My children seem to be entirely dependent on me for their entertainment. "Mama, will you play with me? I'm lonely." Michael will say. Or Ava will demand, "Mama! Pay! (play)" We have a beautiful playset outside with three levels and a slide and some swings. We have a sand table and a box full of balls, chalk, bubbles, jump ropes, bats, and squirt bottles. However, when we're outside all they seem to want is for me to push them on the swings. They haven't learned to climb up into the swing and pump on their own yet. I need to encourage some independence in their play.
Last night after dinner we added two new things to the backyard. They are so simple and yet the children loved them and played with them independently for at least 20 minutes until it was getting dark and time to go in for bath. First we added a disc swing. When I bought it I daydreamed that we'd hang it low and the children would be able to get on it by themselves and swing without me. Well, as it turns out they cannot get on the swing by themselves. Ava cannot hold on even if we put her on and Michael can only hold on for about 30 seconds before falling off although he loves the 30 seconds. It looked like it was going to be a failure until Ava decided that she loved to grab the swing, pull it back and make it go "high!" She'll do it over and over again. Michael wanted to hit it with a bat and watch it swing around and absolutely loved it, but the swing was a little too low to make hitting it with the bat easy.
This gave us the idea to suspend a wiffle ball just at Michael's hitting height. He had a blast "whacking" the ball over and over again. He loved the sound of the bat hitting the ball. He loved watching it fly away from him and giggled every time the string brought it back bumping into him. It was hard to drag him away and he can't wait to try it again.
The two new additions were a complete success. Hopefully the newness won't wear off too quickly.