Can you believe school will be out in just over a week?
I remember how excited all of the children were — and how happy all of the teachers were at the thought of some much needed rest and rejuvenation.
Of course if you want the summer to be the best it can be, you need a plan. Here are some tips and ideas to help you craft your best summer plan ever.
• Make a schedule. Even though summertime usually means a less rigid schedule than during the school year, it is still wise to come up with a schedule for your children. If you don’t already have one, pick up a large wall calendar and begin by listing any summer camps or previously scheduled activities.
• Come up with some summer goals. For young children, some goals might include strengthening their math or reading skills. For older children, they likely have a summer reading list to complete. It is a good idea to encourage your children to write a summary of the books they read to help their memory when school starts back in the fall.
• Plan for a rainy day. I used to create a “Project Box” with all sorts of crafty things. Even things you might normally discard, such as paper towel cardboard tubes or empty glass jars can be saved and used to make all sorts of things.
• Start a book club. This can be with just your children, or some friends. Depending on the ages of the group, you may have to choose several different books. It is always fun to choose a book that has been made into a movie. That way you can read the book, have a discussion, and then have a movie afternoon.
• Plan a field day. Come up with plenty of outdoor games and don’t forget a lemonade stand. It’s always fun to make some awards and have a ceremony at the end of the day.
• Go hiking. Definitely bring bug spray and plenty of water. It would also be fun to pack a picnic.
• Volunteer. Find a way your children (or grandchildren) can help serve at a soup kitchen or help stock a food pantry. There is no better way to teach your children about service than volunteering with them to help those in need.
• Tap into your children’s inner artist. If weather permits, go somewhere outdoors and paint or draw something in nature. You might be surprised at their talents.
• Encourage your children to write stories. This is a great way to keep their writing skills sharp and of course, taps into their creativity.
• Go camping. While this activity usually means lots of work for mom and dad, camping is a wonderful family bonding experience. Lake Lanier has some terrific state parks — I have so many fond memories of our family’s camping trips.
• Plan lots of day trips, preferably those with an educational emphasis. There are so many historical sites to see and many are not too far from here.
• Make homemade ice cream. I used to buy ice cream for special occasions when our children were young. Then one day our son was having a sleep over and one of his buddies was allergic to peanut butter. As I perused each container of ice cream, I was shocked by all the terrible ingredients — lots of chemicals, additives and other unsavory things. I went home and ordered an ice cream maker. Of course ingredients in homemade ice cream are still things you should only indulge in occasionally, they are at least real food ingredients. The added bonus? Homemade ice cream is decadent and delicious.
• Have a garage sale. This is a great way to get rid of clutter in your home and encourage your children to purge things they no longer need. The entire family can get in on the act. With the earnings from the sale, go on a fun, family outing.
• Play hide and seek at dusk/dark. Chances are this is a foreign concept to many children — too many are getting too much screen time and not enough outdoor time.
• Teach your children how to cook, or at least how to make one of their favorite dishes. You might be surprised to see how many young chefs you have in your home.
• Visit the library. When our children were young, we went to the library at least a few times a week. We are so lucky to have such amazing libraries and they all have a lot of summer activities for children. And guess what? It is all free.
Enjoy the summer with your little ones. They grow up so fast — by doing a bit of planning now, you are certain to make the most of the next few months.
Happy summer vacation everybody!
South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at email@example.com.