A couple of days ago my daughter declared that this was going to be the BEST.SUMMER.EVER! I had a slight panic attack because that meant that I would most likely be the one orchestrating the magic. Just a bit of pressure right?
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that kids don't really require anything fancy in order to make things "magical". Here's my list of some easy (and mostly free) ways to make your summer the BEST EVER with your kids.
1. There MUST be water
Bring on the sprinkler, slip and slide (ouch right?!), lakes, oceans, rivers and plastic kiddie pools 🙌 I think the best summer memories I had as a child involved the water. So why not make this a staple of your kids summer? Jump off a dock, head to the beach and dip your toes in the water, or have an old fashioned water fight (we had one of these last year and my kids STILL talk about when their Dad got them with the hose. Game changer). Swimming especially has an amazing effect of kids - both engergizing and exhausting them at the same time.
2. Find a soundtrack
There's something about summer that goes hand in hand with music. Think of your favourite road trips, backyard bbq's or times hanging out at the beach. Chances are you can relate one of those moments to a song. Well, it's never to early to introduce your kids to blending music and memories. So the next time you head out on a road trip, bring along your favourite tunes. If you're hanging out at home, play a favourite record or playlist and see how your kids react. By the end of the summer those songs might be sealed in their memories of how much fun you were having when they hear it.
3. Bring on the books!
A couple of weeks ago my kids came home SO excited about the GVPL summer reading club. We've done this before so it's not new but the enthusiasm was contagious. I couldn't wait to get them started on their reading passport for the summer too. I was definitely the kid that could easily spend the whole summer reading so seeing their passion was amazing. We're already planned out some fun places to read this summer to make it special. Try making a fort and reading inside it. Have a hammock? Perfect reading spot! Even just reading outside on a blanket can be magical ✨
4. Leave time for boredom
I can't even count how many times I've heard "what can I do now?" My response varies but usually I end up trying to "solve" the boredom. I provide a list of suggestions of things they can do...but this summer I'm trying a new approach. I'm making sure there are pockets of time each day where we have nothing to do. Screen free time when their imaginations can take over and I am not responsible for what they need to do. I want to find them deeply involved in an imagination game, or covered with mud making mud pies. This is when I will slowly retreat to that hammock I mentioned earlier that I never seem to get a turn in. Wish me luck!
As I was writing this my daughter comes up to me...face covered in raspberries wearing a homemade harness with a hammer and 2 sharpies strapped to it. I think we're conquering boredom already.
5. Spend as much time as you can in nature
I feel like this should just be a rule all year round but it's especially important in the summer. I don't know about you but when I'm inside on a beautiful day I feel a bit guilty for not being out enjoying it. Encouraging your kids to be outside as much as possible ensures that they will make the best childhood memories. Climb trees, take hikes, swim in the lakes, do it all! I'm a big believer that nature is healing for our minds and bodies and teaching kids this early on will give them the tools to heal themselves in the future. Also, when you're out exploring nature, there's no one making messes in your house. Win win!
6. Put yourself in their shoes
Not literally because it would take forever to find the missing one 🙃 but think about how summer looks from your kids perspective. Magical right? It's like an endless amazing day filled with things like bubbles and catching lizards, and running through the sprinkler just before hearing the ice cream truck come down the street. So eat dinner outside, sit in the tiny pool with them, pick wildflowers, build a fairy garden! Make them for these things, you might just find them pretty magical too.
Now that the restrictions have lifted a little bit we're finally able to explore. It's been a weird year and a half and it makes us appreciate this amazing island we live on. Adventures don't have to take you far...instead of going to the park down the street from you, why not hop in the car and go to one you've never been to? Or find a neighbourhood you've never explored and take a walk. You might stumble upon something magical that you would have never found sticking close to home.
8.Let your food rules go a bit
For some reason, the ice cream truck in our neighbourhood comes around at the worst times. I'm talking bedtime and dinner time. I mean, c'mon! So for years we had to continuously say no to this magical vehicle. But last year...at the height of my covid cabin fever/homeschool weariness I gave in. Yes, we ate ice cream right at noon. Before we even had lunch. I was awesome. My kids still talk about it. So now, I make sure I load them full of healthy stuff (the garden is great for this) and we get to indulge in mid day ice cream, freezies and even...the Candy Truck at the beach!
Summer is meant to be a time to slow down, relax and just enjoy the long days and warm (ok not warm here) nights. So when you're thinking about planning things to fill the summer days just remember your kids expectations are generally low. Their version of the BEST.SUMMER.EVER simply involves time with you. And ice cream. Lots of ice cream.
Reach out if you want your summer memories captured. Right now I have a sale on my summer sessions. 40% off the regular package price. 🎉
We can work together to make a magical summer photo session for your family!