10 Things I Want to Do With My Kids This Summer

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Just the other day, my kids experienced the perfect impromptu summer morning. We didn’t have any plans. They stayed in pajamas for most of the morning, playing games, coming up with art projects, and hanging around. At some point, I turned on the sprinkler in the back in an attempt to save the grass from dehydration. Within minutes, the kids came running out in bathing suits to play.

What began as the traditional jump through the sprinkler with lots of laughter quickly morphed into a game of “hide from the water”. There were umbrellas, raincoats, rafts used to create shelter, and baseball bats. With talk of defeating the water and all kinds of attempts to create water-free zones, they were lost in play for quite some time.

As I watched them play I sat back and remembered my own childhood. Lazy days, watermelon on the beach, and endless games of ghost in the graveyard consumed my thoughts while I watched my kids play out their own version of a low schedule summer.

I keep my kids under-scheduled during the summer months.

I am a believer in stepping off the treadmill and hitting the reset button.

Kids are busy these days. The school year seems to pass in a blur of “doing” and “going”. For us, summer is a much-needed opportunity to do less and go less.

Sure, one chooses to take tennis lessons while the other chooses to learn to sail. But that’s it. We’ll figure the rest out as we go.

I try to do a few fun things each summer based on their interests. I listen carefully for clues and ask them for input, and we always find some interesting adventures (many of them occur in our own back yard!)

Check out these 10 things we want to tackle this summer:

Bake something from scratch without help.

My kids have been cooking and baking with me since they were toddlers, so they are no strangers to the kitchen. This summer my nine-year-old really wants to take the lead. She recently made pancakes from scratch on her own, and now she’s itching to try out a dessert or two.

I love cooking with my kids, but I also love watching them learn to step outside of the comfort zone of mom supervising everything. This summer, I plan to step back and let them give it a try!

Plant a butterfly garden.

My kids love to watch butterflies and bees at work. They also love to plant things. Not long ago my daughter wondered aloud how to attract more butterflies to our yard. She did a little research on plants that attract butterflies and this summer they plan to plant a butterfly garden together.

{ MORE: 4 Things Not To Expect on Family Vacations at the End of Summer with Little Kids }

Paint outside.

Is there anything better than combining art and nature? Bringing the art supplies outside inspires a different form of creativity for kids. It also provides the emotional space and stress release to help reset their busy little minds.

Catch a frog.

I was a master critter catcher as a kid. Growing up in Connecticut, interesting creatures were everywhere.

We hear the frogs in our yard here at night, but my kids have never found one out in the “wild”. This summer, we intend to dig into nature and catch some cool critters!

What do you think?

10 Things I Want to Do With My Kids This Summer

Katie Hurley, LCSW is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and writer in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of "No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls" and "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World". She earned her BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from Boston College and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She divides her time between her family, her private practice and her writing. Passionate about he ... More

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