The other day I was catching up with a girlfriend on the phone. She told me about her summer so far with her daughter Megan. She shared that Megan was creating her summer bucket list. Her bucket list consisted of all the cool things she wanted to do to make her summer fun and memorable. Mom, of course, had some of her own ideas of creating fun, like driving a dune buggy in the Michigan Dunes!
So often, as families, we think and talk about all the fun we want to have, but then sometimes life gets in the way. We fall into our daily routines and before you know it, summer is over. When it’s time to go back to school, we scratch our heads and wonder “Where did the time go?” This summer can be different if you focus on these five ideas.
1. Rearrange your priorities
When you summer vacation began, what did you want summer to look like for you and your family? What are your priorities? If your priority is not family fun, chances are you won’t experience much family fun. You must set an intention to create exactly what you want to experience together as a family.
Place a lower priority on other things for the summer because it’s not likely that you can have it all – a perfectly clean house, a thriving career, a great body, a super sizzling marriage, and loads of family fun. It’s okay if some areas of your life take a backburner, or if you learn to integrate these areas into having fun as a family. For example, you could plan fun family exercise or weekend getaways that have child activities while you sneak away with your hubby.
2. Plan and schedule
I absolutely love the idea of creating a family summer bucket list. Find out what everyone in the family wants to do this summer. Add all your ideas to a collective list. Get out the family calendar and start scheduling your fun! You can plan simple activities like water balloon fights and making homemade snow cones, or something more elaborate like a 4th of July kids’ party.
It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you make plans in advance. Family fun is more likely to take place when it is scheduled, and it gives everyone something to look forward to.
3. Be creative and spontaneous
Leave room in your schedule to be creative and spontaneous! Whenever a whim hits you or your children, act on it. My son and I were grocery shopping the other day when he saw a colorful container of red, white and blue sprinkles and colored sugar to decorate cookies and cakes. On a whim, he wanted to buy it. He was only interested in the sprinkles and colored sugar, but I turned it into a fun project for him and his babysitter. I bought the red, white and blue cake mix with the red icing and suggested he and his babysitter make cupcakes. When I came home, they were so excited about the beautifully decorated cupcakes they had made. I enjoyed the pictures they took showing how much fun they had (and indulged in one of those scrumptious cupcakes). Don’t be afraid to break the schedule, be spontaneous and have a whimsical day with the kids!
4. Add a little adventure
For some individuals, this can be a little scary. But I dare you to try something different this summer. Stretch yourself and your kids out of their comfort zone, just a little, and see what kind of fun you can have doing something you’ve never done before. You don’t have to jump out of an airplane, or bungee jump (unless you want to). What have you always wanted to do, but felt a little apprehensive about doing? Try it just for the thrill of it! You may not like it, but at least you can say you tried. It will give you and your family something to talk about for years to come.
5. Drink in every moment
If you are at the pool or baking a cake with your kids and your mind is in another place, you’ll miss out on the fun. Be present with your family. Take in every moment – the laughter, smiles, whining, tears, joy, screaming, all of it. It’s all part of your life.
Capture those moments in your heart, on video, on film, or in a journal. They are precious because you will never get that moment back again. Live your summer as if it’s your last summer with your family. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
What’s on your family’s bucket list this summer?