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What I Love About Summer with Kids

by Jean Van't Hul
June 21, 2014
Hello Summer

Well hello, Summer! And welcome.

Yesterday pretty much epitomized what I love about summer, so I thought I’d share…

Note: I’m trying something new and embedding a few of my Instagram photos, thanks to a tip from my friend Tiffany at Peanut Blossom.

What I Love about Summer with Kids

1. Starting the day slowly, leisurely

I am a morning person, but I love the chance to savor some extra quiet morning time before the rest of the family wakes up. I do some writing, some thinking, some working, and usually take a walk. Once the kids are up, they dive straight into play or check on their garden or swing on the front porch or find me for a morning cuddle. Much nicer than the mad dash scramble to get everyone out the door that we do during the school year.

2. Cooking together with my children

I love to cook; my kids love to cook. We like to cook together and unscheduled summertime seems to allow for that so much more than the school year. We made blueberry muffins together for a mid-morning breakfast yesterday (and then delivered some fresh from the oven to Harry and his work mates). The girls were each gifted with a new kids cookbook a few days ago and have been cooking, and planning what they want to cook, since. (Maia got a copy of Honest Pretzels and Daphne got a copy of Salad People; we already own and love Pretend Soup.)

3. Fruit, fruit, fruit!

Who doesn’t love sweet, juicy summer fruit?! We’ve been eating fruit all day long, making and eating grape sculptures, plan to make fruit necklaces again, making smoothies and popsicles, and are planning this year’s blueberry picking adventure (and the blueberry hand pies and muffins that will follow).

4. Big plans

We’ve been talking about going rafting, hiking, camping, biking, to the beach, on a train ride, to the water park, and more. And the nice thing is, we actually have time for these ideas!

Bean Pole Teepee

5. The magic of the garden

Almost every day one or both of the girls come to me excited and saying, “Mama, mama, you have to come see!” And it’s usually a flower blossom that just opened (yesterday it was a zinnia that Maia said looked like the sunrise), an interesting bug, the biggest radish, a zucchini that was getting close to harvest size, one of the pole beans reaching the top of the bean pole teepee. I thank Sharon Lovejoy all summer long for showing me how fun and easy gardening with children can be.

6. Flowers everywhere!

I just love the flowers and colors of summer! The poppies, daisies, purple coneflowers, black-eyed susans, blackberry lilies, oakleaf hydrangea, zinnias, gladiolus, roses, heuchera, everything!

7. Time to create together and separately

I guess time is the big one here that keeps popping up. We do plenty of creating during the school year, and there are lots of simple art activities that I set up for after school downtime. But there’s nothing like the freedom of  a whole day, and more to follow, to get us in the mood for creating. We draw together around the table or I set up an art project sometimes. But more often, the kids are back in the studio making things (minions and transportation devices at the moment, apparently) or writing/drawing menus for lunch or making sand cakes in the sandbox or castles and stained glass windows out of magnetic tiles.

8. Spur of the moment adventures

9. Summer afternoon thunderstorms

10. Rainbows

Yesterday, after dinner, we hopped into the car to head to the arboretum for an evening walk. Completely spur of the moment. It started raining on the way, but summer afternoon rainstorms are often short here, so we kept going. Soon we were simultaneously hearing thunder and seeing rainbows so we headed up on the Blue Ridge Parkway instead to watch the lightening (from a safe distance) and try to catch more rainbows. It was such a magical experience! We still took our walk in the arboretum (seeing a turtle and a rabbit in addition to all the lovely plant life) and followed up with a stop for ice cream cones on the way home.

And I thought, only during summer would we have such a magical day!

How about you? What do you love about summer with kids?

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