Summer is an awesome time for family fun: it provides great flexibility and opportunities for spending time with your children in ways that sometimes aren’t possible during the school year.
Tap into your inner child for a moment: what did you love about summer? What memories do you have of family activities that you enjoyed? Often, it’s not lavish vacations that stick most with kids; it’s the simple pleasures of things that happen in your own backyard or town.
Here are some simple and easy ideas for creating memories that you and your kids will cherish for years to come.
- Tell Stories: Tell them about how God has worked in your life. Tell them about your childhood and memories of your parents or other relatives. Let them tell you stories about their best memories, their friends and what they enjoy about school.
- Camp Out: In the woods, in the backyard or in the living room under a make-shift fort. Break out the flashlights, sleeping bags and ingredients for s’mores.
- Give Them the Gift of Knowledge: Teach them at least one new skill this summer, like how to swim, cook, sew, fix things or how to play a new sport.
- Read With Them: Hit up the library or bookstore to find books that excite your kids and read them together. Share some of your childhood favorites with them.
- Get Messy: Whether that’s arts and crafts or building a fort in the living room, let go of the voice in your head that discourages messes (at least once in a while). Let them be creative and lead the way in getting messy or creating something new. (Then you can check #2 off your list and teach them the skill of cleaning up.)
- Play Games: Hours around the table together provides time to talk and often results in lots of laughter. Bring out old family favorites or take a trip to the store and buy something new to try. (Here’s one of our current favorites. * It’s totally silly and a lot of fun!)
- Water Play: Who doesn’t love getting wet on a hot summer day? Try water balloons, a squirt gun fight, running through the sprinklers, boating, fishing or swimming at the nearby pool.
- Let Them Stay up Late to Spend Time with You: Push bedtime aside a few times this summer. Go star gazing in the backyard, or make some popcorn and snuggle together on the couch for a movie.
- Spend Some Time with Nature: Go to the zoo or arboretum. Or stay in your own backyard and go on a nature hunt. Make a birdfeeder and watch the birds or plant some flowers and take care of them together.
- Let Them be Bored: Sometimes the best fun comes when you have no agenda or plan. Let your kids exhibit their creativity in finding something to do. You just might find yourselves surprised at how much fun you have when they say “there’s nothing to do.”
Gretchen Rubin hit the nail square on the head when she said of raising children, “The days are long, but the years are short.” With every passing summer, our kids are moving closer to adulthood. Enjoy these long summer days of building memories with your kids while you can!