1. Encourage their creativity.
Get out some paint or some clay or some crayons and create something.
We’re taking a few weeks off from ‘school’ but as I’m hoping to blur the lines between ‘school’ and ‘life’, we’re still busy learning. One of my very favorite bloggers Meg introduced this wonderful art blog last week and I’ve been giddy ever since. I find that my girls love art but we haven’t been as consistent with art lessons this year as I’d like. We’ll use our ‘summer break’ to catch up on some wonderful techniques and projects. So, Saturday, we learned about color wheels.
We watched this video and then drew and painted our own wheels. It was simple and yet so much fun! You should try it.
We also did a little body art (formerly known as face painting!)
Not too bad, if I do say so myself. And trust me, I’m no artist.
2. Get them wet!
Everything is better when water’s involved. I’m like the 1950’s mom who gets her hair ‘set’ once a week and can never under any circumstance get it wet. The truth is, I don’t have the kind of hair that just dries nicely and looks fine. If the hair gets wet, I either need a hat or a blow dryer. So when my girls asked me, “Are you gonna get your hair wet this year?” THis Year? Is it really that bad? So I promptly ran down to the dock with them and jumped in. And then Steve and I swam with them to the neighbor’s double decker dock and jumped off the high dive. The kids were ecstatic. And I can still do a toe touch, btw. Take that 40 year old body.
And we may have a new king of the dock!
3. Go outside at night!
I listened to a talk given by Jay Ryan, a self taught classical astronomer who has made it his mission in life to get people outside, looking at the night sky. The talk was incredibly interesting as he lamented the fact that classical astronomy hasn’t been taught as a subject in the US for nearly a hundred years. His website is great and lends some help to those of us who’d like to learn more but don’t know where to start. Steve’s ipad app called Starwalker was also a lot of fun—it uses GPS to help you locate the constellations and planets. In June, the star Regulus, which is the bottom right star of the Leo constellation is very visible just above the western horizon. The moon is in crescent phase and just below and to the right of Regulus. The constellation Gemini is visible to the right of Regulus and the Big Dipper and Arcturus are nearly overhead. We (actually mostly Steve and I) spent the better part of the afternoon trying to teach ourselves some basic terms like ecliptic and zenith and nadir and zodiac. We’ve started a little journal to help us remember the things we’ve seen.
I never learned any of this so I’m like a kid in a candy store. Steve, who is a boy scout at heart, is helping me and learning some too. The girls were a tad distracted (“it’s too hot”, “she’s touching me”) but they also enjoyed it
4. READ READ READ.
Although late to the game, we joined our local library’s summer reading program. It has motivated the girls to read certain books that I don’t think they’d have read otherwise. They also enjoy the friendly competition with each other. (“I read ten books today. How many did you read?”) We also enjoy reading together as much as ever. We’re still in the Harry Potter series and are almost finished with book 6. I think we may re-read the Narnia books next. We try to read aloud for a while in the mornings and then whenever we can squeeze it in. There is something about reading to them that centers them. They stop bickering. They calm down. It’s almost like magic. So, if they’re getting restless and I’m getting frustrated, we read. It sets the world aright!
5. Leave them alone.
Make sure they have plenty of time to just ‘be’. Make them turn off the tv and put down the electronics and just play. It’s amazing what kids will find to do when there is supposedly ‘nothing to do’. My girls put on their swim caps and made up crazy songs about swim caps this weekend—using a hairbrush and the vacuum cleaner as the microphone; but only after I banned the tv and told them to make up their own fun. They can get lost for hours in make-believe play—but they can only do it if there are hours to get lost in. They don’t need expensive trips or toys to have fun. But they do need time to themselves.
It may seem like the summer days are long but the days are gone before you know it and so are the kids. I don’t want to wish it away. I want to learn to savor it—every minute of it. To enjoy the hustle and bustle of kids underfoot. As mothers, these are the ‘neighbors’ God had in mind when he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Lord, keep us from being so preoccupied and busy that we forget that the little ‘neighbors’ under our care are the most important ones of all.