Without siblings around to help cushion his tween boredom, I’ve had to ask myself, can a tiny home without internet on a large country lot still be the hang out home for teens and their friends?
“I’m bored.” These words have come back to haunt me in my late 30’s as I find myself caring for a tween every other week. When I was a kid I recall frequently telling my dad this even though I had 3 brothers to play with and a handful of friends in walking distance of our house. I’ve realized this is even more so part of the tween i-generation maturing process, the need to be constantly entertained. The reality of our situation is when you live and work from your tiny home, the idea of video games, loud music, and the constant desire for attention can make life very stressful and workflow come to a screeching halt. I’ve always wanted to cultivate the home where kids feel welcome, safe, and free to be themselves. So, as our household is preparing for summer with a 12 year old who is still figuring out our new space in the country, I’ve wondered about how to make our tiny home lot still a place where our tween wants to have friends over.
During spring break we set a plan in action to create outdoor hangout locations. First we brainstormed things he likes to do with his friends. At the top of the list was jump on a trampoline (of course), basketball, and simply hang out and listen to music. He had been begging us to get an AlleyOOP trampoline since last summer after watching a number of Instagram videos of kids catching some serious air on their jumps. So, finally this year we decided to make the investment. At age 12 I knew he would use the trampoline daily until he was at least 17 if not older. Plus, truth be told, I’ve always wanted a trampoline to learn to do a backflip myself. My sister in law can do a double backflip on their AlleyOOP and she’s given birth twice! Even though she is younger than myself, I figure if she can do it and not pee her pants, so can I.
We ordered our trampoline, the AlleyOOP 14’ Power Bounce with a basketball hoop so there would be plenty of room for multiple friends to hang out at once and practice their jumps, tricks, and basketball dunks. We cleared a location on one side of the house for when the installers come to set it up. It's also the side where there are plenty of windows for me to watch what's happening on the trampoline as I work from my computer. On the other side of the house we decided to build a fire pit so when friends are over they can hang out, laugh, be loud, listen to music, and run between activities without disturbing my workflow inside. Finally, we created a shelf in the kitchen that has snacks just for when friends are over. This way they know they can come inside and grab something to eat without having to ask first.
All in all, my stress level has been put at bay knowing that although we have chosen a more simplistic home life, we can still host a handful of rowdy tween boys and know they will be safe, entertained, and well fed. Providing a space for them to cultivate their friendships is valuable and we want them to know our home is a place where they can be themselves and have fun.