We believe in spending time outside year round, but summer gives us a chance to enjoy water activities and practice swimming, which I consider an important life skill. I am looking forward to our community pool opening in 2 weeks and to making it there at least once a week – either after work or on weekends. Smarty will also take 2 weeks of swim classes to continue to improve her swimming technique – she still looks like she is half-drowning when she swims.
2. Hanging Out with Friends
What else is summer for if not for spending more time in unstructured play? I hope that Smarty will make better friends with other neighborhood kids while at the pool and she is now old enough to go see if any of them are available for impromptu playdates. Of course, we will also try to stay in touch with her best friends who live far enough for a car ride.
3. CampingI’ll be honest – I don’t enjoy overnight camping, because I don’t sleep well in the tent and wake up sore. But Smarty was in paradise when we went camping, especially last time when we went with a group of parents with kids from her grade. She enjoyed both the company of her friends and just the feeling of being so close to nature. So we plan to go again this summer, at least twice. And, yes, I am getting a thicker sleeping pad :)
I have mixed feeling on “making” kids do something academic in summer unless they need some tutoring to catch up to their grade level. In the past I tried to “motivate” Smarty to do more math or writing in summer, but all those attempts backfired badly, and the only sneaky academic thing that I plan for this summer is to give her one paid month of membership in “Prodigy Game”. She plays on and off with free membership and keeps begging to try out paid game who offers some special features. Luckily, we never had to encourage Smarty to read – the only challenge with her is to find the right books fast enough, because she is an extremely fast reader. You can check for our favorite books for different ages in Book Recommendations, and I go to this trusted sources while looking for new books – Summer Reading Book Lists from The Imagination Soup and Middle Grade recommendations from What Do We Do All Day.
Tinkering is broad and covers any interest your children might have – from trying new art material to making robots. The trick about tinkering is that it requires a significant chunk of time, so people could get in the flow of their creative pursuit and stay there, and it’s harder to find this time during school year. Check out my post on 6 fun summer projects for young tinkerers to get inspired.