If you look closely, you might notice the corner of our sandbox about midway up along the left side of the photo, near my son’s hand. Yes, you guessed it: This major excavation project did not take place in our sandbox, but rather right next to it.
We’ve had a good-sized sandbox for years. In fact, it was the very first home improvement project my then-husband undertook when we moved into the house. (And we only had ONE boy back then!) But while the sandbox has seen its fair share of action over the years, the true magic happens outside of the sandbox.
Forget wishes of a lush lawn. My boys have completely excavated and reconstructed the perimeter of the sandbox. There’s an ever-changing channel leading from the edge of the driveway to Fink Pond, the boys’ name for the “pond” you see them sitting in above. (That pond has even held fish!)
On nice days, the boys place the garden hose at the edge of the channel, crank on the water, and watch the water fill in the pond as they construct various dams and levees along the way. Sure, they get dirty, and sure, my lawn and yard look less like Better Homes and Gardens and more like Home Education Magazine. But isn’t that the point?
My priority was never to have a perfect yard or home. My priority is to raise well-loved, comfortable children. I want my children to have the freedom and opportunity to explore their interests, and when it comes to “perfect yard” or “let the kids dig up part of the lawn,” I let them dig up part of the lawn.
Lest you think I”m entirely self-sacrificing here, I’ll confess that peace and quiet is a huge part of my motivation. Because when the boys are busy with the water and hose and pond, they’re leaving me alone! And, most of the time, not fighting. That’s worth a few extra dollars on my water bill, as far as I’m concerned.
What about you? Do you let your boys make messes? Do things they’re not “supposed” to do? I’d love to hear about it?
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