It’s that time of year when everyone is excitedly counting down to summer. Images of warmer weather, bonfires, camping, lounging by the pool, family reunions, and homework free evenings are dancing around in our heads with each passing day and “X” on the calendar. This magical season is often a family favorite, because we can head outside or enjoy activities that are practically impossible during the winter. We need to challenge ourselves to avoid wasting these next few months of sunshine by implementing new family traditions to create an endless summer of memories.
Listed below are 6 creative ways we can generate new family traditions this summer with our children:
Flip a coin. One of the major drawbacks to the school year is the amount of activities and obligations we have scheduled on our calendars. Our families are constantly running around, chasing practices, games, and performances. This summer, embrace a day without plans. Choose a day and just have fun around the neighborhood or go on a daytrip. Use a coin to make choices or just go with the flow and explore the town. This will allow the family to embrace the day and enjoy time together without the added stress of appointments or commitments. You never know what place or activity you might stumble upon.
Begin a family book club. Take advantage of those days spent poolside or staying cool in the shade by reading a book. Have everyone read the same book and hold family discussions over dinner or around a fire. Let everyone choose a book and revisit the classics you loved as a child to keep all family members engaged. You might be surprised at the material a child enjoys reading and the content can begin some very important conversations about touchy topics.
Try new foods. Summer is the perfect opportunity to branch out and add new dishes to the family menu and broaden our palets. Hit the local farmer’s market, grow your own produce, try a food subscription service, or visit food trucks for a variety of foods to try. Most kids love the thrill of seeking new items to eat and it helps make meal planning fun again for those of us who are stuck in a rut. It doesn’t matter if you are trying a new kind of ice cream, Spanish candy, or swordfish, because you are making delicious memories in the process.
Go outside for movie night. Take advantage of late nights and balmy weather by creating a drive-in theater in your backyard. Grab an old bed sheet and hack yourself a projector using a Smartphone and shoe box to set up a night of fun. When the sun goes down, have everyone grab a blanket and lay outside on the lawn for an evening of movies. Remember to provide bug spray and pop plenty of popcorn.
Take a family photo. This summer, gather the family for a fun portrait and recreate it every year. Choose a spot at your favorite state park, at the beach on the boardwalk, or in front of Grandma’s roses and use that location year after year. It will be fun to watch the children grow and the world change around them. On the back of the photo or in your scrapbook, include a list of your summer activities, favorite foods, hit songs, and highlights of the summer. As the kids age, be prepared for some hilarious recreations.
Send yourself a postcard. Many families take advantage of the good weather and long breaks to treat everyone to a family vacation. Begin a new tradition by buying postcards along the way and sending them back home. When you return home, you will have a play by play account of your trip waiting for you in the mailbox. Keep the postcards and you can relive your favorite trips by reading your messages over and over.
What family traditions do you plan on doing this summer?
Megan Scott is a writer and mother of two beautiful twins. She wants to use her knowledge and expertise to help others lead a better life. Her hobbies include writing, long distance running and travelling with her beloved family. Follow her on twitter as @meganscotts