Your phone, as mine, is filled with photos of kids blowing bubbles, buried in sand and lazing in hammocks. There are pictures of mouths painted with popsicles and helmet-heads bobbling over bikes and blurry bodies caught mid-cannonball above a waiting, still lake. But which of these pictures best captures the whole summer for your boy? Which moment can you pull up and see immediately all that it says about what your son learned, how he shot up the growth charts, which little thing made him laugh hysterically, how he seemed so himself right then? If one photo said it all about your son this summer, which would you choose? Twelve moms of 19 boys showed us how they captured the entire season in a single second. Here are the boys of summer. Show us your boys of summer! Link to a post or Instagram pic to share your son’s summer glory in one shot.
Alec & Henry, front and squirmy 1 of 14
Eamon and Quinn hit the river 2 of 14
Mom Deirdre sent a slew of photos of Eamon, 7, and Quinn, 4, chasing the dog, hugging, whittling and soaking up the sun. All of them, especially this posed pic of the river-riders, say one thing about these kids' season: "Boys outside, being brothers, making their own fun."
Evan digs the slimy stuff 3 of 14
Evan's mama Sol says this summer moment, snapped while the family explored Turkey Run State Park together, shows off something wonderful about who her youngest son is.
"I love his love for animals (even the slimy ones)," Sol shares.
Ryan’s tool time 4 of 14
Sol's oldest son Ryan spent summer hours helping his dad hammer away at a backyard clubhouse, and earned extra pocket money doing it.
"He's eager to get'er done," Sol says, "so the menfolk can 'camp out' there soon (me too - this thing has been under construction for 3 years now)."
Jake and Nathan park it 5 of 14
Jake, a football-playing high-schooler, and Nathan, nearly a second-grader, laugh, hug, argue and charm the young ladies as if there was not a decade age difference between these brothers. Mom Cyndi says it gives her great joy to catch them in action with her camera.
"I love these photos because it's always so awesome to sit back and see my boys laugh, smile, joke around and enjoy life like young ones should without a care in the world," Cyndi says.
This snapshot of summer was taken last summer when the boys were charged with entertaining their toddler cousin, Vivi, who ended up running the show herself -- eEven the big bad ass teenager Jake, who was 16 at the time," got bossed around.
"Goes to show you are never too old to blow bubbles and run around in a sprinkler, especially if your lil sassy-ass cousin demands it! My boys are really rough and tough most of the time, but their soft, gentle side comes out every now and then and they were gentle giants with their Vivi at the park!"
Will digs, hits, carries, kills us with sunset-lit cuteness 6 of 14
Will, who is five, learned something big this summer while on a family vacation in South Haven, Michigan. After his cousin taught him to hit a ball, mom Amy Kuras says, "he carried the bat everywhere, and there was much hole-digging as well."
David takes recycleables to the road 7 of 14
Beth Blecherman's three tween and teen boys archived their summer with photo-bombed shots of rock climbing, dressing crazy for Giants games and running into the surf. But she treasures this picture of David, 10, because it shows the boys in full creative mode, turning recyclables into a vehicle.
"We like to support our boys' creativity and make good use of downtime over the summer," Beth shares, "so we do regular junkyard wars with materials we have in our house."
Lucas rides the waves 8 of 14
Beth Avant of HipMamaB says some holiday time with her son, the sun and the surf encapsulates the summer with Lucas, 9.
"This was taken on 4th of July. I love this picture because right after taking I jumped in the ocean and boogie boarded with him for over an hour. Mother/son bonding rocks," she explains.
"E"-asing into camping 9 of 14
This picture of my own boy on his first camping trip gets to me. The Not Boyfriend and I packed up a tent and cooler and too many snacks and headed out for a few days just a few hours away to give my 8-year old son his first real camping experience. He loved it.
His confidence soared and he came bounding across the campgrounds like an excited puppy, tongue out and tail wagging. Sometimes, even the city boys themselves in the still simplicity of sleeping outdoors. It him, and my heart, good to unfold that opportunity.
Michael’s lemonade legacy still stands 10 of 14
Mom Amy shared this picture from the past of her teen son Michael, who, at ten, took his entrepreneurial spirit to the city streets, selling lemonade for the Chicago Air & Water Show.
"Boy Wonder" and "BooBoo" debate the merits of artistic value 11 of 14
Lori Garcia of Mommyfriend captures lots of her boys' antics on camera. But it's this pic that she says perfectly differentiates each son's own personality.
"This picture from the beach last week perfectly illustrates my boys," Lori outlines. "Boy Wonder doesn't ask why, he sees a bronze upside-down woman in flippers as cool art and BooBoo is like, 'Why? I don't get it.'"
"Bird" gets a bit shady 12 of 14
Ilina Ewen says her favorite summer moment with her otherwise-serious (and less-mustachioed) eldest son, aged nine, came as they were laughing their way through the Baltimore Aquarium gift shop.
"I love this because it shows my otherwise bookish yet too-cool-for-school son being playful," she reflects. Extra points for sunglasses fully stocked with facial hair.
"Deal" hunkers down 13 of 14
Ewen's favorite marked moment with her younger son, "Deal," aged 8, shows him in one of those confoundingly easy kid poses.
"I love this because my son is squatting in his 'Indian style,' that no one in the family can do for any length of time. He watched the fireworks like this all night," she says.
"Big" and "Little" skip into the sea 14 of 14A rite of passage for many kids in summer is skipping stones. Here, Amy Heinz of Using Our Words, documents the wonder that is the ocean swallowing up a stone that has been propelled by tiny hands."We've spent the summer road tripping to family, friends, and our favorite places," Amy share about this moment with her boys, 7 and 4. "I've loved seeing my boys so at ease, simply being kids."