Gearing Up for Fun
Archived Articles by Shaina Olmanson
As the summer approaches, our days are filled with homework, standardized tests, and just trying to make it there. With the weather as nice as it's been, though, we spend every free moment we have trying to enjoy the outdoors and get summer-ready.
Here are a few things that we do as a family for fun—and to get ready for the future fun that can only be had once school lets out and releases the kids to long sunshine-filled afternoons.
Gardening. Our family spends a lot of time gardening, so once the snow clears and the nights stop dropping below freezing, getting our gardens planted and growing is a priority. As the farmers markets open, the kids and I trek over to buy vegetables and flowers, and the kids each pick their own vegetable for the year. These plants will be the ones they're primarily responsible for, and they will get to choose meals to make with their crops once they come in later in the summer. It's a great way to get them involved in the feeding process, and I have loved watching how proud they are of their plants.
Bike Rides. It sounds simple, but getting our legs moving and riding around the neighborhood is the first step for us in welcoming in the warmer weather. It's great exercise, and it is fun to see how the bike paths change or the lake changes with the season, what different kinds of animals we can spot and the different flowers that are blooming throughout the year. (Plus, it's a great way for mom to get in shape before the kids are begging to hit the beach.)
Building a Bird Feeder. We have always wanted to have a proper birdhouse or bird feeder to hang from our lilac bush that sits in the middle of the backyard, so this spring, we've chosen this as a family activity to do together. After looking at different plans, we've selected a fun one with multiple feed compartments and a modern look. The kids will help buy the wood, cut it, sand it, assemble and paint our bird feeder so we can see what types of birds we end up attracting through the summer.
Food Science Activities. Last year we had fun all summer doing food science activities like making ice cream with rock salt and zip-top bags and shaking cream in a mason jar until it turned to butter. This year we plan on doing more, but we first needed to narrow down our list and decide which ones we want to focus on. Before summer comes, we'll be hitting up our local library, finding the activities and information we need to pull them off, and then planning a calendar for science camp days.
- Chore Charts. Summer often means a change in the chores that the kids do and what their responsibilities are. Getting them involved in the planning and the rewards can often help in the excitement level for them. When they have set the rules, they may just follow them, right? We can all hope.
What do you do to get ready for the summer break and the kids being home?
See what else Shaina is bringing to the table at www.foodformyfamily.com/.