It’s officially summer and therefore time for the annual summer list of 2017. Years ago, I started making lists of things I wanted to do during the summer to fully celebrate the start of the season, things like making a pitcher of pink lemonade and napping in a hammock. The list has grown over the years, and each year I try to add new things to do to take full advantage of the season.
This year, I enlisted the help of my minions and added their ideas to my own. Here, then, is the summer of 2017 list.
1. Draw an outline of your hand. Do this each summer and save them so you can compare your growth from summer to summer. (I asked her what adults should do, since their hand sizes don’t change much. She’s still working on a solution for this.)
2. Look at all of the pictures in your family photo albums. (She means ALL.)
3. Start an annual favorites list. Each summer, make a list of all your favorites for that particular summer so you can look back years later and remember. She told me she does this “every summer now,” having started at age nine (she’s ten). Baby-Girl includes things like favorite colors, songs, movies, subjects, places, silly names, hobbies, games, toys, holidays, and books.
From my younger son, in his words:
4. Get twenty-four hours of infinite video game time. (This prompted snark from his brother.)
5. Give me extra presents. (Yes, he is directing this to the universe. In other words, the universe will enjoy summer more if they give presents to him.)
From my older son, also in his words:
6. Video games. (Clearly, he excels in the verbal arts.)
7. Ummmmmmmmmmm. (Despite his verbal intelligence demonstrated above, it is hard to form actual words, let alone words with actual concepts behind them, when you’re playing video games.)
8. Create a story challenge. This is something we started a while ago, and it works well during summer vacations, nights sitting around the campfire, and times when your kids cry, “I’m bored! Fix my boredom!” In a story challenge, one person gives another person, who will be the storyteller, a list of characters (less is usually better), a setting (time and place for the story), and a conflict. The storyteller then takes these parameters and tells a complete story with them.
For example, I might tell one of my kids something like: “It’s summer vacation on an island and there are three siblings (I often put details that match my kids here) home alone. They discover a portal-like hole in their garage that appears to lead far down under the ground. A purple shimmery light shines out from the portal, and they hear sounds they can’t quite identify coming from deep inside. Suddenly, they hear a high-pitched voice within the portal cry ‘Help!’” The designated storyteller then uses these details to tell the story.
9. Make a summer vacation memory tree. Find a piece of driftwood or a fallen branch and place in a vase or adhere to a stand of some sort. (See Pinterest or Etsy for far better suggestions on how to do this than I could ever give.) On the tree, post memories from your summer vacation. I just came back with lots of shells and sea glass from different beaches we visited on vacation, and I started thinking about displaying them to remember our travels. I could also see doing this with small pictures from your trip as the “ornaments.” I’m picturing something small, less than two feet, that could fit on a table and act as a centerpiece for the season. You could even add to the tree each summer with new vacation finds, or you could make your trees small and create a new one each summer. In my house, I can envision a series of small driftwood trees lining a bookshelf or the mantle in years to come. Completely Coastal also has some great driftwood Christmas tree ideas that could be easily adapted.
10. Build a fort in the living room big enough for the whole family. Do what your kids do, except make it bigger and provide more amenities for the adults (like air mattresses, wine, and the good chocolates). Build the roof high enough so you don’t have to crawl on your hands and knees to enter and exit, and use every pillow in the house. If you can last overnight with the kids, great. If not, just watch a movie that way so you can feel a bit like you did back when you were a kid and could sleep (or not sleep) anywhere.