Growing up Montana Style
I remember growing up Montana style. I would ride my bike on the dirt hills, bring garter snakes home in my water bottle, catch butterflies, and try to hatch fish eggs in my swimming pool. To my parents’ chagrin, the garage resembled a small zoo of bugs, arachnids, reptiles, and all kinds of science experiments. I did what every other boy in the neighborhood was doing, but I was even cooler being a girl. I was the classic definition of a “tomboy” and I loved every minute of it.
Fast Forward 30+ Years (gulp)
Today I am raising two spunky and rambunctious boys in one of my favorite places in the world, where I can indulge my childhood memories and make new ones with them. My oldest is nine and is an incredible cross country and downhill biker, skier and snowboarder, and can play the piano with little effort. My youngest is six and loves music, is crazy laid back, and swims like a fish.
Outside and Screens
Both boys are at home in the outdoors, though I have somewhat forced it on them to encourage interest in things other than technology, since this is what they seem to be wired for. It is like an addiction, I’ve decided, as they often ask for it as soon as they wake up in the morning. I try to push them out the door on nice days and set limits on screen time, yet an argument or even bargaining often ensues. Technology, I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, is wonderful yet the bane of my existence, especially since COVID-19 took hold. Never have my children yelled, stomped their feet, and slammed doors because I haven’t let them go outside. But, limit time on the iPad or not allow them to watch some YouTuber explain how to play Minecraft, and they think the world is going to end.
Finally, Montana Style Summer
June 11th was one of the happiest days this year. It meant the “home school” year was over and technology induced learning could finally end! Now that summer can commence, all that screen time is tucked neatly away in a closet for a rainy day. I know there will be arguments, mean words spat at me, and possibly even tears with my refusal of screen time, but they need to play. I mean it, really learn to play, problem solve, discover that “boring” is a mindset, and enjoy just being kids. Maybe they will thank me some day and fondly recall the things they got to experience as boys being raised in Montana.
Growing Up Montana Style Activity Ideas
As most of us are doing staycations or exploring where we live due to COVID-19, here are some things I have enjoyed doing with my kids:
- Camp in the back yard
- Explore a new trail
- Create a bug collection
- Find paw prints and create plaster molds
- Catch frogs or anything in a creek, river, or lake
- Learn to fly fish
- Hunt for shells or fossils
- Visit a ghost town
- Make your own ice cream
- Plant a vegetable garden
- Create science experiments out of household items (with parent supervision, of course)
- Visit a town in Montana you have never been before
- Make a picnic
- Walk around your neighborhood
- Plant flowers
- Run through the sprinklers
- Have a water balloon battle
- Sleep on the trampoline