Cambrian: Opinion

Lady Tie Di: Summertime, when we’re all olly olly oxen free

Summer is here and the time is right for dancin’ in the streets

—Oh, wait— wrong train of thought …. Well, not SO far off. Summer. It got progressively more vague as the kids got older, less reliant on their parents for guidance and entertainment. Although young-son- home-from-college-for-the- summer likes to have mom treat to lunch and the like.

Nevertheless, I think about things we did do when they were little and things I’ve only just recently thought about. Grandkids some day?

With the multitudes of visitors to this town and friends with houseguests, here are some ideas for the masses this vacation season.

The most obvious, and always my first suggestion, is take them out in nature. The beach—duh. There are more than just the possibilities of chasing waves and building sand castles. How about teaching them what moonstones look like and finding them? Pretend they are precious jewels and use them to “purchase” goods from the store you built out of driftwood like seaweed for soup and other stones for bread. They can take them home to their driftwood houses that you’ve constructed beforehand.

My brother used to challenge us at southland beaches to not touch the sand. “It’s hot lava. Don’t touch it! BUT, too high up on the rocks here and there are snakes and dragons. So, you have to just climb along the cliff like, 2 or 3 feet!” He was so creative that way.

Obviously there are the elephant seals. It’s always good to have examples of such prehistoric creatures available for educating kids about wildlife. They are so cool. How to make them even cooler? Have everyone pick a seal in an area. Name them. Then have conversations. What’s going on in their “dreams” (if they’re just lying around snoozing)? Swimming? Where are they going? You get the idea. Don’t put too much thought into it or it will become more of a homework assignment than a game.

We also happen to be blessed with the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Remember “Red Light, Green Light,” the game of little kids everywhere? What better way to get exercise than up and down those hills, going away from you instead of toward you, to a chosen point—a tree or dip in the trail?

Or, one I had the kids do one summer camp, “Camera.” This is also good on the ranch or in your yard even. Partner up. One person closes their eyes. The other VERY carefully leads them around the chosen, outdoor area until they find something they want to “take a picture of.” They instruct their partner to move their head down, left, right or what-have-you and then open their eyes just for an instant, “snapping the picture” of what they want them to see. After about 5-6 “images” stop and talk about what they saw and see if they saw the same thing their partner did.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City had a cool little “Bingo Board.” A square piece of cardboard with little plastic sliding windows to cover pictures of paintings and sculptures in the museum, as the child found them, they cover them up until they got a bingo!

How about taking pictures of buildings, trees, etc. around Cambria and then walking them around looking for them or even from the car on the way to the grocery store or wherever?

Just some thoughts—I wanna play!!

Dianne Brooke’s column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at, or visit her website at