A boy, a tent, and a flashlight
We had friends come to visit us, and they brought a tent to sleep in. A certain little three-year-old was absolutely ecstatic. As he watched them set it up he got more and more excited - running in circles around the deck. Somewhere along the line he found a flashlight, and I'm pretty sure it was the highlight of his trip. We are definitely coming to realize that simple is usually best, and the simplicity of a flashlight was a perfect match for an adventurous toddler.
Over the course of our vacation we've acquired a lot of beautiful toys and clothes, thanks to my generous mother-in-law. We've also lived in the most gorgeous little cottage, which is around 600 square feet. It's interesting to see how comfortably we could live in a smaller space, and when we get home we are going to have to do some major purging. Having only a few select toys to play with makes clean-up easier, and it also seems to encourage the kids imaginations. Soren has played non-stop with a set of Star Wars characters, taking them swimming in a kiddie pool, lining them up to dry, and climbing 'trees' made out of sticks. He's literally entertained himself for hours on end, and I don't think he would have done that at our home. It's also been wonderful to have had no tv. We don't watch a ton of tv at home, but there are definitely days when I turn it on mindlessly. Without a tv we've read more books - including one for myself! - and taken time to watch the beautiful sunsets. (usually with a glass of wine in hand!)