Elana Safronsky, Managing Editor
Friday, June 3, 2011 2:44 PM EDT
Come summer, I really do regress. All I see when I look at my 4-yr-old daughter and my lush (read: totally overgrown and untended) backyard, is sunshine dappling through wind-tussled curls, soap bubbles fanning out across the great, blue sky, and wistful days of not going to the office.
I love summer. I love summer with my child. I love having a child in the summer because she is my beard for being a total child myself, which is why I have put together the following list of things I would have sold my mother for when I was little (and still would -- no I wouldn't, come on).
Oh my goodness, the things available for kiddies' outdoor entertainment today... (I was born in Russia. It wasn't the same.)
Rattan swing; IKEA Svinga
Am I right? I mean, tie something to the porch, to a tree or to a rafter... The weirder the shape the better, the more blankies and pillows I could fit in there, and the less times I had to go to the bathroom (which meant leaving my swinging lair) the more blissful my swinging moments...
Giant Chess or Checkers Set
CnChess; Grand River Toys
If I could pick one thing that wholly captured my imagination as a child it was these giant, totally passe chess and checkers sets that scream chintzy vacation spot or American Reaganite-era movie. I still want one, they're just so crazy expensive! (I did find this set for $275.00 at LYNX.)
OMG these are expensive as well, but how utterly mind-blowing? My girlfriend just splurged on a mini one of these for her 5-yr-old and that child has not slept in the main house since last week. The Crooked Houses for kids are hand-crafted, originating in Maine, and are winners of numerous awards. They are truly artistic creations and available in Canada, but if you simply cannot swing it, and I know I simple cannot, try Costco -- they have some very affordable options both online and exclusively in stores.
For the Nomad Child
A customized Tipi by Kimmel Kids for the mom behind Macaroon Original blog and shop; Geronimo tent via Polyvore
My mom was not one of those moms that love the idea of overnighting in anything but a fresh, clean bed, nor did she admit anything wild such as pets, dirt, flora and fauna into her home unless under strict aesthetic exception, so backyard tenting was not in my childhood cards (also because I whiled away in a hot apartment building most of my tenting years). What would I have done or not done for a Tipi? (Or Teepee is it?) Everything and anything, that's what. Sure you can source and buy one, but wouldn't you love to make one out of vintage curtains of something?
Straight Up Giant Fun Toys
Ball Sprinkler and Sandbox, both Potter Barn Kids
A giant ball sprinkler? YES PLEASE. (Thank heavens the photo is there to pull your mind out of the gutter). How about a lovely teak sandbox with a Martha's Vineyard canopy? (It's just Pottery Barn Kids, but their catalog shots always make think of the Kennedys). I know these can be cumbersome and also, unfortunately, expensive, but your kids are only young once, and if you can afford it -- because no one knows better than I that you do not need money to have fun as a kid (think throwing wet paper towel globs off the balcony) -- bite the bullet and do it!
Happy Backyard Living month my friends, and do go outside.