Reading around the blogosphere this week familiarized me with a new key phrase. Apparently, everyone and their dog must create a Summer Bucket List. I even looked up the meaning of the term bucket list and found that it refers to creating a list of things to do before you "kick the bucket". (We won't even go into what it really means to kick the bucket!)
My mental wheels began turning and soon I was scribbling out a list of things to do during the summer. I sat back, surveyed the list, and collapsed with exhaustion. Why do we do this to ourselves, I thought. I cannot even begin to imagine my own mother stressing about how to fit in all these ideal summer experiences for me and my sister (much less writing about it in a blog!). What did Mom have to do with our summer at all? My sister and I played with toys or the neighborhood kids, we suntanned and read books, we swam occasionally at the public pool and had one road trip to stay with our cousins. As I recall them, my summers were wonderful, free-spirited and full.
Please, don't get me wrong - I have completed my own list and I will be posting it on my blog and linking each post here every week. I just don't want summer to turn into another "to do" list of obligations that, when left undone, feels like a list of things we failed to accomplish. Furthermore, I've noticed that these lists are all geared toward entertaining the kids. Hmmmm. Shouldn't summer be about kids entertaining themselves? Didn't I learn here that boredom is an imagination's best friend? And what about Mom? I came up with several things I want to do this summer that don't really interest my boys or even my husband. They are also going on the list!
So, I am calling my list my Summer Opportunities List. See? Isn't that a little less frightening than a "Do this before you die" list? :) There are ten more weeks of summer before my boys go back to school so that makes for 70 days to do something summery each day. I broke my own list down into ten categories: Quiet, Active, Outside, Inside, Free, Outings, As a family, Just for Mom, Clean, and Create.
Every Tuesday I will post seven "Opportunities" that my family and I may or may not do this summer in one category. However, my most important list for this summer is this Simple Summer Cleaning Schedule. When that list is checked off each day we can move on to the "fun" list.
The first category I chose is quiet because after two weeks out of school already, I am longing for a little more peace and quiet in our days at home.
SUMMER OPPORTUNITIES LIST :: QUIET
1. At Bunco last week a girlfriend told me about creating stations around the house. This is what she does when her own three boys are getting a little wild and she wants to settle them down, keep them busy and keep them separated. She creates five or six different areas or work stations and sets the timer for ten to 15 minutes at each station.
Some station ideas are:
~ computer games
~ exercise (such as jumping rope/running/sit ups/push ups/dance etc...)
~ summer skills workbooks/journaling
She assured me that with a little planning the night before and set-up in the morning has resulted in a quiet and fun day for her kids.
2. Stay up to see the sunset on June 21st, the longest day of the year.
3. Have a "Popcorn Show" as my three year old calls our family movie night. Watch a movie from the library or check out On-demand. Pop some popcorn and snuggle on the couch.
4. Write letters to grandparents, cousins or even friends who are far away.
5. Reading Fort/Tent day. Build a blanket fort or put up an indoor tent. Load it with pillows, blankets and a flashlight or lamp and have a reading afternoon.
6. Study cloud shapes. Lie on your back in the yard and look for animal shapes in the passing clouds.
7. Nature scavenger hunt. Send the kids outside with a small notebook and a pencil and a list of five to ten things they have to do. Here are my ideas:
1. Draw an insect you see.
2. Make a leaf rubbing.
3. Look for tracks in the earth. What kind of animal made them? How do you know?
4. Describe the weather as if you were a weatherperson on TV.
5. Close your eyes and listen. Then write down as many sounds as you can hear.
6. Imagine you discovered an animal or garden fairy that no other person has ever seen. Describe what you observed.
7. Collect four objects to bring home and show to the family. Why did you choose them?
8. How many different scents can you detect? What are they? Describe them.
9. What did you learn from nature today?
Go celebrate summer in some small way today!
Next Tuesday check back for a list of Active opportunities.