In most households parents work outside the home, making it difficult to find spare time to spend with their children. This is why it is so important to make the time one does have count. Organizing activities that will open your children’s minds and give them new and wondrous experiences may be a little challenging, but well worth the effort in their development.
To create life balance in your children’s lives, you must let them experience as many things as possible that includes an equal amount of work and play. Work teaches responsibility and important life skills. Play introduces culture, sports, travel, and the beauty of diversity.
Don’t just take your children to the ball game because you like sports, or to the mall because you like to shop. That just creates selfish, narrow-minded individuals. Be a good example for your children and let them see you are an interesting person always seeking to learn more. Get them into classes and let them try different things. Let them select an instrument and learn how to play it. Let them try some acting classes. Let them choose a sport and try it to see if they like it. Most parents seem to believe the choices in sports are baseball, football, or basketball. They forget about swimming, diving, tennis, golf, martial arts, dance, skating, and gymnastics. Their children may be much more inclined to try one these sports, and actually have a natural talent for it.
Every weekend should be a family adventure. Check out the Weekender in the Tampa Times on Friday to see what is being offered in the Tampa Bay area that week. Many great activities are free or at a reasonable cost. Take advantage of the free museum day that is offered annually. Let your children enjoy a movie, go to the circus, see the yearly air show at Albert Whitted Airport, or the Blue Angels at MacDill Air Force Base. Lowry Park Zoo is a great place to spend the afternoon. The fireworks offered on the Fourth of July and New Years are always inspiring and entertaining, and the Christmas, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Gasparilla parades are also pleasing activities. You can take your children to the car races, marathons, and triathions in the area to enjoy the action. The Blues Fest and Rib Fest are exciting. The flower and plant shows in the spring and sidewalk art shows in the summer that enhance the parks are interesting exhibits to learn from. The Florida Orchestra offers free concerts in the park several times per year that you can take advantage of, and the Mahaffey Theater, Ruth Eckerd Hall, American Stage, and the David A. Straz, Jr. Center put on wonderful shows, such as plays, comedies, ballets, modern dance, musical performances, and so much more.
Of course, in Florida we are surrounded by amusement parks. Don’t focus on returning to the same one though. Try out as many as possible. Disney and Universal Studios have several great parks to choose from, and if you have the time and the funds, you can get a pass that permits you to explore several of them over a few days. Medieval Times, Arabian Knights, and the Wild, Wild, Wild West stunt shows are really well produced and worth visiting. Busch Gardens is right next door, and is just as wonderful as Disney World. Sunken Gardens is lovely and inspirational, as well as many of the beautiful parks throughout St. Petersburg, which are wonderful places to relax, have a picnic, and play Frisbee or ball with the little ones.
No matter where you take your children, it will be time well spent. Just going out with one’s parents shows children that their mom and dad care enough to give them the nurturing attention each one of them needs and desires. Even if at first, your children may act reluctant to try something new, once they see some of the unexpected wonders, they will immediately want to get involved. Each activity will expand their minds, and create a worthwhile memory to be used in the future, or end up turning into something they discover so enticing it makes them aspire for something new.
Though you have to work during the summer, you can place your children in one of the recreation centers, which offer sports, games, swimming pools, and fun-filled outings. You may have to pay a little for the outings to some amazing destinations, but you will find that at the discounted group rates offered and the fact that you don’t have to pay for yourself to take them or the cost of transportation, it is really an amazing deal and fabulous opportunity for your young ones.
Get your children involved in the community. Tampa Bay offers many opportunities to help others or the environment. The pet pal rescue needs regular volunteers to walk the dogs, pet the cats, and clean up their cages. Yearly drives to clean up the beaches and waterways are announced for community support. The Peace Patch needs young gardeners to help set up school gardens so the cafeterias will have healthy local vegetables for the students. You can even get them involved in the Scouts or another youth group that regularly supports and assists community projects to better the lives of others. This not only gives your children some important skills, but also builds their characters while teaching them good morals, community awareness, and the importance of making an effort to help others.
Your children only get one childhood. Make it a great one. By balancing their activities between work and play, they will grow mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. Let every spare moment count as something unique, fun, and inspiring. Take the time and teach your children well.