If you want to know what your kids will remember about you, pull up some memories of your own parents during summer vacation.
My dad was determined to make everything a learning experience. My favorite game was making up fairy tales using people we’d see at the park as the characters.
Today, I use my imagination to make living. Summer is a unique opportunity that parents can’t afford to let pass by. The kids are out of school, so put on your thinking cap and make a summer connection that sticks.
Create some environmentally responsible fun this summer with a container garden. Start by building up a stockpile of plastic bottles complete with the caps.
- Cut each bottle in half
- Place the top part, the piece with the spout, upside down and then thread rope or thick string through the cap. Fill this section with potting soil.
- Pour water into the bottom half and place the top inside with the spout and string facing down. The string will wick water up into the soil, while the bottom both holds water and holds the plant upright.
Let each child tend his or her own little flower or vegetable garden while teaching them the value of recycling.
Take A Family Bike Adventure
Many cities are building scenic bike trails to encourage healthy living. Plan a number of bike trip adventures to explore the trails in your state. Spend time together researching plants and wildlife in the area online or on local TV.
If you need to upgrade your cable or Internet coverage, www.ClearTVBundle.com can hook you up with the Travel Channel, the Discovery Channel and other family-friendly options with packages starting at $34.99.
Make Ice Cream The Old-Fashioned Way
Take the summer ice cream cone a step further this year and make it a fun project that allows your kids to explore new recipes. This is a good plan for a summer birthday party, family barbecue or just a way to spend a hot Saturday afternoon.
- Fill a gallon zipper bag half-full with ice.
- Pour 1/2 cup of whole milk or half-and-half into a quart zipper bag.
- Add 1 tbsp. of sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla, as well as any little treat you might want to use to flavor the ice cream like nuts, chocolate candies or marshmallows, to the milk.
- Pour 6 tbsp. of salt into the bag with the ice, then zip up the smaller bag and set it inside.
- Close the big bag and let the kids shake it for the next five minutes then serve them a real ice cream treat. Try creating different flavor combinations each week.
Become A Tourist In Your Own Town
This is the year to see all those places you never knew existed in your hometown. Go online and make a bucket list of must-see sites to visit while they are out of school.
Zoos, farmer’s markets, museums, the library, you can even tour the local cemetery to see famous tombstones. Many shops have hands-on activities like making a teddy bear or painting ceramic pots that let them explore their creative side too.
Once you have your list, print it out and give a copy to each kid as his or her own personal summer itinerary. They can pick one activity from the list for every day out until you have seen them all. Encourage them to make notes about what they liked about each place and mark if they want to go back.
Not every activity will be a hit, but they all be a memory and that really is the point. You only get so many summers to spend with your children. Make the most of the time and connect.
Image by Mike Baird