We live at the end of a little street with three houses. We are fortunate enough to have our driveway plus some extra space outside our house which is just perfect for bike riding and outdoor exploring. It is a straight shot from our house to the first house on the street, and with our supervision, the driveway of this first house is often a manageable goal for the children to ride to on their various bicycles and tricycles.
At some point over the summer, the girls decided that the tree outside the first house on our street was dubbed "the neighborhood." I believe that this stemmed from the girls' affinity for the program Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. The boys quickly adapted this nickname, as the girls enthusiasm is often contagious.
The children can often be seen setting off for the neighborhood. Sometimes it is on foot, sometimes it is on bicycle, and sometimes it is a combination of the two. Seth likes to race down on his bicycle, and report back with ideas of secret missions. Sometimes Evan plays with Seth, and sometimes he is the girls' companion. Sometimes the kids make it all the way to the end by vehicle, and sometimes they abandon their tricycles and helmets and scamper forward on foot. Sometimes the girls collect pinecones, and sometimes the boys collect leaves. Sometimes all four children are in on a scheme together, and sometimes there's chaos when two of the kids are running towards home and two want to stay put.
I hope the kids will remember the neighborhood as they grow older. I hope it will represent the magical places the imagination can create; I hope it will represent the fun they have with their siblings. I hope it will signify how we let our children explore their surroundings; I hope it will signify how they always knew we were close by to catch them when they fell.