Making the Most of Summer with Your Kids
This was originally written for my children’s school in May 2013
Summer’s sizzle is just around the corner and that means many parents are piecing together a master calendar of camps and lessons for their kids… lest the lazy days of summer get a little too lazy.
Soccer camp, vacation Bible school, swimming lessons, a Christian camp and “Grandparent Camp” are just a few of the items on our kids’summer agendas. While our three kids are making awesome summer memories, I want to make sure I’m a part of those memories, too – not just waving “hi” and “bye”at the pick-up and drop-off points.
With that in mind, my husband and I have come up with a few camps and lessons taught by Camp Director Mom and Coach Dad. We want to ensure we’re an integral part of our kids’ What I Did Last Summer journals when we usher them back to school in the fall.
To get the ball rolling, we first asked our kids what they would like to learn this summer with us. Our 8-year-old daughter wants to learn to latch-hook and prepare a meal. Our 6-year-old son wants to learn to jump rope (he already has a goal for consecutive jumps). And our 4-year-old daughter wants to learn to make lemonade from “real live lemons”. Atta girl.
In addition to the things our kids want to learn this summer, here are a few additional items we are adding to the summer lesson plan. These are in no particular order and cover a range of categories:
— Plant and tend a vegetable garden
— Learn and recite the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)
— Learn and recite Psalm 101 (this is a great Psalm for kids to understand and apply as they begin to go places independently –playdates, sleepovers, camp and even websites)
— Read “Anne of Green Gables” aloud as a family (this would also be great to listen to as a family on a road-trip).
— Become proficient in loading and unloading the dishwasher
— Fly kites on the beach
— Learn three new card games (for those 100-plus-degree days when the only tolerable place is in the air conditioning).
Our kids could learn some of these lessons at school, church or just pick them up along the way, but we want to be purposeful and impart things we feel are important – or just plain fun.
And while I’m so excited about our summer plans, I must confess to also being a wee bit intimidated. Memorization doesn’t come easily to me so reciting Psalm 101 in its entirety is going to be really challenging (yep, my husband and I will be memorizing, too). And I will have to battle squirrels and my own brown thumb to have a successful vegetable garden – and we may not even have a successful vegetable garden.
I’m not saying it will be easy, but I believe it will be worth it. I’m looking forward to the challenges we will overcome, the smiles we will share, the achievements we will celebrate and memories our family will build this summer — together.
Before you put the finishing touches on that master calendar of camps and lessons your children will be participating in this summer, I encourage you to add yourself into the mix. Make your own summer lesson list that reflects the age, personality and desires of your unique family. With more time and no homework, these next few months afford terrific opportunities to play, learn and grow together.
As we prepare to add this school year to the history books, I pray your summer will be one of learning and sharing experiences that bring your family closer to each other and the Lord.