Marking the End of Summer

I know the official end of summer won’t come for a few weeks yet but school started here today so it feels like the end for at least anyone under five feet tall! But as kids go back to school and the gardens wind down it is good to mark the end of summer with some sort of activity. Time moves so quickly it seems like before we know we’ll be ringing in the New Year so I wanted to help us stop and enjoy the passage a little more slowly.

I’m as bad as anyone about always looking at the next day on the calendar or the next month! I’ve never been a “stop and smell the roses” type. Either I thought I’d miss something or opportunities would pass me by or most likely I’d forget something! But now that I’m on the farm, I’ve gotten much better about letting the world get in the way. When the deer come in at dusk or early in the morning when the hummingbirds come to the feeders outside the back door. We were coming home from a movie the other night and as we pulled up my rather long driveway a opossum was making a stroll between my yard and the neighbor’s. We stopped the car and watched it stroll along and then it stopped and watched us watch it for a moment before sauntering on. I spent about 20 minutes last summer watching a cicada shed it’s skin. It was marvelous.

But I digress. This is about how to mark the end of summer. I guess there are some very traditional ways:

  • beach trips
  • camp outs
  • bonfires
  • Amusement parks

I am talking about more introspective ways to mark the end of summer. More thought-provoking, more reflective. So I have come up with some ideas on how to move into autumn and say good-bye to summer.

  1. Write a letter – Did you have a great experience? Did something about summer  leave you wanting? Write about it. Sometimes that is hard to do so my suggestion is to write a letter. It doesn’t have to be to anyone you know. Or it could be to your celebrity crush! But it is easier if you’re not a great writer to have a person in mind when you write. Talk about what went right and what went wrong. Talk about what you wish had happened. Leave it all on the paper. Then use that bonfire to let it go to the universe.
  2. Take a walk – I don’t mean a hike as part of a camping trip. Taking a walk to say good-bye to the summer means spending some time by yourself outdoors to reflect on the summer and how you think and feel about the past three months. Also a time to “walk toward” or “walk away” from those things over this time that have or haven’t served you.
  3. Make a top 10 list with your children – Sit down with your family and make a list of the top 10 things that you loved about the summer. Sharing memories and stories about the good times you had always makes the less good memories fade away. Its a good way to close out the summer as a family.

These are just a few ideas to get your juices flowing. Hopefully you’ll think of some others that will help you send off summer in the best possible way. The point is that with school starting we rush into Fall and forget to honor the ease and bliss that is summer. Make sure that you take some time to do that and then hit the ground running!

Until next time,

Shannon

Outside Isn’t Punishment!

When did “getting” to go outside turn into “having” to go outside? When I was young we couldn’t wait to get outside. Now growing up in Ohio it seemed like winter lasted forever when I was young and sometimes bundling up to go out just wasn’t worth it. But doesn’t it seem like kids these days see going outside like going to the dentist? How do we change that? How do we help them see that outside isn’t punishment?

August loves the outdoors. It was a calming place for him. He’d spend hours outside just hanging out. Playing with sticks or rocks or bugs. I think that might have had something to do with not experiencing it much as a toddler. Or growing up 125 miles north of the Arctic circle! In any case,it wasn’t much of problem to get him to go out. Coming in was another story. That was until video games came long.

But there are ideas that can get your kids interested in the outdoors without coaxing or bribery. And maybe you all can have some fun times with these last few weeks of summer.

Bubbles
I know right? How on earth could bubbles draw a kid away from Minecraft? Well have you seen some of the ways you can make bubbles? It’s amazing what you can do! One of my favorite memories with August is with him in the bathtub with my grandmother. She would get her hands all soapy and blow big bubbles through her thumbs out the backs of her hands. Just with her hands. She said that’s how they did it in the olden days. And she said if you sat on a wool blanket the bubbles would come down and rest. They wouldn’t pop. Ah, such simple times.

But I cut out the middle of paper plates to make big bubble blowers, use string loops and put the blowers in front of fans to make tons of bubbles. You don’t have to spend a ton of money and get all the fancy motorized gizmos that wear out after one summer (or less!) For some bubble mix recipes and ideas, check this out. And try the wool blanket thing.

Outdoor Movies
Okay this might be cheating just a bit. But it’s still technically outside so it counts. I have a friend who regularly does a “Drive-way Drive-In”. He sets up a movie every weekend at his house and invites his neighbors over. A sheet on the garage door and a projector hooked to his computer and he’s in business. The projectors used to cost a fortune but now they’re very reasonable. You might even be able to borrow one from work! The grown-ups get some social time and it’s a kid-friendly movie so it works kind of like a neighborhood babysitter.

But you can make it much more active. Get out the sidewalk chalk and make a hopscotch board for before the movie starts. Let the kids run around and play flashlight tag during an “intermission”. There’s bound to be some wiggling and running around no matter what! If you’re an overachiever, checkout this amazing setup for movie night here.

Service Project
It’s possible there’s a senior citizen in your neighborhood that needs help with some yard work that’s more then they can manage. Maybe it’s weeding flower beds or raking leaves. Maybe it’s some painting or spreading mulch. Depending on the ages of your children and their abilities, you might be able to provide some help to a neighbor and spend the day outside. I found that August had absolutely no interest in helping out at our house but was incredibly generous and helpful at other people’s houses. When I was homeschooling him our church did a painting project at an elderly woman’s house and I took him. He worked like a trooper and never once complained.

I think the sooner and the more you can convince your kids that outside isn’t punishment, the more they will seek out opportunities to explore all that the outdoors has to offer. It’s a great big world and children should see as much of it as possible!

Until next time,

Shannon

Kids Get Bored on Sunny Days, Too.

So, it isn’t even July yet and you’ve done everything on the list you made that you thought would take you through the whole summer. All the crafts, all the workbooks, all the movies and all the visiting is over. And there’s still a month and more of summer left to go. What is the secret to keep RAD kiddos from using their own imaginations (which we know can spell disaster) to keep busy when boredom sets in? How do you bust summer boredom for RAD kiddos?

Short of having them re-grout the bathroom tile or get a job (which might be a bit harsh for your 10-year-old), once again it’s the Internet to the rescue. No, I don’t mean parking them in front of the computer for 10 hours a day. I don’t know how our mothers and grandmothers did it but there is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are wheels and wheels of ideas out there to keep your children moving and engaged. Whether you want to connect as a family or you just need them out of your hair for a while! I scrubbed some lists for you to find ideas that are RAD appropriate. I also pick ones that don’t require that you sign up for someone else’s blog e-mail list. That’s in case you aren’t even signed up to mine (which you should fix by the way!)

The first one is just a huge list of activities. You’ll have to put on your creativity hat for how to make a jar/box/container to store them. The thing I love about it is that the writer is British so the directions would sound hilarious to your children. Like, “Scoot round the block,” and “30 minutes with Mum” are sure to get a reaction. You can find that list here.

This next one is a little overboard for my craftiness level on the containers but I like how they were divided by topic. And she has a different theme for every day of the week. And the popsicle sticks she uses are very low budget (you can get them at a craft store…I see eating until I got the quantity I needed…). Check out her ideas here.

I’m mentioning one last one but I promise if none of these work for you, there are so many more out there.  This one I like for two reasons: they suggest sourcing popsicle sticks by eating the popsicles (they get me!) and they make two jars, one for inside activities and one for outside activities. So, you’re covered, rain or shine! Check this one out here.

One of the ideas that came up on several of these that I love was writing a letter to a relative living far away. Since healing for our RAD kiddos is all about making connections and actual letter writing is such a lost art these days that one really sticks out for me. How much would it mean to a grandparent to get a letter from your child? And maybe building the thinnest of strings with that letter may be the start of a connection. Boredom might be a great healer, who knows?

Don’t worry about remembering this post; I’m going to move all these links to my Resources page for one-stop shopping. You all have enough to deal with!

Until next time,

Shannon