Today is my favorite day of the year: The first day of summer vacation!
When I was a kid I remember how exciting it was to get to the last day of school. Summer vacation stretched out before me forever, it seemed. I could not imagine the end of summer from the beginning of it.
Download your own Welcome To Summer resources and printables pack now!
I have a very different perspective on summer as an adult. Namely, that it is over way too soon, long before I get to do everything I want to do. I tend to cram way too many things into the warm months, and then I’m frazzled and disappointed by those first cool days in September.
Last year, as an antidote to that feeling, I made a short list of things I wanted to make sure I did over the summer months. I called it my Summer Do List. They were mostly small things, and all of them local. It was really helpful to have some kind of focus, but also a reminder to keep things small. When we had a little time on the weekend I’d look at the list and pick a fun activity that was the right size. When we got stir crazy mid-week, I’d refer to the list and get us out of the house for an adventure. We actually did everything except the blackberry picking, and I never made jam because we didn’t pick enough berries to make it worthwhile. We just ate them. By the end of the summer, I felt satisfied and relaxed, not frazzled and disappointed.
I just looked over my 2013 Summer Do List, scrawled into my journal on the first warm day in May, and I see it is even simpler than last year. More than half of the list are things to make: “Make jam, make a fairy garden, make spray sidewalk chalk.” Looking over my list I see that I’m envisioning a slow, mellow season, and I like that.
I encourage you to make your own family Summer Do List. If your kids are old enough, get their input. You might be surprised at what they really want to do this summer! You might also be surprised at what doesn’t make the list and that you can let go of. No one really wants to travel? Then don’t!
If you need some inspiration, here are some great ideas:
The Antidote to the Bucket List
Summer Vacation Fun Lists
This colorful printable is from last year but it is timeless. This would be a good one to print out and hang up as inspiration. Use these ideas as a base for your own list or just use it as a reference when you need a summer activity idea in short order.
Slow Summer Ideas
If you are really wanting to reclaim the long slow days of summer, this printable from Awesomely Awake is focused on slow and playful activities. This is my kind of list!
Also, check out this post (by the same author) on The Rhythm of the Home on how to create a slow summer rhythm.
Free and Cheap Ideas
If the idea of outings, amusement parks, and vacations has you feeling panicky about your budget, this is the list for you. 101 more ideas for things to do with kids that are free or almost free. There are easily forgotten but wonderfully fun ideas like playing in the sprinkler and going cloud watching.
How to Make Your List
My summer list is just jotted down in my journal, which is with me most of the time, but here are some other ideas for tracking and displaying your summer plan:
- Make Today An Adventure Printable, from Hands On As We Grow.
- If you are crafty, here’s a bucket you can make to store and display your adventures.
- If you are a little less crafty but want a beautiful keepsake of the season, check out Ali Edward’s Summer Manifesto Album free printables.
If you are still feeling overwhelmed by the idea the coming season, check out this workbook, also from Awesomely Awake. It is designed to help you hone in on what a perfect summer looks like for your individual family.
Want more ideas? Check out the Welcome To Summer resources and printables pack, on sale now. It includes calendars, planners, lists of recipes, ideas and life hacks for mom, because you deserve a vacation, too.
If the summer season is feeling overwhelming, read through some of my self-care reminders for you, because I know getting through the day when the kids are out of school can be crazymaking.