Summer Fun, Part 1, by Maxine Geil, Kindergarten Teacher
“How many more days until summer break?” This question is asked frequently around our house. We love our school and are so thankful for the opportunity to study and to learn new things each school year, but we are ready to embrace summer break and enjoy times of rest and one another.
There are so many different things to do during summer break. Some families take long road trips to visit relatives or to explore national parks. Many families enjoy a week at one of the amazing beaches of NC or spend time hiking in the NC mountains. Family vacations are great times for making lasting memories with the ones we love.
But what about all of the time over summer break when your family is not traveling? Here are a few suggestions for not just surviving long summer days at home, but for thriving as a family and making the most out of your average summer break days.
Our family has made a schedule that is posted on our refrigerator for week day activities. Monday: movie night, Tuesday: each child can choose a 30 minute TV show to watch and/or tennis, Wednesday: library, Thursday: family game night, and Friday: family walk or bike ride. We also have a bucket of ideas for when someone is bored or doesn’t know what to do. Some of the ideas include: build a fort, picnic outside, play Frisbee, hide and go seek, card/board game, scavenger hunt around the house, etc.
There are also various activities that are free or low cost in our area. The State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh is a fun car ride away. This is a great place to buy fresh, local fruit and veggies, and let your kids be part of the selection and purchasing. There is also a yummy ice cream stand that is always a part of our Farmer’s Market trip. Pullen Park in Raleigh is a beautiful park that makes you feel like you have stepped back in time. It opened in 1887 and continues to welcome families each day with carousel rides, kiddie boats, pedal boats, and train rides. Tickets are still only $1.00 per person. Gather some friends and bring a picnic to the park. Speaking of parks, the Town of Cary has 31 parks. Maybe your family can pick a different park to explore each week of summer break. There are also two free museums in downtown Raleigh: the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and the NC Museum of History. Both of these locations have exciting hands-on activities for all ages. Lastly, if you are looking for a chance to see a family movie on the big screen, you can go to a $1.00 movie on Tuesday or Wednesday through out the summer. Regal Cinemas have movies at 10:00 a.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday for only $1.00. You can find out about the family movie selections on their website.
May your summer break be full of rest, laughter, fun, and priceless memories with those you love!
Summer Fun, Part 2, by Leigh Ann Smyrski, Kindergarten Teacher
Whew! We made it to the long awaited end of the school year, and now summer is upon us. Perhaps your first month has been full of activity and trips, but now a month of break remains and monotony is creeping into your vacation days. How do we entertain the kids without breaking the bank? Our family has developed some much loved traditions that we would like to share!
First of all, we have a jar, lovingly called the “The Summer Fun Jar,” filled with slips of paper printed with fun activities! For example:
- Picnic in the park
- Draw with sidewalk chalk
- Have a water fight
- Hike at Hemlock Bluffs
- Visit a local science museum
- Camp out in the backyard
- Family Game Night
- Wash a car
- Tie dye t-shirts
- Play with shaving cream
- Have a pajama day
- Visit the Farmer’s Market
- Visit the pet store
- Enjoy a “Backwards Dinner” (dessert first!)
- Paint a picture
Each day, one child chooses an activity. My kids are always excited to see what we will be doing that day. It is helpful to buy all of your activity materials ahead of time so you can be ready for anything! Most of the supplies can be purchased at a dollar store.
The second activity we incorporate to make ordinary days “special” is to look up a list of National Days. Did you know that July 1 is National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day? July 2 is Hop-a-Park Day and July 7 is National Father Daughter Take a Walk Day and National Macaroni Day. Macaroni Day can be celebrated by making a favorite recipe or fun craft with macaroni. July 11 is All American Pet Photo Day. Have fun dressing up your pet and taking photos. Then, post it on social media for your friends to see. There are many more days all throughout the month of July to celebrate and be creative with.
With a little planning ahead, you can make the remaining days of summer a special, fun-filled adventure!