I took an unexpected blog break last week because of the death of my grandfather. He was a wonderful man whose passions were his faith, his family, and his farm. I grew up in a home that sat right beside my grandparents’ farm and they were both very involved in my childhood.
As I mourned my pappy last weekend, I reflected back on my childhood summers in the 70’s & 80’s that my brother and I spent roaming my grandparents’ farm land, swinging on a tractor tire swing in the hollow, and playing in a shallow stream that ran between our homes. We had idyllic summers of adventure–we were pirates on a tractor tire ship, we were archaeologists in the stream, and we ran a Kids’ Detective Agency to solve our neighbors’ pestering problems.
Our summers were spent outside. We took breaks for lunch and went back outside until dinner. If we were thirsty, we drank from my parents outdoor water hose without a second guess from our parents. (I would never let my kids do that today–EWWW!) We would come inside at the end of the day hungry, exhausted, and in desperate need of a bath.
TV wasn’t an option for summer entertainment for my brother & I, because we grew up before cable TV. We were allowed to watch reruns of Little House on the Prairie or The Waltons at 9 AM on summer mornings and then we were told to go play outside.
Our summers also weren’t over-scheduled and packed with too many activities. We participated with the library’s summer reading program and our church’s one week Vacation Bible School. We swam at the community pool several days a week with our friends. Summers were carefree and also cheap.
I want that same balance for my 2 girls. This summer, their only organized activities are 2 one week morning camps at the Y and a one week VBS. We took the summer off from organized sports and I don’t miss the constant chauffeuring. We cancelled cable TV back in March and while there is still the lure of Netflix, we are limiting TV to just one or two 1/2 hour shows a day either first thing in the morning or right before bed time. We joined the community pool to cool off in the evenings and catch up with school friends.
Our goal is a simple summer where the entertainment is easy to come by and doesn’t break the budget.
We’re roasting marshmallows for s’mores.
They’re running in the backyard sprinkler with neighborhood friends.
We’re visiting local playgrounds.
We’re taking family bike rides.
We’ll make homemade ice cream in a bag.
The kids are drawing with sidewalk chalk, catching fire-flies, camping out in the back yard, picnicking with friends, and so far are having a fun, old-fashioned, no screen-required summer.
How is your summer going so far? Let us know in the comments how your family is spending its summer.
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