The countdown is on!!! As you walk around campus, the signs of the school year coming to a close are all around us. You can sense the excitement!!! The senior hall has the countdown of how many days until graduation. The students are full of life and extra energy anticipating May 26.
Sometimes the only ones dreading the coming of summer are the parents. I hear so many say, “What am I going to do with my kids?”
When my kids were younger, I would have them create a summer “bucket list.” It was full of things that they wanted to do over the summer. It was entertaining to see the plans that they made for themselves. While some of their ideas may have been ambitious, most of the activities were very doable. I actually would add a few things that they didn’t think of (i.e. reading books for AR!) As a family, we would tackle the “bucket list” and try to complete it before school started.
The following are some rather inexpensive family, fun activities that can be achieved very close to home.
Summer Bucket List:
#1 Area Parks
Lakeland is full of many wonderful parks with great activities. Plan to go and eat breakfast at the park and then play before the heat becomes unbearable. Barnett Park is great to go to because of the fountains. We live in West Lakeland so a trip to Alderman Ford Park or Medard Park, both just outside of Plant City, is especially refreshing because both have shade. Aldermans Ford has a path all around the perimeter that you can either walk or ride a bike. Remember to bring lots of water. Ice cream on the way home is always a hit tooJ
#2Cook/Bake with Kids
Use summer to have the kids help in the kitchen. When the schedule is a bit more carefree, let the kids help plan menus, shop and execute the meal. Bonus, while they are having fun in the kitchen, they are also brushing up on math skills. Also, use this opportunity to bake and take goodies to those in nursing homes. You will bring cheer to someone and teach your kids how to serve others.
#3Free Movies at Cobb Theatres
Check the Cobb Lakeland website for free movies every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning.
#4Visit Library/Children’s Museum
Going to the library and checking out books is a great way to spend some free time in the summer. Be intentional and carve out time during the week and have your child read. Another summer bonus, reading skills will be enhanced!!! The Lakeland Explorations V Children’s Museum is another great option right in our backyard. They have one-day pricing or family memberships. If you purchase the family membership, there is reciprocity with other museums around the state. It is worth a visit to their website.
#5 Circle B Bar Reserve
The Circle B Bar Reserve is another inexpensive Lakeland treasure. It offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Bicycling, bird watching, fishing, hiking, picnicking, seeing a variety of animals are just some of the activities that can be done.
#6 Build a Fort
Too hot outside? Gather up all the blankets and quilts and build an indoor fort. This will entertain for hours. This is also a great place for reading or playing games. Need ideas? Don't hesitate to look at Pinterest or other resources for awesome fort ideas!
#7Play in the Sprinkler
OK, now be honest! How fun was it as a kid to run through the sprinklers?! Kids love the chance to be silly and crazy while running through water from a hose. You’ll find the neighbors will soon join in the fun. Water balloon fights are always enjoyable as well. Another summer bonus: your grass will get some much-needed water!
#8 Summer Puzzle
Start a family puzzle on your dining room table. Work on it casually during the summer and see if your family can complete in by the end. Glue together, frame it and you’ll have a great memory of the time spent together.
Have your children pick their favorite games, and let the completion begin. Games are rich in learning opportunities and they are just plain fun.
This is not by any means an exhaustive list of summer activities and I’m sure your kids will come up with so much more that I didn’t even think of---I was trying to be cheap.J. Just let your kids have some ownership in the planning of summer activities. I challenge you to allow them to create their own bucket list. Check off each item and see if you can complete it by the end of the summer. At the very least, you will have made some great family memories.
Missy Green is a K4 teacher at LCS. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.