This summer, remember that stepping off the driven, fast-paced track is a good thing for us and for our children. We are our children’s first and best teachers, and we do that not by turning ourselves into teachers, but by giving them our time and being with them. Scheduling days of enrichment experiences for our children may be a good thing for them, but not as good as us doing things with them.
Here are few summer ideas that can be adapted for children of all ages:
- Keep a summer journal. Capture the activities, sights, smells, sounds, and people of summer. Fill it with words, drawings, and photographs. Keep track of the weather and chart the growth of garden plants (or children!).
- Write several postcards or letters and make sure your children get mail from friends and relatives.
- Collect flowers, stones, shells, or bugs.
- Visit the library more often.
- Make meals together.
- Take walks and, if you are with a young child in a stroller, let the child out of the stroller more often (time on the grass spent on the back or stomach is good for babies).
- Have a lemonade stand even if it is just for family and neighbors.
- Visit water often—any and all water—ponds, streams, lakes, seashores, and pools; but remember wading in natural water places is a valuable and different experience than being in a pool.
- Try to spend at least one night in the country and watch the stars together.
- Play board or card games.
- Find some small jobs that allow children ages five and older the chance to make some of their own money.
- Help children help someone else; the elderly, smaller children, or anyone who needs help.