I love the summer! Everything is alive and lively. The days are longer, the air smells sweeter, the kids are out of school and it’s time to play!
Unfortunately, when my children were at home, I often found school was knocking on the door of our summer fun before we really got to enjoy the season that seemed to all-too-quickly slip through our fingers. The next thing I knew, it was time to plan curriculum and get things ready for class to be in session. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed our summers, but some were better than others. You see, rather than intentionally making memories with the moments we were given, I often filled them with nothingness and our summers somehow disappeared in the process.
When your children are now adult men, you tend to look back and reflect on the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” opportunities and wish you could rewind and rewrite your family story. But that’s not how life works. We get one shot to do this thing called life and one chance to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Today’s post is to encourage you to INTENTIONALLY make memories with your children this summer. That means you will need to plan your days; put some things on the back burner and give up a few activities for just a few weeks of family time. If you have trouble coming up with ideas, I’m going to list some here in hopes of sparking your creative fuel. You will also benefit from getting on your city’s website and looking at the calendar of events. If you don’t find one, go to one of your local television station’s website. You should be able to find out what’s going on in your town through one of those outlets.
So here’s a few ideas – but remember to take your camera everywhere you go:
1. A DAY AT THE ZOO – They are normally inexpensive and if you’re on a budget, pack your lunches (and drinks) in a cooler
2. A JOURNEY TO YOUR LOCAL PARKS – Map out a few of the parks in your local area and see how many of them you can hit in a day. Take pictures at every park you visit. Pack your lunches (and drinks) in a cooler
3. A DAY AT THE MUSEUM – Take the family to the museum. Enjoy taking pictures in front of the attractions. To make a day of it, take your lunches (and drinks) in a cooler
4. THEME PARKS – Most towns have some sort of theme park within a three hour radius. Save up and take the family to one of the theme parks in your area. Again, you can pack your lunches (and drinks) in a cooler and save money by eating outside of the gate. The walk back will give you enough time to enjoy the rides when you get back in 🙂
5. PLAY TENNIS AT A LOCAL PARK – You may not be able to join a team, but many parks have tennis courts where you can play for free. If you don’t know the rules, you can either take the time to learn them or just do what I do – make them up as you go
6. HAVE FUN IN THE SUN – Spend a day at the beach, lake or river in your community. Be sure to pack your lunches (and drinks) in a cooler. Contrary to popular belief, sun is good for you. So get out there and absorb all the vitamin D you can…just don’t get a sunburn
7. VBS OR BACKYARD BIBLE CLUBS – Be part of making an eternal difference in your kid’s and other kid’s lives. If your church doesn’t have anything going this summer, ask if you can help at another church and let your children join the fun there. You may want to put on your own backyard Bible club to reach out to your neighbors. Ask some families to help you and make your neighborhood your mission field
8. TAKE A HIKE – Many towns have a natural habitat area that offers hikes and exhibits. You’ll not only want to take your lunches (and drinks) in a cooler, but you’ll want to take your binoculars too
9. GO CAMPING – That’s right…tent and all…take your kids for a good, old fashioned camping trip. Hotdogs on the grill, marshmallows over the fire and all the mosquitos you can imagine. There’s really nothing like it!
10. BIKE RIDING – Go on bike trail and enjoy the ride. Stop, smell the roses, hang out and enjoy the lunch you packed (with drinks) in the cooler 🙂
11. SKATE-BOWL – That’s right! Go skating and bowling all in the same day. Kind of a marathon fun day.
12. TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME – Go to a major or minor league baseball game. Hoot and holler for your favorite team together
13. GO FISH – Take your family on a fishing trip. If you can’t bait your own hook, tell your son it’s time he learn 🙂 OR just use the fake stuff. You’ll have fun whether they’re real or not
14. INDOOR GAME DAY – Plan a day for indoor games. Get a few families together or just hang out with your own family and spend the day playing games. Board games, card games or make up your own (This time you won’t have to pack your lunch) 🙂
15. A TRIP TO THE LIBRARY – Local libraries often offer summer reading programs. You can spend the day at the library and join in the activities
16. DO SOME GOOD – It’s always a good idea to look for ways to make a difference in the lives of others. Paint an elderly neighbors house or mow his/her lawn. Work in a local homeless shelter. Volunteer to help at a local nursing home. Find a way to do good
So there you have it…a few ideas to intentionally plan the upcoming days with memories instead of wasted moments. (If I could do it all over again, I’d schedule two or three activities a week.) Don’t forget your camera for all your events so you can decorate your home with the memories you make. Dedicate a wall for your summer pictures, cover your refrigerator with the fun-filled photos. Whatever you do…make memories…intentionally.
Do you struggle with letting your summers slip through your fingers? What would you add to the list? How do you intentionally make memories?