I’m joining the conversation again this morning over at The Chaos and the Clutter writing about Tender Moments with those precious Toddlers and Preschoolers.


I will never forget that twenty week ultrasound for my third child. Laying on that table propped up with goo sliding all over my belly the technician pressed in and then said, “Just double checking that you want to know the sex of the baby? ‘Cause its crystal clear at the moment.” With a quick final glance we said yes and she announced, “It couldn’t be more of a boy than that!” (I don’t think I need to paint a more clearer mental image for you here.)

My husband exclaimed (more loudly than needed) “I knew it!” I said (a little too loudly), “WHAT?!?!”

True story. I had two girls. Bins full of hand me down girl things. Girl stuff. I had girl stuff. I knew what to do with girls. I am a girl. Girl. What? What will I do with a boy?

Four years later I have found that I love being a mother to a boy. My four year old son brings endless surprise and fun to my days, and certainly new interests. I thought today I would share some of the summer fun adventures we’re having around the house (and don’t cost a thing!) that keep us entertained and happy.


Dinosaur Land


I am fairly certain in saying that every mom of boys has a bucket of plastic dinosaurs. My son becomes obsessed about a specific dinosaur for awhile and that becomes the dinosaur on his birthday or Christmas list. This June it was a Parasaurolophus (seen above eating my Hosta). The only other item needed for Dinosaur Land is your flower bed or garden. The plants in your garden make a great natural habitat for this size of dinosaur to live free and happy. I allow my son to add small boulders (for the dinosaurs to jump from), a bowl of water (for the dinosaurs to drink from because hydration is important don’t you know), and any other small things the dinosaurs might need. My only rule is NOT to dig up Mommy’s plants – well, really this is directed at the dinosaurs. The time passes as he absorbs himself in imaginative play that is Dinosaur Land.


Tractor Beans


I have written about this before, but it is so good I will mention it again! My son received this mini Cat construction set long ago. He liked them, he really did, but there was nothing to scoop because they were so small. And scoop we must! This is a very simple affordable solution to engage your boy for endless summer hours. I used beans I had on hand and filled a small box (with high enough sides mind you to not lose all the beans during the scooping process) for the mini tractors to dig, scoop, and dump. This is also an easy take along toy anywhere you go and is always a hit with a friend who comes to play.


Fortresses of Knights


The old couch cushions and blanket forts never fail. A new addition is who is inside. Wearing tinfoil armor and a sword (that the cat uses as a chew toy) he rushes in and out protecting his fortress from, well, beavers. Yup. Beavers – a true enemy to a knightly fort. You can see his battles have worn down both his armor and his sword and both have been mended many, many times. The epic battles against The Evil Beaver keeps my boy occupied for hours and his sisters in stitches. Easy, on hand fun for summer when nothing else will do. You too can make tinfoil armor – here’s how.


Pioneer Village


My fourth grade daughter spent the last year learning about the Oregon Trail. At night we have been reading aloud the Little House books to all of my children’s delight. We also live close enough to Ft. Vancouver here in Washington State to pass it a few times a week. All this has fed my children’s imagination and they now play Pioneer Village. I made these tents for them a few years back and they have repurposed them into Pioneer Tents. The wooden playhouse in the back is the general store and under the apple tree is our well loved play kitchen where the Village Cook makes meals and trades furs (I’m hoping not at the same time). They hold village meetings on the blanket in the center of the group of tents at which they decide important village matters. Don’t forget the wagon that they ‘migrate’ in – a key to a successful Pioneer village is the comings and goings of new families in the area. I just love when their imaginations run wild.


A River Runs To It


There is something divine about water and dirt. My son will spend hours digging a trench from Point A to Point B in order to let the water run between. Part engineering, part filth, it leads to good old fashioned fun. I like to take him to the local stream or river (the sandbox will do in a pinch) and allow him to dig to his hearts content. He inserts obstacles for the water to rush around, or builds small leaf boats to watch them race down his handmade river. A simple shovel and bucket leads to endless joy and all I have to do is watch and smile.

Enjoy the Adventure!