Summer is here and many parents find themselves without a plan. Isn’t summer supposed to be bringing families together? So far the odds are not looking too good. Maybe you have three kids and a two-income household. Between running the kids to day camp and coordinating schedules, it seems like everyone gets a raw deal!
Not only that, but the official get out of town family vacation is a no starter this year. It could be the money. It could be the schedule. Whatever the reason, it’s simply not happening. If life really is what happens when you’re making other plans, make sure this summer happens because you made awesome plans. If we’re not careful, one day, a big yellow school bus is going to show up at the door for the fall semester and it’s going to be too late.
So what can we do to make this summer special, unique, and family-friendly? Try the following 6 ideas for bringing families together this summer.
1. If you can’t take a vacation, take a weekend.
Or two. My wife and I blew our vacation budget on Italy last year, so this year we’re doing a “staycation” anchored by two weekends away. The point here is to plan intentional activities that are not run-of-the-mill. “A change,” the old saying goes, “is as good as a rest.”
2. Plan a series of “one tank trips” based out of your home.
So you’re staying put? See what’s going on within a couple of hours drive of home, learn some local history, visit some local sites. Find out what tourists come to your town for, then pretend to be them for a week.
3. Friday night is Movie Night.
Or, Wednesday night is Bowling Night. Or, Monday night is Board Game Night. You get the idea; this is about being a vacation family, regardless. What happens when you travel? Everyone does everything together. You may not be in a cheap motel in another state… but you can be together as a family. Move the furniture, put a blanket on the floor, turn off the phone, order a pizza, and do a family double feature.
4. Color it different.
Sometimes all fun takes is being distinctly different. Pile the family in the car and drive across the city – or to the next town – for church Sunday morning. Ban computers and phones for a day like you do when you rent that place at the beach. Do a family run for ice cream sundaes. Plan a day outing as a family to a minor league ballpark and watch a doubleheader. Make it different, make it memorable.
5. Each family member designs one outing.
Huddle together as a family and brainstorm summer fun days.Huddle together as a family and brainstorm summer fun days. Each family member gets to have their best idea (within budget constraints) as the featured family activity one time during the summer.
6. Sponsor a kid (or two) at camp.
Talk to your YMCA, or find another organization that resources local kids and help a child who doesn’t have the opportunity to enjoy their family this summer. Make this a family project. Organize family fundraisers so that you all have ownership in another child’s joy. Then write postcards and send them to the kid you sponsored.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with the family and ask, “What have you been looking forward to most about summer?”