It’s June 4th and summer is right around the corner. The pace of our day to day life tends to slow down; kids are out of school; vacations are coming up. How will you plan your summer so the time doesn’t just fly by, but you make it a spectacular summer to remember?
Vacations don’t have to cost a lot of money or stress, nor do they have to be jam-packed with something planned every moment of every day. Consider someplace that incorporates things your family enjoys – hiking, boating, swimming, the beach or the woods. And make this a yearly vacation spot. My best summer memories are spending a week in the woods of New York. Since we went to the same place year after year, it was like a second home. Our family of 6 each found things to do that filled our spirits, our sense of adventure or quiet. My sister spend day after day sitting in the sun with a good book, while I spent the time being a nature-adventurist swinging from huge vines in the trees, to catching frogs, to exploring the creeks. My brothers build go-carts, and hunted in the woods with their home-made sling shots. The tradition continued with my children who say they wouldn’t change a thing. Where will your family call “home”?
You don’t have to go away to create lasting memories. One of my friends says her favorite family routine is their evening walk. “It’s a great way to leave the to-do list behind and just focus on being together, and we love to observe the cycles of wildflowers that grow around our home.” Just think of all there is to discover on a walk together! Explore the flowers, birds, insects, animals you see along the way. As your children get older you can use this time to have uninterrupted conversations (no texting, no facebook!) that are so important and can be so meaningful to both of you.
Crafts are a good boredom buster and a perfect activity when you need to get away from the midday heat and want to stay away from electronic entertainment. Two of our favorites were shaving cream and corn starch. Although clean up is much easier outside, this can be indoor fun as well. Remember that sometimes making a mess is half the fun! Give each child a can of shaving cream and watch them start laughing! From the first time my daughter touched a mound of shaving cream when she was two years old and had no idea what to make of it! To when they were eight and nine years old, this was one of their favorites. They had fun drawing in it, getting covered with it, making a pile and slapping it, to throwing blobs of it at each other and creating crazy hairdos.
Corn starch mixed with just a little bit of water makes a very interesting concoction. Sometimes liquid and sometimes solid, this too let to lots of exploring. It kept them entertained for quite a while. I only brought it out a couple of times each year, and each time they found new interest in looking at the weird ways it behaved.
Because the opportunities for summer time fun are limitless, it’s easy to want to make the days packed with events, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and miss the chance to create spectacular memories. So before it gets into full swing, take some time to consider what your summer will include. Decide how much time will be on the go and how much time you’ll just spend at home. Take some time to plan the summer before it comes and goes and you’re saying “where’d the time go?! I didn’t do anything I wanted to do!”