This is it.
We are in the middle of the summer season, and a majority of families have students on summer break. As we move from July to August our lazy days of summer begin to wind down and if you are like I am, you may ask yourself “Did I make the most out of my summer?”
I have put together a few ideas for you to reflect on and help you make the most of your last few weeks before “Back to School” season is in full swing.
Bucket lists are a fun summer tradition in our family. We usually start with our favorite local ice cream shops, local parks, local rivers, a beach trip here or there and a new skill we may want to try. Bucket Lists are great ways to make sure families are getting outside and can help guide fun and memorable adventures. My advice: start small. Ask each family member something they hope to do together before the end of the summer and start your list from there. A great idea is to look at local libraries, community centers, farmers markets, parks, and online family forums.
Many families use this time to fulfill travel plans. Travel could be local day trips to annual week long vacations. This is the ideal time because students are not missing assignments and have a perfect amount of down time to take advantage of. If you are still looking to take a trip, start with local and state parks close by. These attractions are a perfect start for a day trip or a weekend trip. Other options to look at are museums, historic attractions, zoos, aquariums and universities.
There is always pressure to create a memorable summer break, but a lot of what families need is downtime. The no agenda, agenda. Days of sleeping in and exploring where the day takes you. Some of the best days happen because we have been bored. Letting kids create and play. Work on a house project that has been put off because of busy schedules can be the best use of a quite schedule.
A favorite memory of mine was taking my children to the local library's summer reading story time. There would be puppets, fabulous storytellers from the community, fun songs and an air conditioned building with friends. My family loved spending time browsing for books and swapping recommendations with friends and neighbors. Our local libraries are untapped magical places. As our family has grown up we do not go as often as I would like, but there are still amazing programs to take advantage of like STEM building clubs, art projects and visits from animal rescues. Another way to encourage reading is to host summer book clubs. All agree on a book and have meet ups with food and drinks themed with the book. This is such a fun idea for kids and grown ups alike.
Taking advantage of Local programs
I have mentioned a few of these throughout the article, but taking advantage of all of the local programs provided by your local community. Many local farmers markets host special days like watermelon days or peach days with fun free activities and lots of taste testing. Libraries host special events during the summer as a place to come and cool off while learning something new. Parks and recreation programs often host movie nights and music nights for the family.
There are so many wonderful opportunities for your family to make wonderful memories and have the down time they need. Make sure to take lots of pictures and enjoy making memories as a family. Also make sure to do what is best for your family and kids, keep the focus on fun and the rest of the summer as you wind down your rest time so your family can enter the school year restful and rejuvenated.
Jessica Stallings MA Ed. is a veteran teacher and tech writer. She is a National Board Certified Educator who values teaching the whole child and enjoys working with learners of all ages. Her favorite thing as an educator is to watch how technology motivates all different types of learners of varying ability levels. She hopes to empower learners and families to use technology to help connect them to and learn more about the beautiful world we live in. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she loves to spend time on the North Carolina coast with her family and dog, Fletcher.