It is summer. Dead in the middle of it. We started out with calendars neatly lined with playdates, library reading programs, birthday parties & nature center hikes and adventures just waiting to be crossed off…and posted to Instagram, of course.
We had such big plans. We would teach them to play chess. Make popsicles. Learn a new language together. Pick cherries and berries at a local farm. Pinterest doll clothes and sock puppet designs had been bookmarked all spring awaiting our crafty summer-idle hands. And yet, halfway through the school break, the most we accomplished is reading the first handful of chapters of Little Women at bedtime the first week before it slipped behind the heavy dresser, possibly stuck forever.
The start of summer feels like the kid-version of New Years. We make lots of shiny resolutions. Now it is a month later and we’re in the slump. But when it comes down to it, most of our grand plans for summer all centered on the same fairly simple thing, sharing quality family time together.
So we decided to help out. Instead of doing the usual “100 Things” feature on how to engage kids, we took a different slant and offered the zillion summer things to do as a family.
Many of our Summer Fun Guide suggestions don’t cost much, if anything, and we made sure to include items from all corners of the county. Pack up the family dinner into a basket and head to the park for a concert or the beach for a classic family movie. Leave the phones on silent and just relax and watch the kids chase each other as the sun sets, or bring a Frisbee to toss to the pup.
Many parents are working through the break, so the struggle of entertaining the kids or shuttling them to camps and playdates to fill the workday adds stress to an already over full schedule. Kids have reached their fill of TV or video game gluttony and have entered the “I’m boooored” stage of too much free time. Often the most satisfying thing they find to do with their time is to teach their younger sibling the “stop hitting yourself game” or see how long one sentence can be drawn out if done in one unending thought warbling stream of pure whine. In short, everyone needs a good dose of FUN.
Odds are, you might have been to the featured theme parks in our Trips with Kids (though each park we highlighted had new happenings in the works for this summer). But you might not have considered making an overnight or weekend of it, being so close. For kids, the change of environment and having mom or dad to themselves, without laundry waiting or paperwork to file, can feel like they are a world away. And skipping airports or travel hassles helps everyone relax and enjoy the experience.
We suggest reading through the Summer Fun Guide feature with your kids. Have each member of the family pick what seems exciting to them, and take turns venturing out into OC. Pick a new park you’ve never been for a concert and check out their playground before the show. Head out for a unique frozen treat and pair it with an hour at the local splashpark. Go out, have a blast, and only pull your phone out to take a few photos…and then send them to us!
We’d love to see how you spend your family time. Send shots to Sascha@ParentingOC.com with SUMMER FUN in the subject line. We will set you up with tickets to another activity to enjoy and might run your photo in an upcoming issue!