During the summer holiday, I was struck one day by the amount of toys my boys had in the garden. The lawn was hardly visible under all the coloured plastic! My mum had come over and I told her that I didn’t remember our garden ever being so full of stuff when I had played outside as a young child and she agreed. All we could remember her putting out in those days was a small paddling pool, a bat and ball and my beloved disco hopper. Yet I have great memories of those times spent running around with the grass between my toes, getting soaked with the garden hose. I certainly never felt that I was missing out.
If anything, I think that having less toys to play with made my friends and I more imaginative. We used to dream up different settings, with the flowerbeds becoming a flower market (much to my mum’s bemusement when we pulled up all her flowers to sell!) or a magic carpet or part of an Alice in Wonderland scene…. And we had hours of fun spinning around on the clothes line. I also think we noticed nature more because our attention wasn’t focussed simply on which toy to go for next. We could really appreciate the blossom, the rustling leaves, the changing seasons…
My mum certainly didn’t have the problem of trying to find a place to store all the items we have nowadays. And she most definitely didn’t trip over the garden step and fracture her shoulder like I did a few months back whilst trying to carry in a tonne of plastic tut! The biggest irony is that, like me way back when, the boys were actually happiest this summer just playing with the hose and a big tub of water!
Sometimes I worry that life has become so fast and busy now that my boys will never know the joy of the simple childhood I had. But I think it’s still there, buried under the mobile phones, the emails and the hundreds of TV channels….there is always the option of a walk through the park or a simple bike ride down the street….or just playing outside with the garden hose!
I can’t stop now; I’ve got to run; I really must get going…
I’m caught up in a frantic world that shows no sign of slowing!
I tweet and mail and surf all day to try and keep “up to speed”
And buy my children all the stuff kids now supposedly need!
Yet I recall in days gone by how people stopped to chat…
And kids played many happy hours with just a ball and bat!