It’s August. Do you know where your summer’s gone? I don’t. Some of it’s gone to the pool, for the kind of lazy afternoons spent on towels eating popsicles that I remember as a kid. Some of it’s been whiled away by my nine-year-old’s determined statement that it was The. Most. Boring. Day. Ever, which, if you ask me, isn’t really a bad thing. It’s in the garden, sure, it’s in our newly cleaned out garage. But what I want to make sure to remember is to get some of it into the memory books.
At the end of every summer, I’m left wondering what happened to the big plans we had in June. The vacations happened, sure, but the days in between seem to have slipped away, and what felt like an endless amount of time for day trips and tee pee building becomes a rush to buy lunch boxes and backpacks. We’re not there yet, though, and I’m determined to make at least a few of the big, what-I-did-this-summer plans happen before summer is gone.
For seven sure-fire ways to capture that summer feeling, read on.
- Make popsicles. Get out the plastic popsicle maker, get those creative juices flowing and try out fudgesicles and frozen cherry-lime rickeys. Do it early (it takes at least 4 hours to freeze) and make a little sun tea as well. Both will make a day in the sprinkler (you are spending days in the sprinkler, aren’t you?) that much more special.
- Get out the bikes. (By which I mean get out the bikes.)Take a family bike ride that really goes somewhere, with kids on tag-a-longs if you have them, in seats, or wobbling along on their training wheels (in which case grown-ups might want to walk). Put them in or on the car to get them close enough to a favorite ice cream or candy shop and make it a destination–far enough to be a challenge for the youngest riders, not so far that you won’t be able to ride back.
- Head for the big water. If you’re within an hour of a beach, go for the sand; if river beaches and lakefronts are your local wet spots, try that. Take a picnic and put in a full day with buckets and floaties and sunscreen, then wrap up at a clam shack (oddly, even the lakes around here have clam shacks, so I imagine that’s true, if weird, everywhere). If you don’t have any ideas, try A Day’s Outing, or the A Day’s Outing iphone app. Both can point you towards local outdoor water fun.
- Try out a new sport. Borrow tennis rackets and find a free court, borrow kids golf clubs and head for the range.
- Jump off the high dive. You’ve been sitting by the side of the pool all summer, haven’t you? (I know I have.) Or catching jumpers in the deep end? Take off the sunglasses and the hat and show your kids your best cannonball, or go down the slide.
- Go star-gazing. Your backyard will do, but if you live in the city or suburbs, you won’t see as many stars as you will if you take an hours drive away from the lights. The Perseids, an annually occuring meteor shower, peak on August 12 this year. Sit outside after the sun has fully set (bug spray alert) and watch for “shooting stars.”
- Have someone take pictures. I bet you have a whole summer’s worth of snaps of the kids (on bikes, at the beach, with their popsicles) and not one with you in it, or maybe not one with your partner. Make a vow, now, that everywhere the family goes for the rest of the month, you’ll accost one stranger and ask her to take a family picture. You know you’ll be glad you did.
Do all of those things, or even a few, or look back at your own wish list from June and make sure August doesn’t run away from you the way July already has. Come September, maybe we’ll be pasting pictures into our kids’ school boxes and planning ahead, not looking back and wishing we’d done just a little bit more.