Photos by Cherie Langlois
Sometime during my daughter Kelsey’s grade school years, she and I started a little end-of-the-school-year tradition called the Summer Fun List.
To kick off summer vacation, we would sit together at the computer and brainstorm a to-do list of enjoyable summer activities. We’d each take turns dreaming up maybe 25-30 ideas, typing each in a fun, different font.
After it was finished, we taped the list in a prominent place where we could refer to it often and check off the activities we’d done.
We seldom accomplished every single thing we’d listed, but no matter—looking back at the pen-struck list when school started in September helped us remember just how wonderful and action-packed our summer had been.
What kinds of things were on the list? All sorts, really, and of course it changed each year, although some favorites reappeared regularly. We tried to balance free activities (i.e. picking daisies) with ones that would cost money (seeing a summer flick), simple pleasures (blow bubbles) with the more complex (build a tree house), small dreams (go to the beach) with the big (take a trip to France).
Yesterday, following an afternoon crammed with farm chores, I crawled into our rainbow-colored hammock for the first time this summer. As I swung and gazed at the sky, it suddenly occurred to me that Kelsey and I hadn’t made our Summer Fun Lists during her last few years of high school.
This year I thought about it, and then promptly forgot again as her graduation swept us into summer in a crazy rush. Maybe she’s getting too old for such things anyway, I thought.
And then I thought, Swinging in this hammock is really fun, and made a little mental check-mark. Maybe we’re never too old for a Summer Fun List.
Here’s a sampling from our past lists to give you some ideas, in case you’d like to try making one with your kids. It’s definitely not too late—we still have plenty of summer left to go!
1. Pick blackberries.
2. Go to the zoo.
3. Take a bicycle ride on the rail trail.
4. Plant an herb garden.
5. Visit the farmer’s market.
6. Go to the county fair.
7. Make a rock and cement bird bath.
8. Go swimming (or run through the sprinkler).
9. Hike to Sheep Lake.
10. Read a good summer book (or two or three or…)