Today marks the official start of Summer vacation for our kids. At 3:00pm we’ll have our hands full as parents, but I am looking forward to the more laid back and easygoing days of Summer. After moving here last July, Summer took on a whole new meaning with new dimensions. I’m quite certain this will be a Summer to remember.
We have a plaque in our bathroom that reads: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” Summer gives families the perfect time to experience more of those extraordinary moments together. It doesn’t matter which activities we choose, or whether we have activities at all… it’s about what helps us become more present in the moment, and whether or not we’re receptive to it. When we’re fully and completely present in any one moment, that is when life becomes breathtaking. Our consciousness rises to a heightened state of awareness. Just think of all the times you were overwhelmed with joy and feeling deeply connected to someone– no doubt, you were completely immersed in the “now.” It can last a few seconds, but you carry it in your heart for a lifetime.
Here is our list of 15 things you can do to help create new Summer memories. They’re effortless, as all things of Summer should be, and the only requirement is that you participate with a joyful, childlike heart:
1) COLLECT NATURE– Have your kids gather various rocks, leaves and pressed flowers to make their own collection. Tape the leaves and flowers into a journal, and label them.
2) CLIMB A TREE– This is something I loved doing as a child, and the views from a tree are amazing. Loosen up, and let your kids climb, but be sure to try it yourself, too!
3) CATCH FIREFLIES– Another childhood favorite activity. Get an old jar with holes in the lid, and catch away. It’s pure magic for kids. Be sure to set them free when you’re done.
4) STARGAZING– On a clear night, get a soft blanket and lie down with your child(ren). The stars are amazing, but the closeness you’ll feel to your child will be with them for a lifetime. Our kids especially love this.
5) BACKYARD CAMPING– Set up a tent and spend a night sleeping together. Awaken with the sun to the sound of your local birds. Remember to spend some time barefoot on your grass. There’s nothing like that squishy, cool sensation between your toes on the morning dew.
6) CAMPFIRE– Instead of just burning leaves, have a camp fire and roast marshmallows, make s’mores and tell ghost stories. We did this last Summer, and our kids are still talking about it.
7) PLAY IN THE DIRT– Have a designated place where you and the kids can dig in the dirt. Not for anything practical, but just to dig and get dirty. Mud pies are a blast, and your kids will love you forever for doing this!
8 ) GROW AN EDIBLE GARDEN– Just a small plot for your kids to grow their own food with your assistance can be rewarding, nutritious, and the time spent caring for it is well spent together. If you live in an apartment, a flower pot will do.
9) WATER PLAY– This is a no-brainer, especially in very hot climates. Time dancing in the rain, small pools, water guns, sprinklers & hoses are a necessity for Summer fun. If you live near lakes and rivers, take time to sit beside them and soak your feet together.
10) BUILD SOMETHING– It can be a tree house, play house or temporary fort. Give your kids branches, scrap wood, tarps, old sheets and cardboard, and see what they come up with. However elaborate or simple, you’ll have a blast.
11) ENJOY DANDELION– Sit in your yard or meadow and blow seed together. Place yellow blossoms at your chin to “see if you like butter.” Remember that from childhood? If you have a yellow reflection on your chin you love butter, of course! These flowers are simple fun.
12) CREATE A TIME CAPSULE– Use a box (wood or metal) and gather items that you or future owners could uncover in years to come. Kids have a lot of fun with this, writing letters and including trinkets and objects.
13) BIRDWATCHING– Buy your kids their own binoculars, find a spot near the trees or bird feeders and enjoy the scenery. Have your kids help paint bird feeders, fill them, and also watch them from indoors. Kids also love to have bird identification books, and keep journals about the birds they see each day.
14) SWING– Summer isn’t complete without a porch or tree swing. If you don’t have a porch, you can put a glider on your balcony, patio or under a tree. Sitting together, rocking and talking is a special activity.
15) LEMONADE & SUN TEA– Even more than swings, both lemonade and sun tea are musts for Summer. Make fresh lemonade out of lemons and show your kids how it’s done. Have them help with the sun tea process, too, and offer different varieties of teas (kids love a few fruity bags thrown in). Have a tea or lemonade stand at the end of your driveway. When I was a child, we offered cookies.
There are a zillion ways to enjoy the Summer and create some of your own breathtaking moments. This is a very short list. Don’t forget home made go-carts, catching toads & frogs, kite flying, and outdoor games like croquet and horse shoes. Most importantly, remember that the less time people spend on video games, television and computers, the more likely they are to be in the moment, connect to one another, and have a Summer they’ll never forget. This is the most relaxed time of year, so take a deep breath and open up to the possibilities. As a family, we’re hoping to absorb more fully the timeless moments, re-living a little of our own childhood in the process.
Posted by: Jill