We are finally free from the grip of winter. Summer, the long dreamed of season, has arrived. School books are tossed on the shelf, as lawn chairs call our names. Summer always brings the hope of freedom from the required; not only for school weary children, but also Moms are ready for a break. Before you continue on auto-pilot, and sign your kids up for all the regular summer activities, try to remember the summer vacation of your childhood. We waited anxiously to throw off our shoes, sleep in, and play outside. We were thrilled with the thought of no homework, and nothing in front of us for the next three months, except fun and freedom. Our children need to experience the summers of our youth.
I still look forward to summer, just as I did as a child, maybe even more now. Days seem shorter and time passes more quickly than when I was young. As a young girl, summer seemed to stretch before me, Now, I just blink and the months fly by. I want summer to linger, and I want to linger with it. Summer is an opportunity for our children to have some old fashioned fun, and for Dads and Moms to join in.
I invite you to throw off your shoes, wiggle your toes and have some fun. Turn off the electronic devices, get outside and remember why this used to be your favorite season. In case you lack ideas, or your children are moaning from boredom after the first week, these suggestions will enrich any summer vacation. Just as people now opt for staycations instead of vacations, these fieldtrip and outing suggestions include ideas for fun right at home.
- Start by finding a porch swing or lawn chair and sit outside. Feel the breeze on your skin, and the sun on your face. Listen to the birds and the rustling leaves. Have your children close their eyes and count the number of different bird calls. Spend time thanking God for everything you become aware of as you stop and rest.
- Take a drive down a back road, corn on the right, soybeans on the left, and green as far as you can see. Meander.
- Pick some fruit. Indiana has an abundance of “You Pick It” farms. Find one near you. http://www.pickyourown.org/IN.htm Pluck strawberries for jam and blueberries for pies. Yum!
- Head to your local farmer’s market. Buy an Amish pie or fresh tomatoes. Pick up an extra pie and take it to a friend or shut-in.
- Girls ages 5 to 99 will adore the Museum of Miniature Houses and Other Collections, in Carmel. http://www.museumogminitures.org/
- Experience history. Indiana offers historical re-enactments for The French and Indian War, The Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, and The Civil War. Re-enactments offer a trip back in time with the sights and sounds of the past. Some options include: http://www.billiecreekvillage.org/Civil_War_Page.html , http://www.spiritofvincennes.org/rendezvous/index.htm , http://www.angolacivilwardays.com/Home.html , http://www.kohkohmah.com/ , http://www.showmegrantcounty.com/grant-county-attractions/mississinewa-1812/ , http://www.angelfire.com/in3/34IN/ , http://www.tcha.mus.in.us/feast.htm
- Summer and good books just go together. Choose a read-aloud and head outside with your kids. Spread a picnic blanket, and bring the lemonade and cookies. Tom Sawyer, is a summertime must. The Wind in the Willows, Anne of Green Gables, The Hobbit and Peter Pan are all delightful adventures that will enrich your summer.
- Beatrix Potter stated, “I remember I used to half believe, and wholly play with fairies when I was a child.” Create a fairy garden with your children.
- Grab a jar, grab a kid and head out into the summer night to catch fireflies.
- Do you remember drive-in movies? No one could see and no one could hear, but oh they were such fun. A summer night is great for a movie. Find a drive-in near you. http://www.driveinmovie.com/IN.htm
- All kids should fish. Check this sight for the nearest location to you, and don’t forget the mosquito spray. http://www.aa-fishing.com/in/indiana-kids-fishing.html
- Make homemade ice cream! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E2GHyl6UgU
- Go to the beach. Lake Michigan’s beaches are better than the ocean. No crabs, no salt and best of all, no sharks. While there, tour a lighthouse. http://www.michigancityparks.com/index.php/washington-park-and-beach
- I challenge you to eat dinner outside more than you do inside. Make your dinner time a phone free zone. Linger when the meal is done. Watch the sun set and enjoy each other.
- For night time entertainment, skip the television. Join your kids in a game of “Hide and Seek” or ‘Murder in the Dark.”
- While you enjoy this sunny season, take the opportunity to spend more time with Jesus. The freedom from other obligations frees us to pursue Him more.
Think of ways to slow down, ways to fellowship, and ways to bless others. Before you know it, seasons will once again change and our pace will quicken and this summer will only be a memory. Make sure it is a good one.
This article was originally published in The Informer a couple years ago. Most links are for the state of Indiana but if you live in another state, just Google it for your area. I’m enriching my summer, so I decided to share a little summer re-run. Go have FUN!