Families look forward to the summer season all year long. It’s a chance for everyone to recharge with family outings, gatherings with friends, vacations and days at the pool. You want more time for enjoying play, and a less strenuous schedule, while still keeping those young student minds sharp for the year to come. I have 7 really simple tips that can help:
For those mandatory scheduled activities, a shared calendar works wonders at keeping the whole family on track. My son and I like to use Google calendar. You can add color-coding for each family member so that it’s easy to read, and even print it and keep it on the fridge for easy access. This way everyone knows who should be where and when.
Make meal time a snap. You can make meals in the Crockpot that cook during the day and are ready for consumption when everyone arrives at home; this is also a great way to avoid the extra heat that comes from using the stove. Pre-made cold salads are always quick and easy, and something where the whole family can pitch in. And you could even subscribe to a monthly service, like NatureBox, that can help you keep handy and healthy snacks around at all times.
Organize “stay-cations” for your family. A vacation doesn’t always have to be far away from home! Take advantage of the beauty and culture that are in your backyard. For example, here in Maryland, we’ve got Ocean City and the National Harbor within driving distance. Pack the family up for a road trip that can span a weekend, for a quick getaway—or even longer if you can take the time away. Ocean City has beaches, but it’s also got a kid’s amusement park, lots of boardwalk fun, and yummy summer foods—and it’s just 2 ½ hours away from the DC/Baltimore area. The National Harbor has a fantastic farmer’s market, beautiful views and a laidback atmosphere.
Update your space. Summer is the perfect time to breathe some fresh life into your home. Adding brightly colored or patterned throw pillows and lanterns to your outdoor décor; starting a flower garden; adding a soft throw blanket to your couch; switching out your rugs; adding sweet scented candles; changing out your bedding; and updating your lighting are all easy and inexpensive ways to make your home feel like new.
Reorganize your closets. Move fall and winter wardrobe items out of your closet and store them away, so that it is less cluttered. This will allow you to clearly see all of your spring and summer items, as well as note what you and your family members have enough of and what you need to purchase. This is especially helpful for children who have grown since the last warm season.
Save money by finding free family events. There is free family fun to be had all over in the summer. Look for things like free events at the library, outdoor summer concert series, outdoor movie events, yoga in the park, parades, and fairs / festivals. You can find these events by signing up for emails from your local city or county cultural partnership (like Baltimore’s Downtown Partnership), or at the individual websites of the venues you would like to visit.
Keep young minds sharp by creating a reading challenge! Have family members all choose from a list of books they would like to read, at varying levels of difficulty, and then share insight from those books with each other. These can be written reports, or just great conversation for around the dinner table.
Do you already use some of these tips? What is your favorite way to keep things orderly, fashionable and fun during the summer?
Kim Jackson is a Baltimore-based blogger, integrated marketing specialist, stylist and writer. She has written style and beauty posts for websites including COCOTIQUE, Curly Nikki, the ‘Fro Fashion Week blog, Madame Noire and Carol’s Daughter’s Transitioning Movement. You can find her regularly writing tips for living a healthy, style-savvy and well-organized life at her site, Pish Posh Perfect.