold, blah blah blah.  Or in the summer, they whine about bugs.  It seriously makes me so mad.

My mom says that her mom, in the summer, would lock them outside every now and then.  She'd say, "I need to do some cleaning.  And you need fresh air.  Have fun!"  I'm seriously considering doing this very thing every now and then when summer comes around.

Yesterday afternoon, when I found out that Dylan was going to have two friends over to play Wii, I put a scented candle in his bedroom (where the Wii is) and lit it.  When little boys get together in a small room to play video games, they emit a peculiar, musty smell. 

I have a very sensitive sniffer.  If I was a superhero, that would be my little talent.  Sniffing out stuff.  When my parents' dog, Scruffy, would pee on their carpet, and they couldn't find it, I just had to walk into the room and sniff, and I could find the spot where he had peed several days before.  And then, of course, my mom would scrub at it.

I think they were a little relieved when Scruff passed away.  He was troublesome in his later years.

Anyways, the placing of the scented candle ended up being a little bit of foreshadowing.

They're in there, playing whatever game and saying the dorky things that tweens say, and then I start hearing yelling.  More yelling than usual.  Because tweens do a lot of yelling on a regular basis.  "I LOVE INDIANA JONES!!"  "I LOVE SKYLANDERS MORE!!"  "WHICH SKYLANDER IS YOUR FAVORITE?"

So I go in there to see what's going on, and there is some kind of slimy substance all over Dylan's friend, Noah's, pants, and all over the carpeted floor.  Noah had brought over his valentine candy in his backpack, and I don't know if this slime was some type of slimy edible candy thing that was spilled, or if they did some kind of experiment in school and he brought it along with his valentine candy, and then it got spilled?  I have no idea what the substance was.

All I know was that, when it touched Noah's pants and Dylan's carpet, it solidified from slime into more of a chewed gum-like substance.  And that was just FUN.

So I got out the carpet cleaner and made Noah and Dylan scrub away at it, and they didn't make a dent in it.

So I brought out the big guns - Goof Off.  Goof off is awesome for removing sticky things from fabric and carpet. 

I warned them that it might stink a little - it smells like turpentine.  They figured they could handle it.

Turns out, not so much.  They fled the room, yelling (of course) and holding their noses.  (The Goof Off did take out the substance, but the carpet is forever stained pink in that spot.)  The smell spread throughout the whole house - it really is potent - and it bugged them enough that they decided to go outside and play in the snow.

I was like, "Wow, this Goof Off really clears out a room."  And then it dawned on me, and I slowly smiled.  All I have to do, when my kids are up in my grill and I need them to go outside, is to pull out the Goof Off and start scrubbing at something.  It's the perfect solution.

Here are Dylan and his two friends, having a snowball fight.  And Micah, who went outside just to eat the snow and pose prettily for pictures:

Something ironic that just barely happened - the stupid cat threw up on the carpet.  So I had to get out the carpet cleaner and scrub away at carpet yet AGAIN.  Two carpet cleanings within 24 hours.  I'm living the dream, dude.  Living the dream. :)


Camille said...

Oh man! My kids are actually pretty good at playing outside. They love it and this weather is driving them crazah! Count my blessing - I will! We have a rule at our house. My kids are not allowed to play any electronic devices with friends! No TV/IPad/IPod - sometimes I let Josh do the WII = mean mom stuff!!!!! We'll see how long I can get away with it.

Mindy H. said...

I started thinking back as I read your post and realized that almost all of my childhood play memories took place outside... except that time we accidently locked ourselves in the garage. Does getting locked in a garage count as inside or out? It wasn't attached to the house...

Anyway, I'm glad you found a way to get the kids to enjoy some outside time. By mid-summer you should have really clean carpets and really tan kids!

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