My kiddos really are chill just staying at home. Why do we feel like we have to be “on the go”? Especially during the summer? As a single, full-time working mom, I was scrambling to figure out what to do with my kids the 5 short weeks of summer break they get (yep, you read that right. They go to a “year-round” school and I. Love. It.) but it ended up they wanted time to literally just chill! This made me stop and reconsider.
Both older kids also opted against the traditional weekly summer camp. They decided they really don’t care for a crowded, full day camp every week. So, I was able (thankfully!), to get a schedule that was manageable and affordable — staying at grandma’s one week, utilizing a teen babysitter another week and finding mini camps throughout the summer. I’ve also been grateful that they’ve been able to sleep in (no alarm clock! I’m jealous about that one!) on their summer break, something they haven’t been able to do in previous years.
But, what to do when I get off work? I always feel like I must have something fun planned for them or take them all somewhere — but nope! Again, they’ve all expressed to me they really just want lo-key fun!
So I’ve come up with a short list of “Old-fashioned” things to help us all just chill out this summer:
A Hose, a Sprinkler & a Slip n Slide
We don’t have a pool but we DO have a water hose, a sprinkler, and a Slip n Slide! I’ve never seen my kids laugh or play as hard as they do running through our sprinkler or spraying each other with the garden hose! They’ve reminded me how much fun it is to just play in water, having water balloon fights. Plus, getting me to run down the slip n slide makes it even more entertaining!
During the school year, we don’t do electronics during the week, so Friday is our movie night! We continue this tradition during the summer. We gather together, all clean & freshly scrubbed, in fresh summery pjs, possibly pop some pop corn, and snuggle up with each other. Sometimes instead of a movie, we’ll watch a TV series. But the goal is to relax, enjoy each other, and for me not to fall asleep by 8pm.
Hit up the Park
We love Shelby Farms Park Discovery Playground. Shelby Farms Park also hosts family workouts on some Saturday mornings, including Yoga and even Karate, both for free! (BTW, free is always best!) Other parks around Memphis are also fun to explore (check out the blog’s park hop schedule!) and we’ve created our own “adventures” just trying out different parks of the city!
Around & Around They Go (on their bikes)
Sundays after church, you can find my crew typically riding their bikes in our cove. I, with my legs propped up in my awesome outdoor recliner, cheer them on. It’s truly amazing how much kids love to ride bikes, but yet it seems they never have time during the school year. That’s why whenever they want to get a bike ride in, I say, let’s go! Plus, washing the bikes or decorating the bikes for summer holidays extend the fun even more!
Free Skate and Free Bowl (see! there’s that free word again!)
You know those programs you say you’ll do every summer, but then you get to be so busy or tired, you never actually use them? Well, with our chill summer theme happening, we can actually go skating or bowling and enjoy it! My kids love it when we spontaneously decide to hit up one of these places. Cool, blessed air conditioning and the freedom to stay for a while or just a little bit, makes these excursions even sweeter.
Of course, outings to the Memphis Zoo or CMOM are always fun but just try to keep it as inexpensive as you can — go for just a few hours or pack a picnic lunch. (IMO, the best gifts we get as a family are our memberships) Plus, we always take advantage of the Pink Palace free summer membership. Just remember, you don’t have to do it all. Your kids will appreciate a “no schedule” summer and you’ll discover sometimes just winging it is fun, too.