Our summer may look simpler this year than it normally does.
Instead of being disappointed or frustrated about our losses during this season, let’s choose to embrace the slower pace of the summer of 2020.
If you’re like me and hanging out at home more, with little desire to spend a lot of money right now, perhaps these fun, but low-cost, ideas will be of interest to you.
1. Plan a themed family night
Look at your summer calendar and see if there are any days coming up that you could purposely celebrate. For example, National Ice Cream Day is coming up on July 21! Why not surprise your family with an ice cream party that day or set up a sundae bar after dinner?
One of our family’s favorite theme nights we’ve ever had was a backward dinner, where everyone shows up to eat with their clothes on backward. You also serve the meal backward starting with dessert first and serving the salad last.
The point is to be silly and plan a fun family night that you wouldn’t ordinarily do.
2. Seek out Little Free Libraries
Little Free Libraries are “take one, leave one” book stations, and are located all over the place. Visiting Little Free Library locations with your child both encourages a healthy habit of reading and helps kids recycle books they’ve already read.
Our youngest and I enjoy trying to match the theme of the books we donate to the theme of the little library we are donating to, as we recently did at our local dog park. Get creative with your experiences and enjoy exploring your community together.
Check out littlefreelibrary.org for a map of libraries near you, as well as best practices during the Coronavirus.
3. Make a Boredom Bucket
I’m giving you permission to stop playing cruise director and constantly entertaining your child this summer!
Boredom is mightily beneficial, if we are strong enough to allow our children to experience it. Use this summer downtime to let your kids figure out how to entertain themselves, by themselves, just like we had to do back in the day.
One way to set your son or daughter up for success is to help them create a Boredom Bucket, Bin, or Basket with quiet activities to occupy them when they don’t seem to know what to do with themselves. It’s that or a toilet bowl brush so let them take their pick!
Putting together a boredom bucket also doesn’t need to cost you anything, unless you want to mix in new items. Your child can choose what items go in the bucket or you can go through their room like I did and pick out small items that have rarely gotten used. You can also add new items to the bucket or switch items out throughout the summer to keep it fun.
These magnetic balls are pricey, but they have been our son’s favorite boredom cure this summer so they are worth it!
4. Start dialogue journals
School may be over, but we want to keep up on our student’s penmanship. So, grab one of your child’s barely used notebooks from this school year and start a dialogue journal with your kids to help them:
- Improve their penmanship.
- Get more comfortable expressing their thoughts, feelings, and ideas through the written word.
- Think about the thoughts and feelings of another in this interactive form of communication.
- Create a keepsake from their childhood to be cherished later.
Click HERE for more details on how and why you may want to get started on this!
5. Strengthen life skills
Take the time to teach your children the life skills that will help them when they start back to school and beyond. What is it that your child needs to know and that they can learn to do this summer?
Not sure? Get my life skills age-appropriate summer task checklists HERE!
6. Go Geocaching
Here’s a family-friendly activity that’s high on both fun and fresh air. Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt offering lots of hidden containers (called caches) and tips and clues for finding them in public spaces such as parks. It was one of our kids’ favorite things they did as we traveled around the USA in our RV in 2014.
Create a free account HERE or download the app from Apple or Google Play on your smartphone. Make sure to bring hand sanitizer and a pen to sign and date the logbook in each geocache you find before placing it back where you found it.
7. Join a summer reading challenge
There are many ways to motivate your child to read more this summer. Start with your local public library to see what they are offering this summer or join in one of the many reading challenges being offered online.
Have a kid who loves pizza? This may be the reading program for them! Camp BOOK IT is Pizza Hut’s new summer reading program where kids ages 5-12 can earn free pizzas from June through August. Half Price Books is running their summer reading challenge too or you can sign up for Scholastic’s Summer Read-A- Palooza as well.
8. Send postcards
Postcards are an easy way to get our kids working on their penmanship while sending some love through the mail this summer.
Who knew you can even order postcard stamps from the comfort of your home on Amazon right HERE. I like buying postcards showcasing our beautiful state, but you can buy unique sets of postcards like these if you don’t have an option or desire to purchase them locally.
9. Make a homemade treat in your kitchen together
Hanging out in the kitchen with your kids this summer will provide so many benefits! Not only will you have some fun together, but you will also have the chance to teach your children lifelong skills.
What recipe can you teach your kids how to make? Homemade Strawberry Fruit Rollups is one of our favorite family summer treats and it’s the only recipe I’ve ever posted on my blog!
10. Start a glass jar tradition
One of the most important things we can do is take the time to create simple traditions in our homes that teach our kids the values we deem most important. One way to do this is to create an annual glass jar tradition to teach the values of generosity, gratitude, joy, or presence.
Here are four glass jar traditions you could start this summer!
11. Create a chalk art family masterpiece
I know that chalk art is so “Coronavirus quarantine,” but this mosaic design we painted on our glass door brings me so much joy. I don’t think I’ll ever erase it!
Grab some masking or painters tape and create a design (with chalk markers) on your window or on your driveway and let each family member take part in bringing your artistic creation to life. Make it a fun, family affair!