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Planning for a fun summer

Posted by Sara Orellana Paape on May 5, 2021 12:16:01 PM

Summer is by far my most favorite time of the year. After a hectic school year and long winter, my soul craves the heat, sun, and carefree afternoons of summer. I love nothing better than racing home from work, to indulge in an activity with my daughter, any activity, as long as we are together. Now that she is 17, these activities are fewer and farther between, but still just as amazing. Sadly, this coming summer is my last summer with a child at home full-time, and I plan to make it the best summer we have had. 

While we are slowly emerging from the pandemic, each state, and every city or town, has their own safety protocols which may limit what we can do. But as I like to say, there is always a positive and safe solution to every problem. My daughter and I are avid water lovers, we love spending as much time in the water or doing water activities as possible. Trips to water parks may be off the table, but afternoons spent running through the sprinklers, playing on a slip and slide, or lounging in a wading pool are great alternatives. When we need a truly special afternoon, I take our “Alexa” and “Google Home” outside and play sounds of the ocean and current Latin hits. With two lounge chairs, a few towels, and a sparkling water poured over ice with a slice of lemon complete our get away. We laugh, lounge, and play in the sun, while pretending we are on a cruise ship. It may seem like a silly activity, but these few hours can relax us after a long week.

My husband is a self-declared foodie, and summer seems to be his favorite time to experiment in the kitchen. A red head, his fun in the sun time is greatly limited, while my daughter and I play in the water and chase our dogs, he is in the kitchen cooking up a new treat. We often move our meals outside to continue the fun, carefree summer feeling. Once dinner is done, we grab card games and spend hours outside learning new games and laughing. For us, summer is all about the outdoors and freedom that comes with it. 

Chalk art can also be a fun pastime. I was shocked when my daughter requested a chalk set from Amazon for this summer. She wants to move her art outside. While she draws, I like to blow dog safe bubbles for our boys to chase. They love the carefree nature of summer as much as we do. They have even started joining in the sprinkler dashes. Including them makes the activities that much more special, and guarantees we all get our exercise in.

Any activity can be made special, it’s all in the approach. I love to stock up on fun, plastic plates and cups from Dollar Tree. I can pretend I am on a summer getaway, not at home. A pair of flip flops for the backyard, cut offs, and a favorite worn t-shirt complete the needed summer wardrobe, and let me pretend I am a kid once again. I have been known to start water fights while washing the cars, well, during any outdoor activity. 

Summers are what we make of them, and even with the restrictions which remain in place, we can still have an amazing time. Build a playlist of your favorite summer songs, teach your children the Electric Slide. Remember, our children want time with us, they don’t care what the activity is. I promise even the most sullen of teenagers will giggle when you try to learn “Ahi Challenge.”