Eighteen summers, that’s all we have with our children before they leave the nest. The weight of that number is weighing heavy on me lately. I am already at summer #12 and #10 with my daughters. We long ago surpassed the halfway mark and I am acutely aware of how fast it’s all gone. Summer, like our children’s growth, is fleeting. Both need to be embraced without reservation and with complete enthusiasm. That’s why I believe there are 10 things you should do every summer with you kids without exception. Trust me, every year will bring new and lasting memories as your kids change and grow.
10 Things You Should Do With Your Kids Every Summer
I’m the first to tell you that sleeping under the stars is not my gig, but my kids love it, so once a year I sleep in the backyard with them in a tent. They also love having friends over for sleepovers. Sure, it’s not out the forest, but you don’t have to go far or spend a lot to make kids happy. For urban dwellers, this doesn’t have to be hard. Grab some sleeping bags and sleep on the living room floor if need be. Your kids will remember doing something different and fun with you, not how much money you spent.
Hit the Beach
Summer just isn’t summer without a trip to the beach. No one is ever too old to swim in crystal blue water or play in the sand. Lakes, rivers and oceans will suffice but not a beach entry pool. Sorry parents, that doesn’t count.
Attend a Summer Festival
Rib festivals, hot air balloon festivals, folk festivals and music festivals are just a few of the thousands of summer festivals held across North America each summer. Festivals are a great way to introduce arts and culture into your kids’ lives without breaking the bank. Check with your local tourism board for festivals in your area. If you’re feeling adventurous as the kids get older look a little further from home. You won’t be disappointed.
Catch a Summer Movie
There’s just something so wonderful about catching a summer matinee with your kids and blowing off the daily grind. Summer also happens to be when the best movies come out. This summer we’re looking forward to seeing Finding Dory and Star Trek Beyond. Pssst, come here. Maybe you heard this here and maybe you didn’t, BUT, I’ve heard of people who stock up on candy at the Bulk Barn and smuggle it in their purse into the theatre. What? Summer can be expensive.
Have a Water Fight
Here are the ground rules of having an epic summer water fight. 1) Mom initiates the water fight without warning. 2) Mom decides when the water fight is over. 3) Mom picks the winner and buys ice cream for everyone.
Become One with Nature
Maybe it’s the Canadian in me, or it could be years of being kicked out of the house until the street lights came on but I can’t stand seeing kids inside the house on a beautiful summer day. Limit screen time and send your kids out into the world to explore in the park, or bike on a trail. You don’t have to go far to appreciate Mother Nature but if you have a little wanderlust, find a local forest and go off the grid for the day.
Put Them to Work
No really. You are not doing your kids any favours by doing everything for them. In fact, it’s the opposite. Teach them how to weed and water gardens, mow the lawn, sort the laundry, make their beds, or cook a meal. Make a point of teaching your children a new life skill every summer and you’ll never regret it.
Make Ice Cream
Really? Do I even have to explain this? Ice cream is one of summer’s most simple pleasures and it tastes even better when you make it all on your own. Pick up an ice cream machine if you’re going to be dedicated to it, or use the plastic bag method. Either way, everyone in the family will love it.
Go on a Picnic
Blanket – check. Drinks – check. Food – check. Now, leave your phone at home, head out to your local park and stretch out your blanket on a shady patch of grass. What I love most about picnics is that they are affordable fun and a great way to spend a day outside with your kids.
Sit Around a Campfire
It’s not summer until your hair smells smoky in my opinion. Roast some s’mores, sing a song and tell a ghost story with your favourite people. It’s a memory they won’t forget. What’s on your summer activity list?