Summer is here!! Anyone who knows me knows that I am huge summer enthusiast.  It helps that I work a teacher’s schedule so I am work-free for the summer but even before I was blessed with summers off I still loved summer. I come alive with the warmth, the sun, and the freedom from our normal daily marathons of school, activities, homework, and sports.

I understand that I am extremely lucky to have a career that allows me to be home with my kids all summer. So many working parents look at the looming summer months on the calendar with a mix of dread and anxiety as they attempt to find childcare (and some fun) for their kids while they continue to work.  I feel for you all and I wish you luck as you look to balance your childcare needs and financial situations with some fun. We all deserve a little fun in the summer, right?

Get Outside. Go for a walk or a run before work with or without the kids. It’s nice and bright early in the summers and, for me, a quiet morning run through dew covered neighborhoods is the perfect way to start my summer days. Grill and eat lunches or dinners outdoors. Build or buy a fire pit for your yard and make s’mores at least one evening a week. Whenever you are home with the children, shoo them outside! I grew up spending every summer day outside, all day. My mother was constantly kicking me out of the house to “go play” and play we did. Get out the sidewalk chalk, the bubbles, the sprinkler, and every ball you may have. Walk to local playgrounds or find a school with an outdoor basketball hoop. Get out an inflatable pool and a hose, find a community (or friend or family member’s pool), visit a splash pad. Go to the beach often if you live in a beach town. Visit one of our state parks. CT has state parks on the beach and others that are great places for some hikes in the woods. Get outside and find some fun.

Teach something, learn something, or create something. Take the kids to your public library, pick a topic of interest, and learn something! While you’re there, pick up a discounted pass to one of CT’s many museums, zoos, and aquariums and spend the day wandering through them seeing new things and learning new things. Visit a local dollar store and fill your cart with art supplies. If I give my kids a large “mess zone” and craft supplies they will “craft” for hours. My youngest had an on-going “masterpiece” as she called it last summer. She kept finding things to add to it–leaves, buttons, stickers. It was fantastic. My middle daughter will spend hours with legos and other building toys to create inventions and simple machines. Give your kids practically anything, a big space to create, and see what you may get!

Say Yes. One of my goals during the summer is to say “Yes” to my kids as often as feasible. Ice cream before dinner? Sure. An extra hour in the pool instead of bath and bed? Ok. Pancakes with extra chocolate chips for breakfast? Yes. Three mornings in a row? Fine. Invite a friend over for the day..and night? Why not. My children work hard throughout the school year. They are busy with school, homework, sports, routines, and events. Way too often I have to say “no” to my kids so summertime is the time for “yes”. Simply saying “yes” is most often the easiest way to be sure my kids have fun.

Be sure to find some fun this summer. It’s the best season of the year (in my very biased opinion)!