The end of the school year is bittersweet: our children grow another year older and wiser and we seem to just grow another year older.
We've grown accustomed to the 180-day school year routine, but every year as it wraps up, we're still somewhat taken by surprise -- call it a rude awakening -- that school's out for the summer and now we need to spring into action.
It sneaks up on us quick.
Though summer may seem endless now, set a manageable pace for your family with easy outdoor afternoons and (should the sun and heat return) lots of natural lazy playtime. I'm a big proponent of the the backyard playground. Combine children with a water feature -- be it bucket or sprinkler -- and they'll be entertained for hours. Kids' creativity knows no bounds in these summer months and I do all I can to keep our schedule free enough so we can all enjoy them on a whim.
Having said that, I'm no fool, and any Western Washington parent knows that the weather is fickle and kids could potentially end up hanging from the arms of the sofa proclaiming the two most dreadful words -- "I'm bored."
As you shudder at the thought, fear not.
Time to break out the Summer Bucket List, and get your kids involved. It's as simple as writing down on a large piece of paper everyone's intended plans for the next three months. Make sure to hang it where they'll see it regularly as reminders of the things that should not be missed this year. Though you may have seen this idea floating through the land of Facebook and Pinterest, it's not to be overlooked or scoffed at.
We're on our third year of crafting this list, and it has proven to be a tried and true boredom buster. Having kids involved in creating the list is half the fun and allows them to be responsible for their own entertainment during the summer months. You may be surprised just how much you get done and the kiddos have a great sense of pride in crossing each item off the list.
Here are some ideas to get you started for staying home:
- Ice Cream for Dinner
- Backyard camping
- Family bike ride
- Build a lemonade stand
- Make ice cream without a mixer
- Plant a pizza garden (Roma tomatoes, basil and oregano)
- Create a backyard waterpark
Still drawing a blank on what to add to your list? Activities, events and low cost entertainment abound from each and every parks and recreation catalog. Below, I've got more suggested summer activities and events for every age, every interest and every city for you to take solace in.
Dream Big Read library reading program
Kids Club at Cedarview Park in Bonney Lake (July-August)
Tunes@Tapps - Bonney Lake concert series (July-August)
Gym & Swim drop off program at Enumclaw Aquatic Center
Vacation Bible School programs (various)
Valley 6 Drive-In movies in Auburn
Seattle Mariners family games
Tacoma Rainiers family games
3rd of July fireworks at Emerald Downs
Enumclaw Stars and Stripes Celebration (July 4)
Crystal Mountain Rock & Roll Party (July 7)
Sumner Rhubarb Days (July 13-14)
Music off Main Sumner concert series (Fridays in July)
Shakespeare in the Park at Allan Yorke (July 28)
It's going to be a great summer. I'd love to hear your summer must-dos! Share them with our readers in the comments below.