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Summer Fun For Kids: Five Goals For My Kid’s Summer Break

May27

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This weekend we saw perfect weather until yesterday when we were hurled headlong into the most sweltering days of August. Spending the day outside sweating got me thinking about what I want out of this summer for my kids.
It’s no secret I have mixed feelings about summer. It’s hard for me to work with my kids at home and it’s been very difficult in the past to fill seven days a week for three straight months with stimulating activities. Still, I have high hopes for this summer because we’re in a neighborhood where children, get this, actually spontaneously play together. Without carpools or invitations or themes. I also think this summer will be less draining than summers past because my kids are at independent ages that make a lot of the physical work of parenting them a lot easier for me.
Finally, we have central air in our new home and I know a lot of the civilized world has had central air conditioning forever, but this is very good for my frame of mind because I become a sweaty pile of irritation when I’m hot.
I’ve come up with five things that define how I’d like our summer to be as a family this year.
A Solo Bike Ride.
I want to see my nine-year-old take her first solo around-the-block bike ride. We wonder why our kids are (on average) more overweight than ever and then I get looks of disdain when I say I’m excited for my daughter to expand her solo world on her bike. I know we’re led to believe it’s a different world, and in some ways it is, but I can’t believe my kid hasn’t had her first solo bike ride already. This summer I’d like to see that change. Maybe next summer she’ll be able to go to the convenience store around the block to get an ice cream treat she’ll pay for with her own money.
summertails.gifSummer Tails Day Camp
I’ve signed both my kids up for a week long day camp at our Humane Society. The camp is designed to teach kids about humane treatment and training of animals and focuses on what it takes to be a vet. My daughter is an animal lover and would like to pursue a career in the animal field. My son just wants us to get a dog sooner rather than later and will use whatever means necessary to hasten the process.
Our First Family Camping Trip
The thought of camping has always made my skin crawl. I’m not a particularly high-maintenance lady, but I’m also no fan of bugs, dirt and low tech sewage management techniques. I decided to take the plunge when a group of families at our new elementary school invited us along on their yearly family camping trip. Watch for a Buzz Off column collecting ideas for making this a more pleasant event.
Digging in the dirt = big funRelaxed Bathing Rules
I want there to be at least one day this summer when the kids have been so active and we’ve been so busy having fun that I can’t remember the last time they had a bath. I want them to be so dirty I can’t tell if they’ve got a tan but maybe not so dirty they start sprouting small vegetation. Really, what’s the point in living in the suburbs if you can’t spend your day getting dirty in your own backyard?
Scabbed Knees
My son has had one truly scraped up knee in his life. I can’t recall a time my daughter has even had one. Now that they’re both avid bike riders, I’d like to see some scabbed knees this summer. Hopefully the scabbed knees will become small pink spots on their knees by the time they return to school in the fall.
We’ll be doing other things this summer, watch for the return of the Burning Daylight series, but I think these five things give you a feel for what I see going on in this house this summer. To put it simply I want this summer to be like the summers I remember as a kid. I want to do things with them, I want some structure, I want some totally carefree days, I want them to be independent and I want them to remember this summer as one of the best ever.
2008 is officially declared The Summer That Didn’t Suck! What are your hopes and plans for your family’s summer?

About the author

Melissa Summers

http://www.suburbanbliss.net/
Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa's Buzz Off. You can find her daily on her blog, Suburban Bliss.


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4 Responses to “Summer Fun For Kids: Five Goals For My Kid’s Summer Break”

  1. Kyran May 28 at 9:40 pm Reply

    having just moved into our dream neighborhood (yes, the kind where nine year olds can and do ride solo around the block, and climb over the fence to play spontaneously with neighbor kids), I plan to spend the summer hanging at the pool up the street, unpacking boxes, and yelling, “supper!” from the front porch.
    I’m always awed by how much creativity you put into time with and for your kids. They’re lucky to have you.
    as for camping, I love it, but I’m a weenie car camper. If you’re like me, you’ll be wanting an inflatable bed with a battery-powered pump/deflator. toss as many layers of ground cloth and blankets between it and the tent floor as you can spare. and if there’s no hot running water, I pass.
    I know.

  2. Karyn May 30 at 2:16 pm Reply

    This list comes at the right time, as I had just said to my husband that this is the kind of summer I want to have with the kids.
    One addition for us will be teaching my daughter and son how to skip. At the moment my daughter tends to get the skipping rope wrapped around her in all kinds of non-CSA approved ways. We’ll be spending a low-tech summer working on that!
    I, too, want my kids to have summers like the ones I had when I was a kid, and I think we are in the right neighbourhood now where that could actually happen. (Did we all move into our dream neighbourhoods this past year? It seems like it)

  3. Dawn May 30 at 9:57 pm Reply

    I always have the same fears as you since I work from home as well. Luckily we have amazing neighbors and all the kids are friends and act exactly like the ones in yor new neighborhood. They all ride bikes together, although we don’t really have blocks here like a city, but they go pretty far, and playdates happen spontaneously pretty much every single day. It really helps make them independent and gives you time to get things done. I’ve been gathering small craft projects for the kids to do on days when they are “soooo bored.”

  4. mitchsmom Jun 04 at 9:22 am Reply

    We are lucky that we pretty much live that way in our neighborhood all the time. We don’t overschedule the kids during the school year and we love most of our neighbors. We have nice weather pretty much year-round. We live on a sleepy block with hardly any traffic.
    Plus, we just got a pool so that will make a world of difference for summer (in inland south Florida everyone is usually *indoors* for a large part of the day unless water is involved!!).
    I hope you have a wonderful summer :)

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