A free range summer

When I think of my summer holidays as a child, they were filled with sun, sand, bikes, scraped knees, dens and playing out with my mates, only coming home when I was hungry or thirsty.  This is the type of summer I want my children to have.  A somewhat retro summer and certainly a free range one.

free range

I am not saying that I am going to leave my seven and eight year old boys to fend for themselves all day or go on days out with them or even forgo every planned activity.  What I am saying though is that I am going to limt screen time and expect them to take out their cricket bat and ball and enjoy some outside time.

I want them to get board and to try and find ways to fill that time with something other than a mindless electronic game.  If all else fails then they can resort to the bored jar and face the chance of getting a chore instead of an activity!

Who is with me?

The Mad House
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What is Free Range?

Free range could be lots of different things depending on your childs age and your circumstances.  For some parents it will be going to the park and allowing your children to play freely without intervention whereas for others it will be street play or taking them to the beach for a couple of hours and reading whilst they play in the sand.

For me it is about allowing the boys to ride their bikes round the block without me.  They have boundaries about where they can and can not go, but I do not follow them.

I do not want this to be strictly defined.  You need to find something that you are comfortable with and age of child and location will be a big impact on what you allow them to do.

My tips for going free range

    1. Get a set of walkie talkies, these are great for keeping in touch with your children.
    2. Set firm boundaries about how far they can go and when they need to be back (ie they must come back when you call them on the walkie talkie)
    3. Get the a watch.  Both my boys can tell the time now, so I give them a set time to come home
    4. Be prepared that all the children will come to your house with your children, I have squash and ice pops on hand through the summer
    5. Give them access to outdoor toys and activities – My boys have access to their bikes, scooters, balls and bats and we have more than one set as to encourage communal play.
    6. My garden has an open gate policy – I let other children in to my garden as long as their parents know they are allowed.
    7. Start slowly – take them to the park and instead of getting involved stay on the sidelines
    8. Make sure they have your phone number

What next? 

Each week over the summer I plan to do a free range summer post.  It might be ideas that your children can use for street games or things to look for at the beach.  I would love for YOU to join in.  Write about how you are letting your children have more freedom over the summer or your plans.  Posts about what they have done would be great too.  Just leave me a comment on my most recently Free Range Summer post and I will add your post in my Free Range Summer weekly round up.

 

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23 Responses

Liz Burton | 07.04.13

Sounds perfect!

I read a great article in this month’s Simple Things magazine all about how kids are so over-stimulated they just don’t know what it is to be bored. Boredom is a good thing, it makes them more creative, forces them to find things to do…

becky | 07.04.13

I would love this to be a linky it such a great idea i am no where near as brave as you dont let them out the door on their own. I need tolet go a little

VintageVicki | 07.04.13

Very similar to what I did when my 2 were younger – we never planned huge big things – we did stuff at home – they amused themselves and we did lots of small/free/local stuff with a family week away and maybe one big trip. Children need to be bored sometimes so they can learn to amuse themselves. Hate the overplanning that some seem to do.

Bit different now they are teenagers. However we do have one huge adventure to look forward to – we have moving date :)

I’ll join in but you’ll have to give me a poke every week lol x x x

Emma | 07.04.13

That sounds like my kind of summer, and I love the open gate policy :-)

Suzanne | 07.04.13

Brilliant idea! I’m all for this in every way :) It’s great to have a focus for the summer and by blogging, it will give me motivation to let them loose and go free range!

[...] just read a post about the Free Range Summer that Jen’s planning for her two boys this year and it’s made me start thinking about [...]

My kids are free range (or feral depending on how you view it!) and I’d love to link up @afieldsomewhere
Have a great summer.

Emily | 07.04.13

Great idea!
I will try to get involved as much as city living allows. My children can cycle to the park at the end of the road without crossing any road and I will at least let them do that with timers and a phone.
In Ireland they were entirely free to roam our estate and enormous field, hoards of children would be in and out and then gone again for hours – it is one of the things I miss the most.
I want to allow them more freedom but am so terrified if being judged especially if something bad was to happen.
Emily

Emma | 07.04.13

Great idea, my kids are still a bit young – one can’t even walk yet but my four year old is now starting to get a bit more independant and playing where he thinks I can’t see him when we are out :) I’ll certainly try and join in over the summer in some way.

I’d love it if you linked up to my ‘Summer Dreams’ posts, a perfect match!
http://emsyjo.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html

I’m with you in theory but my memories are from 1960s English suburbia. My daughter is a 4yo only child in a 3rd floor flat. Unless I entertain her she’s on her own which isn’t fair for hours/says/weeks on end. She does play on her own some time every day but I also organise and outing every day.

Sally | 07.04.13

I’m with you to an extent – a few days or weeks of downtime in Flea’s 9 week vacation are a good thing, but I’m a planner, I can’t help myself. I love spending time with her and I want us to make the most of it.

Letting the kids go free range is top of my agenda for this summer – http://www.mummyfromtheheart.com/2013/07/summer-plans-getgoodsummer.html

Thanks Jen, will be great to join in with you.

Mich x

This is pretty much how we roll in the Summer holidays but I’ve never blogged about it before. Tempted to now though. Looking forward to reading your posts.

Wendy | 07.04.13

Well obviously I’m joining in – we are creating our summer challenges (the challenge mainly being for me to LET GO!

Before this accident I was far more free range than anything. I frequently let my children out of my sight at the grocery store and the playground. I even let my son (the older of my two children) ride his scooter in the adjoining school lot on weekends while I push my daughter on the swings. To say I don’t overschedule them would be an understatement. We don’t do any – I mean any – extracurricular activities and their toys are basic blocks, puzzles and books. Figure it out kids! We have nothing planned for the summer but trips to grandma and grandpa’s house outside of the city. I threw all germ-phobias out the window once my thumb-sucking daughter started crawling around the city playgrounds.

Jane | 07.04.13

Sounds like you will have a fab summer Jen. I am more of a theme park, days out lady, we don’t know many people in our village yet and I have yet to muster the confidence to let them roam. We have a nice big garden though so they can play and I can have my pimms x

Gillian | 07.04.13

I love the philosophy behind this but don’t know if I could let my two roam just yet – they are still little (4 and 6) and we live in a city. Traffic worries me. But I love how the good weather makes for relaxed parenting. Hardly any screen time, lots of fresh air, playing with water, being in the garden, more family meals around the bbq and lots of quality time. I hope your free range summer is wonderful for you and your lovely boys, Jen. :-) xx

Susan Mann | 07.04.13

Sounds like ou have a great Summer for the boys. Mine go out but where I can still see them. X

Julie | 07.04.13

I’m going to be following you closely – this will be my first non-working, non-holiday club summer. Eek!

TK | 07.04.13

This is a fantastic idea! I only have a toddler, but in principle I agree with going ‘free range’ when it comes to play.

Great idea, Jen and I love that the bored jar idea has caught on. We used to use one a lot at one stage while we were home educating.

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