How to make summer activities amazing memories

Summer is an amazing time of year! We love summer at our house.  Throughout the year, it seems like there’s always homework, projects, events, etc. and just plain stuff we always have to do. Do you look back on a week and think, “What just happened”?  If you’re like our family then right now, you’re probably thinking “Where did the last year go?”  I know I’ve said that same statement and this summer I’m going to make a point to avoid saying that at the end of the summer.

Honestly, I’m jealous of summer break.  I wish there was a way that I could take a giant leap in time back to working 9 months out of the year and breaking for 3 months.  At the time, it seemed like it was mandatory work without pay, but looking back now it was a great time to learn, spend time with friends, and get a break in the summer!

Part of the reason I would like to jump back is that the school our kids go to is completely different than the school that I went to growing up. For example, it’s two days before school is out for summer and my son comes home last night wanting to jump on the computer to show me how much he learned about presentations!  Thank you, Mrs. Frost!

When I was his age I checked out after spring break.  I used the “minimal mandatory work” process for making sure I finished what I needed to and then moved on to any other thing I could do outside.  Surely I’m not the only one that started looking at the end of school like I was making the last turn in a track meet?

Summer break for us means a time to enjoy each other without all of the evening homework and projects.  It means long days with lots of fun outside, fireflies at night and the kids getting to sleep in.  Pajama Days happen for them quite often so they can relax and enjoy some morning time without rushing out the door. Then you have the pool, White Water in our case, baseball games, and lots of laughing.

During all this fun, we still need to keep the focus on maintaining what the kids have learned throughout the year.

Summer Schedule

Don’t kid yourself, not every moment of our summer is planned out.  In fact, we really try to not have it planned out very far.  There are a couple of consistent days that still remain on the calendar: Church, Baseball Practice & Games happen each week in our family.

While there’ not a schedule set in stone, a regular routine needs to be followed to make sure we’re on track with school subjects.  For example:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Wake up, Daily devotions, read a chapter in a book, play the rest of the day
  • Tuesday, Thursday – Wake up, daily devotions, 30 minutes of Math Facts, play the rest of the day

This doesn’t have to be complicated.  The point is that we all know what happens in the first two hours of the day.  Yes, there will be other things that come up, but from a general perspective, that’s the day.

Summer Experiments

Science outdoors is a lot of fun! What a great opportunity to have a blast and use it as a teaching moment to understand “Why does 7-Up rise up 10 feet when you drop a Mentos in it?” Another one is going old school with one of the Styrofoam airplanes explaining what causes lift rather than watch it on YouTube.

If you’re looking for a good resource on fun summer science experiments look at Fun-A-Day.com. They have done a great job of sharing new ideas to keep kids and parents learning this summer.

Summer Camp

We’re huge fans of summer camp! Our favorite is James River Kids Camp and the whole family is excited.  At camp, kids learn so much when they’re away from all of the electronics and can spend a few days with their friends worshiping, playing, and enjoying new friendships.

While they’re at camp they don’t realize just how much they are learning about being around other peers that might not be the same ones they see at school. It’s great to be around other people with other personalities to learn how to be a team while still having a blast together.

Summer is a great time to relax and reflect while at the same time continue to learn some valuable lessons in their down time.  These are only a couple of examples.  The point is that both parents and kids are engaged in these activities as time allows. If you’re like me and have to work all day then you’ll have to kick it in gear after work.  This is a fun release for you too!

I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch of other activities that are good suggestions. Please share your thoughts on our Facebook page of what you’re planning on this summer.