Making Summer memories

Parades, water balloon fights, barbecue’s and scraping your knees. Riding your bike to the local convenience store for a cold fountain drink, fishing in ditches and running through the sprinklers. Eating watermelon and staying out until dad whistles. Driving to California and back in the family station wagon and getting a bottle of soda or an ice cream sandwich whenever we stopped at a gas station to fill up.

These are the things that remind me of my childhood summers. What memories will your children have of summer?

When our boys were little we took them to watch fireworks in the park, chase ducks at a nearby pond or swimming at the local pool. Now that they are older, their summers are filled with college courses and camps – lot’s of camps. There are Scout camps, school camps and sports camps and each type of camp (typically they are a week long event these days), leaves them full of funny stories and physically exhausted when they finally come to an end. But in between camps there is that unbearable time when they are lounging about the house wondering what they could do with all of their time.

How often do you hear the words, “I’m bored!” during summer vacation?

When I was a kid you never uttered those words because mom and dad immediately rattled off a-million-and-one things that needed to be done in and around the house. Of course the list was met with a-million-and-two reasons why we couldn’t do those things during summer break.

“Mow the lawn….”
“The lawn mower is broken…”
“I fixed it…”
“I broke it again…”
“Move that stack of bricks to the west corner of the lot”
“I moved it to the east corner yesterday…”
“Well now I need it in the west corner”
“The east corner is better…for the bricks.”

That time-honored tradition of acting bored when there is plenty to do hasn’t changed. Super Mom and I give our boys lots to do; they just don’t want to do them unless it involves a water park, an amusement park, lot’s of other kids and a truckload of cash.

In summer’s-past, Super Mom did her best to keep the boys occupied by driving them to different events and places. This summer she has taken on a new job so the boys are left to fend for themselves because they all know that their dad is useless when it comes to fun. Just ask them. My idea of fun is sitting in the shade with a good book and falling in and out of consciousness every other page.

So what can your kids do for entertainment during the long, dog days of summer? Here’s a few things that have worked for us in the past and cost little to nothing:

  1. Bike rides and long walks – Take them on a hike or a bike ride along trails you may have traveled as a kid or find a nice scenic trail close to home. This provides you with ample opportunity to keep the kids in shape, talk to them about mundane things and educate them on the local flora and fauna. For added fun, pack a lunch.
  2. Fishing or skipping – Find a fishing hole or drive to a nearby lake or river. I am useless with a fishing pole and I’m horrible at skipping rocks. But there is something about being near water that loosens you up and gives your kids a moment to enjoy the coolness of water lapping at their feet. If the moment is right, tell your kids something that they didn’t know about you or one of your favorite trips as a kid.
  3. Visit a local landmark or State Park – As kids we often took trips to the Great Salt Lake, This is the Place Monument, the Kennecott Copper Mine and Temple Square in Salt Lake City. We probably visited those places twice a year but it didn’t matter and it didn’t get old because we were together as a family. And in the end, that is what mattered most.

I have so many fond memories of summer time when I was a kid. Even though our boys seem to be so busy with their lives, we still find time to have activities that will remind them of our time together as a family. Make memories today, no matter how you do it. Your kids will thank you by recalling and retelling them every time you get together in the years to come.

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