We just had an end-of-the-year pizza party with Maia’s kindergarten class, and while she has a couple of days of school next week, summer vacation is almost upon us.
I feel like I need a plan!
Even if it’s just a loose one — perhaps simply a decision to spend as much time outdoors as possible, exploring the world around us.
I spent much of my early childhood outdoors (we lived way out in the country), doing things like this — wading in streams, playing outside, soaking up nature without thinking about it.
We don’t do nearly enough of this now, as a family, as a society. I want to make a conscious effort to add more of this into our lives this summer, whether through hiking, camping, visiting nearby farms, going to our beloved Arboretum, or just our super-close university botanical garden (pictured here).
This should be easy, really — I love nature and we live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with nature all around us. But sometimes I get stuck on the heat, the mosquitos, the need for sunblock, the effort it takes to pack up everything we need and get in the car, the fact that hiking in a straight line doesn’t appeal to the kids… And then I just stay home and turn the fans on full blast and set out some paints and paper. So this nature thing doesn’t happen nearly as much as it should.
But I’m going to work on all that this summer.
Because, to me, this is one of the things that childhood is about. Unfettered play in nature.
I have other things I’d like to focus on, too—simplifying (I’m currently reading Organized Simplicity and Simplicity Parenting), getting dinner on the table (something I’m not so great at), and working on my book, of course. And I’m sure there will be lots of lots of art happening all summer.
I’m going to sit down this weekend and start working on a plan. Make a list! (I love lists.) Ask Maia what she wants to do this summer. I remember a friend telling me about their summer plan. Each family member picked one thing they wanted to learn—such as “learn how to do a cartwheel” and then they would work on that over the summer. I like that idea. I also really like my friend Jennie’s Doorway into Summer list. Maybe we’ll do something similar this year…
How about you? Do you have a summer plan? Any activities you’d like to try with your kids this summer? Anything you’d like to focus on?
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