If you’re like me, the fact that SUMMER is upon us is shocking, exciting, and terrifying all at the same time. Last summer, I had a newborn and I knew it’d be harder to go anywhere, and it was, so we didn’t, and I’m still recovering from that. But then again, other summers have been a total blast and hold the fondest of memories.
I actually get super excited about the freedom from schedules, but we all know that too much freedom leads to MUTINY, am I right? The first few days of being home, moving slow, and staying in your pj’s way too long quickly loses its luster after you’ve literally played with every toy in the house, and your little cherubs ask for SNACKS every 10 minutes. Therefore, I like to enforce a little “organized freedom” during our summers, and honestly, I think everyone is better for it.
Please hear me: I’m not trying to create “the most magical summer ever” for my child…I know there are lots of blog posts for and against that. I’m just creating some goals for our summer so we can look back and say, “Now THAT was super fun!”
Here are my 5 tips for making this a SUPER SUMMER:
1. Make a Summer Bucket List: As cliché as it sounds, I LOVE THIS PART! First of all, do y’all know how BLESSED we are to live in a place where we actually need to make a LIST??? Listen, I grew up in the backwoods of Mississippi, and here’s what my list would have said: Go to the (ONE) waterpark, and play in the ditch. There are so many fun things to do in this area for any and every age! And please note, this DOES NOT have to be an over-the-top or extravagant list! Our summer bucket list has ranged from bigger outings like Legoland or the Dallas Aquarium, to things as simple as story time at the Train Museum and getting sno-cones from the pirate ship stand. The point is to make it YOURS and do things or go places that you wouldn’t normally go considering your typical schedule. ASK your kid what they want on the list; they will probably surprise you with the simplicity of their requests. The smallest things to us may mean the world to our kids.
2. Work around a Theme: From my experience, you slap a theme on something, and the kids go wild. Seriously, this does not have to be complicated. The thrill isn’t in the details, it’s in the fact that you don’t do it often! My son had never had a banana split, so I loaded up on all the toppings and it was the biggest hit!
There are a million directions you can go with a themed event: Popsicle Party, Strawberry Shortcake Party, Sand Castle Party, Watermelon Party, Lemonade Stand, Luau, Summer Olympics, Old-Fashioned Backyard Games (think Tug-O-War, Egg Toss, Sack Races). The ideas are endless. Grab some fun coordinating paper products at The Dollar Tree, and you’ve got yourself a theme!
3. Plan for Down Days: No doubt, there will be “rainy” days, or days when you need to just get things done, which can be hard when there’s no Mother’s Day Out, school, etc. I reserve Mondays for my big catch up days, which inspired “Movie Monday.” I let my son pick out a special Paw Patrol divided plate for his “movie plate,” and every Monday, we’d hit up The Dollar Tree for a few treats. He’d snack and watch while I caught up on ALL THE THINGS. And don’t be givin’ me the side eye about movie days…you know you can quote The Little Mermaid beginning to end. Heck, my sister and I watched The Sandlot EVERY. SINGLE. DAY during the summer of ’94, and I don’t have any long- term damage.
4. Strength in Numbers: Just be with people. Ask the neighbors over, meet at the playground, stroll the babes around the neighborhood every morning. Summers can feel a bit isolating, so I think it’s important to just be with people. One of my favorite tips is to run errands together. You and a friend make a list of all the “quick” errands that you need to dash in for that would take forever to do with kids. Dry cleaning pick-ups, Ulta runs, Nordstrom Rack returns, post office drop-offs. The mama with the mini-van wins….load up all the car seats in that sucker and make all the stops while one adult stays in the car! Grab some lunch at Sonic and you’ve finished your to-do list all without doing the car seat shuffle 72 times!
5. Make Your Backyard Fun: As much as I love to get out and about, outings are an effort and can get tiresome. (Especially if you have multiples with different nap or feeding schedules!) My son also requests to stay home sometimes and just play together. That being said, it is hard to be cooped up in the house ALL day, so I learned to make our own backyard a FUN yard!
This doesn’t have to be expensive. Our biggest hit was a $10 kiddie pool and some goggles. Grab a sprinkler, throw some sand in a wheel-barrow to make a construction site, or hit up your local consignment store for some secondhand outdoor toys. Facebook Marketplace is also a great place to grab some outdoor toys for a good price. Our son had THE BEST time when we set up a “car wash” and let him soap and sud his Little Tykes car. Stock up on the sidewalk chalk, bubbles, water balloons, and hula-hoops, and get to playing!
OK! Are you ready now?! I am! Scrolling through my pictures of past summers is making me so excited and reminds me that summer time is really a special opportunity to make some of the best memories.