Summer if officially here...
We have finished our two weeks of camp that was only from 9-12 pm, but I am so excited to not set an alarm until August with my mini tribe. We are looking forward to sleeping in a little longer, and embracing the lazy mornings. Of course, as I have mentioned in the past, there has to be enough structure to keep us all sane and the house in an orderly fashion. However, exploring and making memorable summer experiences is my goal.
We are a family that loves the great outdoors, especially the beach. That is one of the main reasons why we moved back to Southern California, to be outside all year round. This summer we will have plenty of pool days, beach days, hiking days and more. Because my husband is officially "Clark Griswald," who teaches our children everyday should be an adventure, I can assure you there will be minimal do-nothing days.
Things to do this summer with your little ones:
1. Call your local museums: Find out what summer events they have for the kids and calendar them. I recently found out that the Museum of Contemporary Art has family events every Thursday around dinner time. What a great way to immerse my kids in art and have family fun!
2. Summer Concert Series: I can assure you almost every town in our country has live music, 'free' live music, for us to expose the children to. Our kids love to dance and us adults love the entertainment. Just look up your local Summer Concert Series in your area and you will be surprised how many parts of town you can venture to with your family.
3. Movies in the Park: Another event I have seen in several states was free summer movies for kids in a park. I have seen it on the East Coast, of course with a little bug spray that could always be a great event. Here in San Diego, I know they are offering movies on the battleship, which would be super fun for the family.
4. Apple youth Programs: While this activity may seem untraditional, to say the least, working with your kids to improve computer skills (for free!) is an incredible opportunity. Apple Retail Stores have started to offer various workshops and classes for families who want to “hone their Mac skills” this summer. Youth workshops offer families with kids (ages 6-13) a chance to collaborate on projects while simultaneously learning basic skills and Mac programs. Most towns at this point have an apple store, so be sure to stop in to find out their schedule for this free event.
5. Tour historic buildings: Make a list of all the historic buildings in your town, or even neighboring towns and call them to find out about getting a tour and making sure they are open to the public. It's a great way to get a nice history lesson in with the children.
6. Public Libraries: While your kids may initially resist the idea of going to the library during their summer vacation, rest assured that they will find hundreds of free programs very fun. Programs that can range from film screenings to story time for kids of all ages. In addition, many classes for adults, such as free yoga are available. Each branch offers different activities and events, so check your local branch to get a list and ask your children to choose one.
7. Look for Sea Creatures: One thing that is always fun for my little ones is exploring the tide pools at low tide for various sea creatures. I love to give my kids a bucket and we all look around collecting crabs, shells, and so much more. If we collect anything that's alive we always release it back into the sea. I love this feature on this super cool blog about Orange County's best tide pools. Read about it here!
8. Give back to the community: I love this idea so much. Have your family volunteer with a great charity this summer. Almost always there is a summer event to raise awareness that is free to the public. If you can't volunteer because your little ones are too small, don't worry, just attend the event. This is a great way to teach the kids about nonprofit groups that are trying to help others.
9. Call your church: No matter what religious background you come from, I can assure you there are summer activities at your church or youth center. Find out what you can do with the little ones. Also, ask about volunteer opportunities for them to try.
10. Red Tricycle is a great website and is offered in bigger cities to give you a ton of ideas of what to do with your kids, as well as local events. Check to see if it's featured in your city.
11. Dance Party: Everyday for at least 30 minutes I encourage my kids to perform. Whether they are singing, dancing or playing the drums, watching them be free little spirits is invigorating as a mom, and allows them to be themselves. I love to just sit back and take it all in.
12. Make temporary art with their toys:
I love this idea of working on a long-term art project together. This DIY Magnetic Car Mural is quite awesome and your kids will love doing it and be super proud when they are done. A perk? Dad too will think you rock if you surprise him with this project!
Summers seem to be getting shorter and it truly is my goal to make this a memorable one for them. These kids are my heart & soul, they are the ones that drive me to be a better mom, and a better role model. Motherhood truly makes my heart so full, but it's never easy. However, it is so rewarding when they hug me and say, "I love you so much Momma." I am diving into the summer fun with these gorgeous beings paying attention to what I want them to learn. I would love to hear from you, comment below and let me know what you are doing this summer to show them the way!
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.