Disclosure: I am currently serving as a “Play Ambassador” for Let’s Play. This is a sponsored post, however, the opinions expressed are my own.
Sometimes love is found in the most mysterious of places… and ways.
Ever since I was young, I’ve never questioned my passion for nature and the outdoors.
What was the inspiration, you ask?
How did I begin the courting process with the amazing environs of Bucks County, Pennsylvania?
It all started one summer day in the late 1980s after school was out, as me and my two younger brothers began to slowly drive my mom into the depths of insanity.
Some may have likened us to The Three Stooges. I, of course, was Moe, the ringleader, with Larry and Curly (Eric & Travis) not far behind.
We would feed off of one another incessantly. Instead of the classic Stooge ‘paintbrush’ slap or surprise ‘eye poke,’ it was atomic wedgies and hair buzzer attacks during a peaceful slumber on the sofa.
One of the final straws that broke the camel’s (mom’s) back was during an extremely humid afternoon that found me and my siblings flying around the house in our Hanes tighty-whities, chasing our youngest brother, spitting watermelon seeds at him in hopes that they’d stick to his back.
With less than 50% accuracy, we spit and launched wet seeds all over the house, sticking to the 1980’s flowered wallpaper and floor.
The steam billowed from our mom’s ears.
And it was in that moment, that she told us all to ‘get out and stay out,’ locking the three of us outside in our underwear to brave the wild.
We sort of shrugged it off and casually finished our watermelon while using the backyard swing set, but that only took all of five minutes.
After that, was when we really started to think about how we were going to survive until either dad got home or mom was ready to let us back in.
We collected corn stalks and leaned them up against the picnic table, creating a temporary shelter for ourselves in the event of inclement weather. We scavenged wild blackberries for nourishment and began to forget our sibling differences, embrace our creative thoughts and come together as a team.
Eventually mom let us back inside…
…and for the rest of the summer, oddly enough, she never needed to break up fights over the Nintendo and ‘force’ us outside. It was that summer day, with me and my brothers huddled under the picnic table eating like survivalists, that we discovered our love for the outdoors.
At the end of every spring, we began to get excited for school to come to an end and enjoyed discussing our plans for the summer.
Sure, we all participated in organized groups like the Cub Scouts and community/school-related sports like baseball, cross-country, football and the swim team, but I personally looked forward to those days when I had absolutely nothing to do.
Complete with stats…
My neighborhood friends and I would tie fishing rods to the handlebars of our BMX bikes and explore the backcountry roads, looking for hidden trout streams or corner marts that sold the latest Topp’s baseball cards.
We’d stuff a basketball into our backpack and hit the elementary school for a game of H.O.R.S.E. We built forts in the woods and if I ever get called to the stand to testify, I’ll vehemently deny that contraband like firecrackers or a dirty magazine ever existed.
We skipped stones across ponds, built jumps and ramps for our bikes. We flipped rocks in our creek and caught crayfish for bait when we fished for bass in my Uncle John’s pond and my friend Kenny’s grandparent’s house up at the lake.
We shot aluminum cans off of fence posts with bb guns and slingshots, camped out around a fire and talked about the girls we wanted to kiss and bras we wanted to someday unhook.
But it wasn’t all just a re-creation of the movie Stand By Me, as I also found enjoyment spending time with my dad after he got home from work.
I’ll never forget the times we shared as he hit me grounders and pop-flies in the backyard and do the occasional woodworking project together, usually a birdhouse.
I know that some kids and teenagers can’t relate to my geographical reminiscence – but no matter where you live or play, the only two things you need to have an epic summer is the ambition to walk out that front door and IMAGINATION.
Aside from being tossed outside in your underwear, there a million things to do outdoors and I hope you and your kids manage to find a few…
If you’ve already got a great list of activities, please share it here – it might give some of us some much needed inspiration!
Join me and take the Let’s Play pledge to get our kids outside as much as possible this season and show them how amazing it can be.
If you’re having trouble finding something for your kids to do, especially if they’re teens, check out these ideas!