Every season I have my kids work together to compile a list of 100 things they'd like to do during that season. As winter trickled into spring and spring lasted about two weeks, we kind of skipped spring this year. We are on for summer though!
Here is our list of 100 things:
I'm pretty sure there are some duplicates and other things that are specific to our family and things in our area, so I'm going to summarize this into a list of the Top 10 things everyone should do this summer, according to kids.
1. Go Camping. Yes, even if it's in your backyard. Kids love getting out there and putting up a tent, having a fire and pretending they are on "Survival." If you need to hire a teenage babysitter to sleep in the tent with them, make it happen. I may or may not be speaking from experience.
2. Go on a family trip. The energy it takes is worth the memories you create. There's nothing you can buy them that replaces the time you spend together discussing things, whether it be existentialism or just nodding your head while they explain engineering their make-believe worlds on Minecraft/Roblox.
3. Go Swimming. It's summer. There, that was easy. Grandma's pool, the public pool, a water park ... dive in.
4. Have a barbecue. Maybe once a week. If the weather's nice, get outside. Plus, there's less of a mess in the kitchen and it's easier to keep the kids outside if you are also outside. Teach the kids how to use the grill. This could be one of the new skills they master (also on the list).
5. Eat all the summer foods. Snow cones, ice cream, lemon shake-ups, cotton candy, hot dogs, burgers, bomb pops, s'mores. Chase down an ice cream truck if you need to.
6. Try something new. Extra points if it's something that scares you, like a back dive off the diving board or a flip on the trampoline or riding a roller coaster ... or maybe eating asparagus.
7. Catch something wild. Frogs, fish, butterflies, lightening bugs (fireflies) are all fun visitors of summer, and connecting with nature is an integral part of childhood. If they don't like touching, maybe they can still fish or can catch a nice shot with a camera. As a vegetarian and friend of the animals, I always promote catch-and-release unless you yourself are going to eat it. Bleuch! Not judging or inflicting my personal choices on others.
8. Plant and pick. Plant a garden or just a pot. Grow some herbs or a tomato plant and reap the benefits. Go out in the garden or community garden or a farm and pick fresh produce. It's another great way to connect with nature and a very grounding practice for kids ... and everyone!
9. Have a sleepover. They're going to ask every night anyway, so we may as well put it on the list and check it off. Let's not do this every night!
10. Make something. Maybe it's a list of 100 things, maybe it's a bird house, maybe it's 10 different things, including an art project so that you can fill out the 100 things list.
Get out there and have fun! Enjoy every minute. All 2,384,640 minutes. There are 39,744 hours - 1,656 days - in our 18 summers we have with our kids. Sometimes the minutes go slow when living them, but when we look back, it's over in the blink of an eye.
It's always good to get some perspective by looking both ways so we can enjoy right now to the fullest.
Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.