About 20 minutes down the road from our home are the most amazing clay hills - known in our family as the Bad Lands. They are big, red, rolling, and other-worldly, and the kids love to play there. We invited a group of friends from our home school group out for the afternoon and everyone had a blast. William and Charlie are familiar enough with this place and the trails around it that we have a "stay within hearing range" rule only - they jumped out of the car, waited impatiently for a few minutes until their friends showed up (old ones and new!!) and then took off down the hills and into the woods. It is great to see them so comfortable there, and to eavesdrop in on their games - there was much talk of spies and pirates in their play today.
I also saw again how lucky our kids are to have the time to explore like this. While we were at the hills, a school bus stopped by and about 30 high school aged kids piled out. They walked across the top of the hills, read the signs, took in the view, and then loaded back into the bus after about 10 minutes. In their defence, they may have been on their way to something else far more interesting (?) but even William commented on how sad it was that the didn't stay to play.
We are lucky indeed!