You know what’s cool about being a stay-at-home dad? I get to be a kid again while playing and shooting this video of my kids free play outdoors in Morocco with SuperZings toys vs Imaginext Red Robin, Green Lantern, and little dragons like in “How to train your dragons”. It’s a FUNtastic father and son bonding time. Also a great opportunity to learn how to make videos! The downside? Video-making takes a lot of time. But hey, full time fatherhood is my new career 😊.
The other benefit about being a house husband is that I get to spend quite a lot of time with the kids. Now, I know there’s a downside to that. You parents know that all too well. And yet, if you were to reframe it, you can actually have some great opportunities to connect with your children. That’s something that many working parents I know, wish they had.
“Hells yeah!”, I say. I know when I was working, the only quality time I had with the kids was on the weekends which were usually jam-packed with household things to do and a bunch of other time-suck stuff, like catching up with family and friends, or trying to give Ania (my wife) some quiet time away from the kids…. trying was the operative word here.
Thank God, Allah and the big fat Buddha 😉, that was 3 years ago when wife and I decided to quit the job, have a serious family lifestyle change, embark in a semi-nomadic life, and focus on raising happy and healthy children.
First stop, Spain, for what was supposed to be a family gap year–one year! Three years later and we’re still here and I’m still happily unemployed. Why? Because, ever since we moved we get to have the time and breathing space to change our ways. But that’s for a different topic.
As for time-with-kids. . . Now, I get to have free play with my kids, cook and clean with them, walk with them from school, watch them flourish, learn from them and, at the same time, learn some new skills like discovering Andalusian children songs, making our own flamenco-inspired music and creating family-friendly videos.
what You can learn making a video of your kids at play outdoors
So, as a full time father, what did I learn making freeplay video with my kids? The main thing I’ve learned shooting my kids playing, whether indoors or outdoors, is that it’s best not to direct them. That’s why we do “FREE PLAY” instead.
What is free play? For me, it means, playing with little direction from us parents. . . I say with “little” because there are times when what my kids would want to do could be dangerous to themselves or others, then obviously you’ve gotta step in. So, it means playing in the manner that they want with toys or without, as long as it is safe for everyone and it does not take away from anyone or threaten anything. Put simply, just let them be!
Let your children’s creativity drive the play/video. The idea for our freeplay videos is to do video of the kids playing with toys but unscripted and without any preparation (unlike many of the things that are on YouTube and are often acted by adults to sell toys). We don’t get any money or freebies or anything for the toys that we play with in the videos (although it would be kind of helpful though for this unemployed father of dragons, but that’s not the point of it!).
Join in the fun! What works best for me is to simply join in the fun! In this video, for example, the boys wanted to play war. They’re boys. Can’t help it. But I sure can manage it, by playing along and later, steering the theme, into one of PEACE. You can see/hear it in the video, for example, when the theme changed from war to peace at around 6 minutes. And then they followed suit, turned the whole thing around!
Get footage where you go. So you go on vacation and might as well have as much film or video footage as possible. Later, if they are not good, you can always “can it” or not use the videos. At the same time, don’t overdo it. You don’t wanna be looking through your phone’s camera the entire vacation, now would you?
Shoot outside as much as possible and have a distinct background. A lot of the things we’ve seen on YouTube were indoors. So, instead of staring at the same studio background, show something more interesting and maybe even say something about the place for cultural edumacation (we’re still in the process of incorporating this).
Mix up the toys. Again, lots of stuff out there with kids playing one type of toy. Why not mix it all up? That’s how we (you know who you are) used to play back then, especially since we didn’t have many toys to play with in the first place. Interesting things happen when you mix them all up, just like with a lot of things.
Easy access thru YouTube. YouTube makes your videos easily accessible (for yourself and your family/friends). What a great way to capture the kids at play and easily retrieve the videos on Youtube, instead of digging through massive storage files that, if you’re not careful, could become unsearchable. Gotta be on top of it…. and that’s usually a TIMESUCK! So, instead of having little video snippets, you can actually just put them all together and upload it. Of course, you’ve got to put in the time and energy to do a video too.
Have fun doing it (especially the editing part)! Making a kid-friendly video is one of the many interesting and fun activities that you can do with your kids. The shooting itself only takes 15 minutes, but putting it together takes a lot more. When making it try not to lose your cool and keep it fun!
Check out YouTube Audio Library for FREE music and sound effects. For this video, I discovered FREE music and sound effects to use copyright-free through YouTube’s Audio Library. What a treasure trove! Especially for our small non-income generating channel. I used 4 ready made music to match the shifting mood or theme of the free play, including a Moroccan-like music. For sound effects, I also used car crash dragon sounds, gun fire, canons, alien sounds, and a bunch of other textures. . . all for FREE! Check below credits for details.
Fiddle with Video Effects. The boys wanted to have certain things on the video, like an earthquake, or a car crash with lights, and electricity. . . . Hmmmm. . . those little film directors! 😊 So, I had to figure out how to make them happen, most of them anyway. It took a while and I was getting irritated at some point. But then it became fun, playing with the various video effects, manipulating the presets to get the right kind of lightning for example, and even just to see the possibilities! “Wow, it can do that!” I often thought.
That’s all I can think of for now. So, next time you’re looking for cool things to do with your little ones, grab your phone and start shooting. Hardware (and software) is cheap, but the experience is priceless for both you and your kids. Go be a superhero, if not a superdad, to your kids!
So, watch the freeplay video above and get an idea of what fun things you can do with your kids. We shot it in Chefchaouen, what my children call “the city of blue”. . . where everything is in almost all shades of blue. . . like baby blue, Spanish blue, periwinkle blue. . . duck blue. . . ultramarine blue. . . so many shades of blue!
Check out links to more family-friendly videos of kids at play outdoors below!
making Kid-friendly VIDEO: superzings vs imaginext, KIDS PLAY OUTside in morocco
My two boys wanted me to make some videos with these little thumb-sized toys called SuperZings for a long time now. So, on a family vacation on a “Pillar of Hercules”–the Rock of Gibraltar (what some would call little England under the Spanish sun)–we finally made our first video that shows the kids “free play” with their toys outdoors in December.
This video is a follow-up to that. We were in the balcony of our hostel with the two mountain peaks of the little “blue village” of Chefchaouen in the Rif mountains of Morocco in the background on a sunnysideup-kind-of-day in December, where we spent the New Year in peace. Since we were on a very tight budget (still are) we had to stay in hostels and the like. The good thing about it is that the kids learn to “rough it” a bit, interact with other travelers, and I get to relive my university days hosteling across Europe. The boys learned to be flexible and had no complaint about the spartan accommodations during our trips. Success!… so far.
CREDITS: Thank God and Google for the FREE music and sound effects that we used in thisvideo from the (again) FREE YouTube Audio Library.
Desert Caravan by Aaron Kenny
Wixypol Rodeo by Coyote Hearing
Devildog by Mike Relm
Splashing Around by The Green Orbs
CHECK OUT more family videos of kids at play outdoors!
Beach under the winter sun. It is this happy houseband‘s favorite babysitter. And what better place for our young boys to combine freeplay in three languages (Polish, English and Spanish) with getting some winter sun tan than here in the Costa de la Luz. In the first few days of March, we headed off to explore a new beach: Playa de la Puntilla in El Puerto de Santa Maria in the bay of Cadiz, only about a 15-minute drive from Jerez.
With over 300 days of strong Andalusian sunshine here in southern Spain, you would not think that there would be snow. Think again! The Sierra Nevada, about a one-hour drive from the city of Granada, boasts the southernmost point of Europe where you can ski, sled and snowboard as late as early May. You can literally hit the snow slopes all morning and swim in the Mediterranean in the afternoon. The snow resort of Hoya de la Mora (loosely translated: blueberry ear or leaf) offers family fun sledding, skis for beginners, and other snow plays. And best of all. . . it’s FREE!.
Not far from the better-known surfing capital of Europe of Tarifa in the coastal region of Cadiz, Spain, Bolonia is a hidden gem of a destination for both individual and family-oriented explorers. Only 30-or-so kilometers away, Morroco’s coastal mountain can be seen from Bolonia—an off-the-beaten-path destination for most foreigners that is easily worth a 3-day visit. So, what to do here with your small children?
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