Nearly a year ago my kids and I were heading into a summer without my husband around for a lot of it and I knew that I would be expected to be the entertainer and good times Mom. I didn’t want to be the Mom that was constantly begging for a moment of peace and quiet and had already used the phrase, “Only boring people get bored” at least 20 times. I started thinking about all the things that we could do and told them that we were going to challenge ourselves over the summer.
We sat down together for just under an hour and made “101 Things to Do This Summer.” It made us think about all the things we usually do, about things we had always wanted to try and we also did some internet research about what was around that we had no idea about. We then made our list and posted in on our kitchen wall. We had the time of our lives checking things off, taking on new adventures and doing some old favourites.
While I am not going to say that we did everything on the list or that my kids completely stopped complaining about being bored, it did teach us all that it is about the journey rather than the destination and it did reduce the talk about there being nothing to do. We have been making these lists ever since and it has really transformed holidays, winters and summers. We now have short term goals, things to look forward to and challenges to complete.
Bike ride together: get out the bikes and discover your neighbourhood. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it.
Jump on a trampoline: on a hot day, set up a sprinkler under the trampoline for a cooling experience.
Canoe: enjoy the calming effect of paddling on cool waters.
Go a day without complaining: for every complaint, challenge yourself to think of 3 positives.
Do a random act of kindness each week: watch a wave of kindness ripple through your family and community.
Read 10 books: have your own family book club and discuss what you are reading at dinner time.
Watermelon seed spitting contest: get silly and see who can spit a seed the farthest in your backyard.
Write a letter to someone: relatives and far away friends will be thrilled to receive a handwritten letter in the mail.
Have a movie marathon: what could be better on a rainy day than making a bed on the floor and snuggling while you watch your favourite movie franchise?
Camp with friends: head out into the great outdoors even if it is just in your own backyard.
Paint a picture: take an easel or painting pad out in the backyard or local park and capture the beauty of the season.
Have breakfast for dinner: fry up an egg, bacon, pancakes and sausage on the stove or on the BBQ for a new take on dinner.
Go to a waterpark: take a trip to a waterpark, paddling pool or splash pad or set up your own wet obstacle course in the backyard.
Have a picnic: head out to a local park, set up a picnic blanket in your backyard or in the middle of the living room floor on a rainy day.
Go to a drive-in movie: get your pyjamas on and pile in the car to watch a family movie on the big screen.
Go fly a kite: make your own with a plastic bag.
Plant flowers: turn those ‘gamer’s thumbs’ into green thumbs and head outdoors to plant perennials that will bring beauty to your yard year after year.
Grow a vegetable and then eat it: grow your favourite veggies or try something more exotic then enjoy the freshness of the bounty.
Go for ice cream: pick up a cone and take a walk through a park or in your neighbourhood.
Run a 5km race: take part in a local run or set your own course and invite friends to join you.
Take a photo a day: document your summer by taking a photo a day of activities, places you visit or how much your children are growing. Scrapbook the photos or share online for friends and family to enjoy.
Horseback ride: visit a riding stable or create hobby horses with a broom and crafting material and race around the backyard.
Play in the rain: whether you put on a raincoat, hat and boots or go out in your bathing suits, splashing in puddles makes happy memories.
Go to a camp: find a day camp at your local church, library or community centre or spend a week at an ‘away camp’. Check out family camps for a new experience.
Go to a beach: pack a lunch and spend the day at a local beach. Bring along your frisbees, snorkelling gear, pails and shovels but don’t forget the sunscreen.
Get a slushy: buy a slushy or make your own with a Zoku featured in our Summer Picks feature.
Make a mini-movie: remake a classic or write your own script. Costumes and sets are a must too.
Learn to skateboard: suit up in protective gear and hit the driveway to practice your moves. By the end of the summer, you may progress to jumps.
Visit a market: grab a basket and visit your local farmers market. Make a meal or have a picnic with your purchases.
Pick strawberries: whether from your own garden or a local farm, fresh strawberries can’t be beat.
Go to an outdoor concert: check out events online or in your local newspaper. Take along chairs, a picnic blanket and snacks but don’t forget the bug spray.
Build a fort: whether in your yard or living room, build your own hideout and escape for an afternoon.
Get a pedicure: visit a salon or shop for fun nail polish colours and do your own. Try adding decals for a fun look.
Roll down a grassy hill: don’t worry about the grass stains but check the hill for dangerous objects. Guaranteed laughter!
Have a lego building contest: dump a bucket and see what you can create in 20 minutes.
Blow bubbles: mix 1/2 cup dishwashing liquid with 2 cups water and 2 tsp. sugar.
Finally, my advice is to include a healthy mix of things you were going to do anyway, things that don’t need you to do, things that you’ve always wanted to do, things that are affordable and things you will make memories doing.
Let the adventures begin!