The reappearance of TOAD

The clocks shifted forward an hour last weekend, which means that sunset now happens at 7:06 p.m. This, plus warming temperatures, has brought back TOAD.

TOAD stands for “time outside after dinner.” After dinner and dishes, the younger children in my family (and sometimes the older ones) will go outside to play. It’s a nice way to spend 30 minutes or so, getting a little more activity and a little more fresh air. Plus filling a few more of the minutes until bedtime!

I tend to go out in a supervisory role, and it’s always interesting to see what they come up with. On Monday, TOAD lasted from 6:45-7:35 p.m. (when it was pretty close to pitch dark!) because they were having a great time collecting little pine cones and distributing those around the swing set. The 9-year-old (naturally) climbed on the outside of the twisty slide and up to the tent tops. The 4-year-old did not get very far trying to copy him (thankfully) but he did help him decorate a large stick that he kept sticking in the dirt and which kept blowing over in the wind. I guess it was something like a Christmas tree.

Anyway, we can’t do TOAD every night but it’s nice to do when we can. Even if we’re wearing jackets and it’s a bit chilly, it’s a sign of the return of spring.

Photo: Yes, I realize this photo is pretty dark…because it was dark outside when I took it!

6 thoughts on “The reappearance of TOAD

  1. Yes, I think that it has worked for you, Ms. Laura Vanderkam. I usually don’t go outside after dinner, but, I do need to exercise for a few minutes right after dinner as they are essential for ensuring that I am still actually working on something after dinner.
    I also tend to go outside for a couple of minutes early in the morning if time permits.

  2. Here in middle England we’re not quite able to do TOAD yet – our time change is right at the end of March, so it’s still getting dark by about 6.15. But TOBDAW (before dinner after work) is still possible and I’ve been going for a walk every evening around 5 with my daughter home from university and it’s lovely. This would never have been possible before the pandemic as I never thought I could WFH successfully, but now I do it 3/4 days a week and so there is zero commute and I can do a bit of a split shift, stop work at 5.15, go for a walk and log back on for 30 minutes once its dark but before dinner. BOBW! Roll on real spring soon.

    1. @Katherine – TOBDAW – I love it! And yes, WFH makes all sorts of things possible if people are smart about it – without giving up anything at work. So many reasons it makes sense. A silver lining of the pandemic.

  3. Wow that playset is impressive! Great that you can do TOAD again, Unfortunately our summer in my part of Australia has been so hot and wet and humid that being outside hasn’t been super pleasant in the evenings. But the weather is now improving and it’s going to be lovely to be outside after dinner for the next couple of months (before it gets too dark too early).

    1. @Sophie – I like this playset too! We picked it out two years ago to replace one that was here and was really really old…yes, we tend not to be out on the swingset in the middle of the day in July. But summer evenings cool down and can be nice. TOAD is good for about 7 months of the year but is particularly fun in early spring when it is new 🙂

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