It seems there are two types of summer mothers out there. Some count down the days until summer break with joy and sweet anticipation until they can have ALL day and night with their kids, free of schedule and commitment. And then some count down the days until summer with dread and anxiety because they love their babies but go stir-crazy, coming up with ways to keep everyone happy and entertained. But no matter where you fall, have no fear because you, too, can create summer memories that last a lifetime. 🙂
If there is anything that life has taught me lately, it’s this: the years with littles at home truly do pass quickly – just like all the old ladies in the grocery store try and warn us about! So, it’s important to lean into these quick years with intentionality. And more specifically – intentionality about creating simple yet special summer memories for a lifetime.
Simple Traditions That Create Summer Memories That Last
1. Start a Lemonade Stand
Who doesn’t love the idea of a lemonade stand? It’s simple. It’s fun. And it’s endless entertainment for hours. Neighbors seem to find it charming. And kids seem to find it enthralling. But you want to know the best part? It’s cheap! Here are three additional ways to make it fun.
- Instead of charging, ask for donations. Kids always earn more.
- Pick a cause to donate to and have the kids do multiple lemonade stands throughout the summer to save up. Then, drive the donation to the place they have chosen as a special day!
- Build an actual lemonade stand. Paint it. Make curtains. Get creative. It may not be pretty. But I promise this: it will be fun.
2. Take a Food Tour
Each summer, choose a food theme to try out. Then, travel around your city and pick a day when you will try that specific food each week. One summer, it may be Donut Saturdays. Another summer may be Taco Tuesday. The following summer, Burger Fridays. Whatever it is, make it fun. If you really want to make it festive, make family shirts that say “Summer 2024 Donut Tour.” Then, take a picture at each place you eat. It’s a fun way to create an album and make summer memories all at once.
3. Picnic in the Park
Clichés are fun for a reason. People love picnics because they are out of the ordinary. Have everyone contribute to the picnic and pack a favorite food. Try a few new recipes for the kids to pack to make it extra fun. They can each pick one thing they want to try for the picnic and help make it the day before! Take board games and outdoor games to play. Pack some storybooks, too. A picnic in the park (or breakfast if it’s a super hot day) is an easy way to break up a day with fun summer memories!
4. Go for a Late Night Swim
Everyone loves swimming! But there is something magical about an evening swim at dusk. If you don’t have a pool, ask a friend if you could have an after-dark party with them, and you’ll bring the treats! If you have your own pool, even better! Tell the kids to get their swimsuits on and meet you at the backdoor at bedtime. And let them swim late. I promise late-night swims will always make for a fun summertime memory!
5. Organize a Watermelon Eating Contest
Put together a watermelon eating contest with your local neighborhood pals, or invite some close friends and make it a day. Order some fun watermelon-themed tablecloths and plates. Get cups and all the goodies. And then buy some watermelons and get to cutting. But don’t forget to create a prize for the winner of the watermelon eating contest! And if the participants still wear diapers, make sure to pack a few extras! It could get messy.
6. Set up a Library Competition
Create a family book reading goal and see who can read the most books. Then, pick a weekly day where the kids go to the library and check out books. If your babies are little, it keeps you interested in reading to them with a constant rotation of new, fun books. And if your kids are older, it keeps them interested in reading with their weekly trip! It’s funny how a simple competition can spur on summer reading! And make sure to join in and turn off the TV when it’s reading time. Then, make sure the end-of-summer winner gets to pick a fun movie to see together as a family. Or another family night out of their choice!
7. Hunker Down for a Classic Movie Marathon
There are so many great family movies that your kids may never see unless YOU introduce them! Use the summer to work them through a certain movie or series. Maybe you use the books you read to watch the movies that correspond to them: Harry Potter, Lord of The Rings, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, etc. OR maybe you pick your favorite movies from your childhood so your kids can join in on the movie references you constantly make – Back to the Future or Indiana Jones. Or maybe you introduce them to old classic Disney movies. Whatever it is, use it as a time to bond as a family. Because “Great Scott” – there is no time like the present!
What summer family tradition is missing from this list? What summer memories did you make with your family when you were little? Tell us what else might make a summer to remember with your kids!