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Summer Fun For Apprehensive Mamas

Summer Fun For Apprehensive Mamas

I see you, my mama friend – a ball of mixed emotions as the school year draws to an end.  You have moments of elation because you anticipate Instagram-worthy moments on the beach with your little angels, delicious ice cream cones, and evenings spent catching fire flies after bedtime.  And you have moments of anxiety because … well… these dear children are going to be WITH you for so many hours a day.  …and they’ll be with each other for so many hours a day!  But perhaps most of all…you’re exhausted because…end-of-year awards and end-of year parties and field day and projects and the musical and teacher gifts.  We just lived through MAY for goodness sakes!

May ends and June can slap you in the face with all of its open expanse and lack of structure.  It’s full of possibility… and simultaneously paralyzing. If you find yourself in that end-of-school fog, you can let those shoulders relax.  From one mama to another – here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning toward summer entertainment with your crew.

So, sit back, sip that lukewarm coffee that’s been sitting on the counter for the last hour, and enjoy this Summer Fun Top 10 List.

  1. Explore local greenways.
  • Take their bikes, trikes, or just their tennis shoes and pound the pavement together.
  • Exercise + fresh air + new scenery = winning.
  1. Grandparent camp
  • If you’re blessed with grandparents within driving distance who are up for keeping the grandkids for a few nights, this can be a wonderful option that allows them to explore summer fun in a different place and fosters the special relationship kids have with their grandmas and grandpas.
  • Time with family + wonderful memories + kid-free time for mom and dad = winning.
  1. Weekly visits to the library or local bookstore
  • Reading the same books over and over again at home can lose its luster. Local libraries have come a long way with engaging activities and play areas for kids, while giving your child a whole new collection of books to explore!  Plus, they provide summer reading programs and incentives.
  • Developing their love of reading + air conditioned space = winning.
  1. Discounted Matinee Movies
  • Check your local theater for morning kids’ movies. Tickets are often $1-$4 and may even include popcorn and a small drink!  Several communities also provide free outdoor movie showings throughout the summer.  Check your local Parks and Recreation website!
  • Laugh + beat the heat + mom may get a nap = winning.
  1. Grow a garden…or simply plant some flowers
  • For the first time this year, we’re trying our hand at a garden. Not only has it been a wonderful family project, but our kids love running outside each morning to check the progress.  Lara Casey has a super helpful online gardening class for beginners I took recently.  It comes with a beautiful PDF printable gardening workbook the kids filled out with me as we prepared to plant!
  • Time in nature + delicious produce + sowing & reaping lessons = winning.
  1. Provide a little structure
  • I look forward to a slower paced summer with less structure … but a summer with absolutely no rhythms and routine does not lead to fun and freedom at our house. Last summer we created some guardrails and an opportunity for our kids to earn a little money by adapting responsibility charts we found online.  We decided to have some tasks they complete simply “to help the family team” and others that they would be paid for as they went above and beyond to be helpful around the house.  These can also be extremely helpful in setting some boundaries about what kinds of activities you’re expecting them to engage in before screen time.
  • A little structure + lessons in responsibility + a less chaotic house = winning.
  1. Vacation Bible School
  • VBS is a highlight for my kids every summer! They have a blast, learn about Jesus, hang out with friends, and get to stay up at least an hour later than normal each night we go.  If you don’t attend a church with VBS, find a good one in your area and don’t miss out on this super fun opportunity for your kids to grow spiritually!
  • Spiritual growth + crafts you don’t have to clean up + fun with friends = winning.
  1. The Cookout Challenge
  • This year my husband proposed that we take the kids to our local milkshake joint (Cookout) once a week and have them order a different flavor each time. We’re creating a chart where they’ll rate each shake and describe it using a couple of adjectives.  Each family member will choose an all-time favorite at the end of the summer.
  • Delicious treats + practice with descriptive words + cool parent points = winning.
  1. Tour of Local Parks
  • On a good weather day, pack up a picnic, tell your kids to find two remotely matching shoes, and explore as many parks as you can in one day! They’ll be delighted to play at multiple places and maybe you can find a shady spot to read while they play.
  • Energy expender + fresh air + new play areas = winning.
  1. Online Watercolor Class
  • I ran across this Jones Design Company online watercolor class for kids on Instagram recently and can’t wait to take it alongside my kiddos this summer! It’s adorable and affordable–only $30—and will be perfect for providing a creative outlet and a fun (non-screen) rainy day activity.
  • Creative instruction + adorable works of art + less screen time on a rainy day = winning.

Blessings on your summer with your Littles!  May we savor it instead of suffer through it.  May we relish simple joys instead of rushing to our own agenda.  May we embrace a slower place instead of excelling in efficiency.  May we thoroughly enjoy these precious days as the gifts that they are and allow the delights of summer to point us to Jesus – the One who is, as John Piper says, “the refreshing center of summer.”

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Ashlee Johnson

Ashlee is the wife of a pastor, mom of two busy little ones, and a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary. She is passionate about communicating the truths of Scripture to women and magnifying Jesus as the All-Satisfying Treasure and Almighty Redeemer. She has lived in North Carolina for most of her life and loves making the most of the sidewalks and parks in her 1940s neighborhood. Ashlee enjoys healthy eating and exercising, but finds it nearly impossible to resist homemade cookies!

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