As the school year wraps up and the summer is upon us, it is easy to find yourself having a little freak-out session. If you have small children, you know how tiring it is to have them home all day without any help or formal structure to keep everybody on track. It can be a balancing act to figure out how to distribute time and plan activities so that people are happy, challenged and entertained (and that includes you!). Consider for your family ‘How much do I need to schedule to keep a balance of busy-ness and simplicity?’
Enter the Awesome Summer Fun List! (Note: you do not have to have a family to do this- it just emphasizes the need for it, but realistically we can all benefit from a little better planning in order to incorporate more adventure and fun into our lives!)
My favorite family planning meeting of the year is when we plan our summer break. What trips are we taking (cabin? camping? an actual vacation?), where else do we want to visit, what classic summer activities do we want to try, what quirky places do we want to explore, etc.
By coming up with a Summer Fun List, the whole family is encouraged to voice their opinions. It gives the opportunity to share values, preferences, and ideas of what the perfect summer should look like. This is a catch all list, so everything from trips to the amusement parks share the same space as roasting marshmallows in the back yard. Remember that the memories that stick with us the longest are often the simplest!
Trips are important to plan early- some of them need to be planned far before summer begins, but some things like camping can be scheduled with slightly less planning (or very little depending on the campsite). Most people have plenty of experience planning getaways, so I won’t get into this in depth.
Where else do you want to visit? Local museums, zoos, parks, sculpture gardens, etc. Some of my favorite summer activities are through the local parks and nature centers- there are lots of classes and activities. It may be worth considering a membership to one or two places you would want to visit regularly like the zoo or museums. It is worth looking through the listings for any special events you may want to check out. Are there any festivals that you want to go to? It can be fun to check out your own city’s festival if you have one, but it is also a blast to see what is happening in any small towns around you- they often have the quirkiest celebrations.
I remember visiting my friend’s home in a smallish town and they had a ‘Tomato Festival’ complete with karaoke contest. Her whole (extended) family would choreograph a number with ridiculously elaborate costumes and all. These are the things that stick with you, people!
Last but not least (as I just basically yelled at you) are the simple things. What are the rights of passage for kids- flying a kite, picnics, s’mores, campfires, family talent shows, movie nights… What is it that your family loves? Is it games? Then have a weekly game night! Music? Then check out music in the park! Food? Then have an ethnic themed picnic every week and try food from around the world! Make it a fun way to connect with each other, explore each others’ interests, and spend time with one another.
And now I turn the question to you- have you done a summer fun list? What do you love to make sure you fit into your summer schedule? Share in the comments so we can enjoy your inspiration!