I don’t know about you, but every year around this time I start getting an itch. You know, the one to feel the grass under my feet and the sun beating on my face! I love being outside, my kids love being outside, and let’s be honest, what momma isn’t ready for some outside playtime when she’s exhausted all her creative indoor activities and desperately wants to look at something other than these same four walls?!
I have visions of what summer will look like. Pinterest boards full of homemade, creative ideas bound to entertain my kids for hours. Memories will be built, laughter will abound! Then somewhere around mid-July, I start to panic as I realize my opportunity to complete my bucket list of summer ideas is slipping away from me. Somehow, my pin board meant to inspire creativity has left me feeling like a failure for buying bubble solution or chalk instead of making it myself. Instead of marveling at the wonder of the flowers growing and learning with my kids about the wonderful ways God helps our food to grow in our garden, I’ve spent 30 minutes distracted on my phone (or computer) and frustrated I don’t have the right ingredients for one single bubble recipe!
I have a new goal for this summer. This year, I want to play. I want to love on my babies, to experience life with them, to just have fun! So this year, I’m hoping for an “un-Pinteresting” summer! This doesn’t mean I won’t do anything creative or different, but I’m hoping to scale it back. Not because there is anything wrong with doing these things for our family, but because there is something very wrong with measuring myself by how many pinned ideas I’ve completed. Anyone want to join me?
Here are my tips and plans for how to have an “un-Pinteresting” summer, along with a few inexpensive toys that get a lot of use in our family.
1. Public lakes – There is such fun to be had in a day at the lake! I can’t think of a single time that we’ve regretted a day spent playing in the sand and swimming. It can feel like so much work to pack everybody and everything up, to sunscreen squirmy little bodies, not to mention the 4pm meltdown when everybody is exhausted and we still have to all get back to the car somehow. BUT, the memories made in the hours between? Priceless. Bonus – times when we get to go with friends are just so wonderful! My kids have extra playmates, I have some backup when the natives get a little crazy, and I get to have conversation with a friend in the meantime! Favorite lake toys – My girlie LOVES to spend hours in the sand making ice cream for all of us around, and my boy could be happy for the day with this road roller and some monster trucks.
2. Chalk – The possibilities really are endless! One of our favorite things is to draw a racetrack on our driveway for bike races, foot races, scooters, anything really! A smaller version for hot wheels is always a favorite too. Hopscotch, tracing people and drawing outfits, spelling, rock toss games, there are so many things to imagine with chalk. There’s something too about their hands being busy that seems to open up conversation with my kiddos. I love hearing what is on their heart while we sit and doodle together. I think vivid colors are worth paying for, so I spend an extra couple of dollars and buy the Crayola Sidewalk Chalk that is readily available.
3. Bubbles – Who doesn’t love bubbles?! Babies to big kids (and dogs!) love to chase bubbles. I love the giggles that seem to appear so quickly when I pull out the bubble gun and chase my kiddos around. Using a bubble gun means that there are no tears from the 3 year old that can’t make the bubbles work, and no lightheaded feeling from the mommy who’s been blowing bubbles for 25 minutes. Not to mention the number of bubbles produced, simply impossible to recreate with my own hot air!
4. A digging hole – These garden tools are wonderful! When we’re working on a project, the kids are usually right alongside us helping out with their own tools. Otherwise, we have a designated area in the yard, their digging hole. It’s a spot we’ve made theirs, and I don’t care if there’s ever any grass there, or what they do with it. They dig for HOURS. Hot Wheels, “guys,” ponies, all kinds of toys make their way into the digging hole at some point during the summer. All kinds of adventures happen here, and the dirty fingers and toes at dinnertime make this momma’s heart melt. Dirt covered toes are just a symbol of a fun day here at this house!
5. Picnics – Sometimes our picnics will be well thought out, in perfect settings, with a perfect menu. Sometimes it will look like pb/j on a blanket under the tree. But they always love it! There’s something magical to my kids about eating outside. And really, if they are going to be eating sticky popsicles, why not have it happen outside where I can send them through the sprinkler to wash off!
How about you? What are your favorite “un-Pinteresting” ideas to make memories with your kids this summer?