Noelle Kirchner, M.Div., is a Presbyterian minister and mother of two boys. As they wrestle on the floor, she enjoys wrestling with her manuscripts. She writes for Huff Post Parents, the TODAY Show Parenting Team, and has been a repeat guest author at in(courage). You can find her on her blog, where she writes about faith and parenting, and on Twitter and Facebook.
At first glance, summer brings the basics. There's sunshine, a break from school schedules, and hopefully an adventure or two squeezed in there. But when I think about what I really want from summer, I want the chance to breathe, recoup from the rush, and enjoy some quality time with my family.
We all know there's power in goal setting. Have you set any goals for this summer? For me, rather than getting too lofty, I'm ready to set some simple goals for simple pleasures. These goals are courtesy of my upbringing on the Indiana prairie. While I now live in the New York metro area, I've never forgot them, and I don't want my children to miss out on them either.
Here are 8 simple activities on my bucket list for summer family fun:
1. A watermelon seed spitting contest in the backyard. Have your children spit where they'd like to see watermelons grow - they'll get a kick out of that. Seedless watermelons are not allowed!
2. Lying on the grass in the summer sun so that you can smell the earth - hot dirt and cut grass give off an aroma that's not to be missed.
3. Staying up late to watch (and catch) lighting bugs. I love the giggles from the legs that tickle as they crawl on hands and up fingers.
4. An evening trip to the ice cream store. Whether it's Dairy Queen or your favorite custard stand, these stores are a magical place for fond memories.
5. Covering the pavement in sidewalk chalk. The bigger the chalk, the better, and you can find giant chalk these days! Get ready to get bested by your children in a game of hopscotch.
6. Going to an outdoor music festival hand in hand with your spouse or significant other. There's something particularly relaxing about hearing live music and looking up at the stars - even if you're at a rock concert.
7. Joining the local library reading program. These programs are free, encourage reading together, and typically give away prizes that are the equivalent of gold in our children's eyes. This is an easy way to get our children excited about learning when the pressure is off!
8. Sit and really listen to the crickets at night. (Only quiet conversation allowed.)
Sometimes finding enjoyment and fulfillment isn't all that complicated, especially when you're with the ones you love. Will you join this Indiana girl this summer?
Note: I'm part of the Today Show Parenting Team! Click here to see my post there too and vote for me!