School is out and summer is here. Now you are asking yourself what to do with the kids. Summer should be a time to relax, rest and have some fun. You don’t have to rush to get the kids to school or activities.
Whether you stay home with your children or you are working full time, you can make the summer special.
Here are few ideas!
1. Visit the local library and fill up on great reads. For younger children you can read to them at night before bed some of the books they picked out. For older children you can read the book they picked out and discuss it with them when you both finish.
2. Use your grill for dinner to make hotdogs and eat outside. For desert, make s’mores! While the fire is still simmering let the kids roast the marshmallows.
3. Have a picnic in your local park. If your children are small, play with them on the swing sets or slides. For older kids, play Frisbee or croquet. Then top it all off with a watermelon seed spitting contest.
4. Go play putt-putt one night.
5. Play in the sandbox, or if you can escape for the weekend to the beach, go play in the surf and sand and have a shell-collecting contest.
6. Go on an old train for a ride.
7. Go pick blueberries. Then make jam or blueberry muffins, or blueberry pancakes.
8. Have a movie day. Stay in your jammies all day, and make breakfast together.
9. Do a family puzzle, or play a board game.
10. Go get ice cream from your favorite ice-cream place.
11. Go to the local pool, or waterpark. If you want to have fun at home, have a water gun, water balloon fight in your own back yard. Or use shaving cream from the dollar store and have a shaving cream war in the back yard.
12. Build a blanket fort and have a movie day. You can even make popcorn!
13. Camp out (you can go to a state park, or do it in the back yard. Look at the stars at night.)
14. Go to a local baseball game, or support your state’s team and take the kids to see them play.
15. Have a family basketball game or softball game.
16. Go visit grandparents and do some service project for them. (If you don’t have any grandparents, have the kids make homemade cards and cookies and visit a nursing home, and let the kids give out their cards and cookies.)
17. Plant flowers or a small vegetable garden. Let the kids dig the holes to place the flowers in and let them water the flowers and garden each day.
18. Go fishing. Get a box of worms and go to a local lake or pond and fish. Take bologna sandwiches to eat, and dangle your feet in the water.
19. Play with bubbles. Get a big bubble wand, go outside; see who can make the biggest bubbles. For little ones you can make them a big bubble bath and put glow sticks in the tub at night for their evening bath. (Remember never leave young children alone in the bath.)
20. Make Jellyfish night-lights. Take a Mason jar fill with water; insert thin glow sticks for the jellyfish tentacles. Seal with the lid, turn upside down and hot glue on rollie eyes. (Makes a fun night light.)
21. Go to a dollar movie or a fun summer hit movie that is age appropriate.
22. Make homemade slushies, or malts.
23. Go on a bike ride.
24. Visit the zoo, the arboretum, or aquarium.
25. Let your child have a friend over for a sleepover.
26. On a rainy summer day, binge watch a fun show, play video games, or have a craft day. (finger paint, make slime, make homemade playdough)
27. Teach your child to make their favorite dish or dessert and help them cook it.
28. Clean out your clothes and toy closets and donate to local charities.
29. Fly kites
30. Go to a drive-in movie.
31. Have a garage sale and use the money made to buy something frivolous and fun.
32. Go get mani/pedi’s or go window-shopping.
33. Go to the dollar store or toy store and let the kids use their allowance to buy something small.
34. Take your dog for a walk or play with your cat.
35. Do a science experiment (build a small rocket and launch it in the park).
Some of the best memories I have made with my children have been from sporadic times of laughter. Simple things with our children make memories.
1. When we sit and read to them, do puzzles, science experiment, spend time baking or fishing, or working on a project, it opens up an opportunity to build trust and provides them a time to talk to us.
2. This in turn gives us time to talk to them about God and His plans for them. It allows us time to build into their lives and discover their gifts. My daughter loved to draw. She was always coloring or making something. So for Christmas one year, we got her this little art center. It was clear art came easy to her. It is one of her God-given abilities. She earned two degrees in college, one in graphic design and the other in youth ministry. She is now, she is a graphic designer but thinking of ways that she could use both degrees to help children who have special needs.
My oldest loved animals, and was always watching discovery channel or playing Crocodile Hunter. When he got to high school, he went to work for veterinarian’s office thinking he wanted to be a vet. He also loved to hunt and begged me for a hunting dog, which his grandpa ended up buying for him. Now, he uses his biology degree for wildlife conservation, and land preservation and his hunting/guiding business. On the side, he trains hunting dogs. He teaches puppies with positive reinforcement and praise to retrieve in the field.
The youngest was always playing firefighter, police officer and watching “Cops” the television show. He had every firefighter, police officer, and army outfit you could imagine when he was young. In junior high, he started playing paintball. He was amazing at it, and went to the World Cup. He was fast and could run and shoot quickly. As he matured, he went on a police ride along, watched how drug dogs train and then joined the Army. He completed basic training and military police officer training and is now serving in the Army Reserves, while he completes college.
3. Not one of my children are alike. They are as different as day and night and their strengths and God-given abilities are all different. But, through spending time together we were able to direct them and encourage them in what they loved.
I know it is hard when there are chores, jobs, illness, and just life to take time to sit down, go out, take off, or play. I remember both my mom and mother-in-law telling me to cherish every minute with my kids, because the time goes by so fast. I think that was the wisest advice they ever gave me. For this empty nester, I relish those memories. What I would do for one more day to have the kids young again and get to spend one more day like that with them.
However, life is not life that. So don’t waste it. When you get to the empty nest period in your life, you will not regret the time spent with your children. For me, getting to see my grown children use the talents God gave them is amazing!
The things you do with your children and family will be unique to you. Whatever it is, do it and have fun! The investment you make in your children will come back to bless you. Seeing their strengths, come to fruition will bring you such joy. Investing time and energy with your little “joy bringers” is so worth it!