Summer yeah! I love summertime and having my kids home for awhile. It is nice to have a break from school routines and take things at a slower pace. At our house, we stick to a daily schedule with reading, chore time, exercise, as well as free and friend time. One day per week we throw everything aside and do something fun. We call this “Field trip Friday” and it has become a family tradition for summer fun.
Field trip Friday is exactly what it sounds like: a day where I gathered up all the kids and took them somewhere different and fun. We have visited museums, college campuses,and hiked. We have also tried out new activities like paddle boarding which became our new favorite last summer. I try to have a mix of activities so that each time is something different. I look for places in our area that we haven’t been before or where we can try something new. Field trip Fridays often involved traveling a bit in order to experience a new museum or site.
What makes your summer fun and memorable? I always have my kids make a list of things they want to do in the summer. We don’t do everything on the list, but it gives me a starting point and helps me see where their interests are. I always get surprised by some of the things on the list that I wasn’t expecting. The main point of Field trip Fridays and other similar events is to spend time together and make some memories. Here are some tips for a successful active summer:
It’s not about you
There is a 13 year difference between my oldest and youngest child. The difficulty here is planning something that everyone enjoys. We have found a lot of things that we all like doing, but sometimes I have to remind one child that “it’s not about you”. Sometimes an activity is geared more towards one child than another and just as they learn to share toys, they need to learn to give and take on outings. I think this is a good life lesson.
Invite friends, or not
Some years we invited another family group to join our field trip adventures. It made things extra fun to have other kids along that were similar in age, especially as my kids got older. On the other hand, I also enjoy my kids having time as siblings and focusing on those relationships. Figure out what works for your family. It will probably vary from year to year. It’s okay to say “no” to friends and spend time as a family unit.
Let your children be a part of the planning
As I mentioned above, have your children make a list of things they want to do that summer. Use their lists to plan your activities. Then add in some of your own ideas, because you will think of things that they will not. You can make a summer calendar and assign each family member a couple of days where they get to pick the activities.
Don’t get sidelined by rainy days
A rainy summer day can spoil plans. But if you have planned a day together, don’t let bad weather ruin it. Be flexible and make a new plan. One year I bought a family pass to a local aquarium. We used it when our normal plans got rained out and really enjoyed our visits on those days. I remember one field trip Friday when we had planned a hike. When rain spoiled our plans, we went shopping for a new board game and spent the afternoon playing it.
I’m talking about the kinds of schedules you have been running on during the school year. Kids in sports activities, camps, extra classes, play dates, and other obligations. Keep these things to a minimum and choose carefully. Let summer be a time to regroup and relax.
Make an event out of your days together
Whether you are following a field trip Friday type plan, or are more spontaneous; make those days together an event. Guard the time together, put phones away, take pictures, and remember how special these memories will be to your kids.