a peek inside the fishbowl

25 Apr, 2008

No child left inside

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life|parenting|Yaktivism

I love this time of year. I’ve been gardening outside … well, not really gardening, just raking and puttering and breaking up big sticks into little sticks (which I find immensely therapeutic) to cover a non-grassy area in the back of the backyard.We’ve been busy around here, and as a family we’ve had very little time for things like homework or watching television. I prefer to eat dinner and then go outside. Last night we went for a swim at the local pool. The night before we did a 2km walk/scooter around the neighbourhood. The night before that we walked to the liquor store. (Hey, it’s as good a destination as any!)

I suppose this question is mostly for families of Northern climes, but I would like to know, when the good weather hits is anyone out there still watching TV during the week? And why?

It’s so easy to go outside. I’d say it’s even easier than plunking down in front of the TV, and so much better for us. I love being able to open the door and say ‘go.’ Sometimes I like to add a RUN LIKE THE WIND for good measure.

As parents, one of the things I think we’re doing right is also giving our children lots of time for unstructured outdoor play.

The girls had a little friend come over the other day, and I couldn’t believe all the stuff they came up with to do. They were busy for hours. They climbed the tree, they looked for bugs, they played house,  and horsey, they rolled around on the lawn, they picked seeds off the dry Morning Glory vines, they dug in the compost bin, they planted the seeds in little flower pots… and lord knows what else. Mind you, they were so dirty by the end of it that even the garden hose wouldn’t get them clean … but I think the effort required to give the kids a quick bird bath at the end of the day is a small price to pay for a couple of happy and healthy children.

Today, we are getting a huge pile of dirt delivered to our house. So instead of that trip to the park the family will be spreading said dirt across our front lawn, delivering some to our starving and neglected flowerbeds, and planting more clover seeds.

Yay Spring! I thought you’d never come.

10 Responses to "No child left inside"

1 | Jen_nifer

April 25th, 2008 at 8:57 am


We have been to the park every day for a week. We went twice on Saturday.

Our viewing of YouTube videos (about Zambonis or kids cartoons) has been receding as the snow has been.

It’s wonderful. We’re finding it difficult to find dinners we can make in less than half an hour so one parent isn’t stuck inside making dinner while the other is out having fun with our toddler. We’re looking forward to getting a BBQ this summer so we can cook outside.

2 | Javamom

April 25th, 2008 at 9:23 am


If you read my post “TV and songbirds” you will see that there are children in the Toronto area that hold very little interest in tv as well!

TV…what tv? If I flick around it’s usually bec I’m nursing and even then I can barely tolerate it. BORING.

Being outside is so awesome this time of year, especially after the winter we’ve had….and yes, our kid and the neighbour’s kids, they too come up with stuff to do without much influence from us adults. It’s funny actually seeing the 3yo leave most of his toys aside and play with rope, sticks, posts I use for sunflowers, watering cans, and dirt, dirt, dirt. THAT is what childhood is all about anyway, right? It’s about the dirt!

3 | Laura

April 25th, 2008 at 11:06 am


Been loving the weather and yes we been living outdoors. My kids love nature just as much as me and my husband. I never stopped to think what i would do if one member of our family didn’t enjoy the outdoors – hummm scary. TV has never been an issue as we only have one with bunny ears. Back in university days just couldn’t afford it and since just cant bare the thought of paying that much for cable. (okay I am a little frugal)

4 | tali

April 25th, 2008 at 11:36 am


Well, you know what I’m going to say ;) …we don’t have a TV, so its not an issue. And in the winter we were outside shoveling too much, anyway!

Though, Lost apparently is back on, so I will be downloading it for future watching, as it is the only TV show I’ve seen in the last couple years and I’ve developed an attachment to it…

5 | The Veg Next Door

April 25th, 2008 at 11:52 am


We watched tv ALL week. Yes, all week. Myself and the girls have been under the weather. I kept telling myself that it was actually really cold outside depsite the sun so I wouldn’t feel bad for missing out on the good weather.

In normal circumstances we’re hardly ever indoors when the warm weather is here. Not only do we watch very little tv but I hardly have to clean! :-)

6 | andrea

April 25th, 2008 at 12:10 pm


Hey don’t get me wrong… I watch TV. But I watch it after the kids are in bed. (The PVR is the best thing that’s happened to TV watching since the invention of the remote control.)

Javemom: I read your post the other day. Very sweet. :)

7 | andrea

April 25th, 2008 at 12:11 pm


Oh no Veg: sorry to hear you guys were under the weather. I’m just getting over a cold over here too. (You think you’re free and clear, when BAM, HELLO, YOU’RE SICK. Gah!)

8 | ChristinaTE

April 25th, 2008 at 2:33 pm


My mom always used to toss us outside when the weather got nice. She would make a big show about locking the door and how we needed to stay out for at least an hour. I don’t think we were addicted to TV so badly but my sister and I were big bookworms and would easily spend the whole day inside with books if we weren’t reminded to leave the house. Luckily we lived on 8 acres with lots of woods and creeks behind our house so starting an adventure outside was always easy. I guess things have changed a lot in 20 years though and people wouldn’t normally send their 7 and 8 year olds out into the woods without adult supervision.

9 | Scatteredmom

April 25th, 2008 at 10:21 pm


We’re a very outdoorsy family too, and would much rather be outside doing something then cooped up watching tv.

The last little while has been hard though…because I’ve been struck with some sort of rheumatic condition, I can’t physically go ride bikes or roller blade, or hardly hike some days. We’re having to change it up so that on the good days, I go and take advantage. On the bad, they go without me. It’s been hard to adjust.

Jake has always been an outdoorsy kid so he has lots of friends that he plays outside with, which is a help. :)

10 | Pendullum

April 27th, 2008 at 10:38 am


I have been loving this weather…
Everyday I get an update while walking home for lunch about which tree is about to burst with leaves….
We can hardly contain ourselves….
Today, we are off to the park to enjoy the cherry blossoms…
What is great about it, it also becomes a bit of a cultural lesson as all the Japanese extended families are all out having picnics under the trees, with their pots of steamed rice and sushi and cantelope …

comment form:


Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


Connect with me at these places too!

All hail the mighty Twitter