When my husband and I were first married, we received advice from a mentor that changed the way I see summer forever.
He said that he and his wife saved for years to take their kids on the ultimate California vacation. Spending thousands of dollars on hotels, resorts, souvenirs and everything that was expected in such a trip. They had a good time.
But do you know what his kids (now fully grown) talk about when they get together? The time they went camping and their dad fell in the lake. They laugh and reminiscence about how he plopped right in as he was trying to teach them to fish. They talk about the hiking, the cramming into a tent that really should have only slept four. The s’mores around the campfire. The late-night talks. For them, that trip was magical.
Boiling it all down, I took his advice to mean: To have magical family time- You. Do. Not. Need. To. Spend. A. Dime. His camping trip only cost him gas money. (I guess that is spending a dime… but you get the idea.) 🙂
So nope, money is not the secret ingredient to the most magical, childhood-making summer ever. (Thank goodness, right?) But there is something that will ignite the spark and fan the flame to epic, story-producing summers.
The Secret Ingredient: Doing things out-of-the-ordinary. Unusual. Unconventional. Special. Strange. Off the beaten path.
Think about it- why are vacations so fun? They change our location. We do new things. We get a break from the monotony. They’re out of the ordinary, unusual, unconventional, special, off the beaten path.
Why are movie nights so exciting? They change our routine. We lounge in pajamas, act a bit lazy. A break from the ordinary. They’re special.
I’m convinced the secret to a magical summer is doing as many things as possible that are out-of-the-ordinary. Even the small things. They all add up.
So far this summer, our most magical moment has happened when we ate dinner in the backyard and then played UNO until it got dark. The whole evening was a break from the ordinary- dinner outside, no outside commitments, game night by starlight, no bedtime. The kids were on cloud nine.
I’d say it was magical.
What could you do to break the ordinary cycle of things to create magic this summer?
- Eat dinner outside
- Stay up late
- Sleep in
- Sleep in a tent in the living room
- Visit new local places
- Try a new park. Create a challenge to visit every park in your city
- Give kids a chore-free day
- Have tons of friends over (or if that’s normal for you, don’t have any friends over and just enjoy your own crew)
- Bring a music speaker outside and blast it while everyone draws with chalk
- Be brave and let them get filthy- make a mud pit in the backyard
- Move toys to a new location in the house (This one is seriously a lifesaver for me. It makes things fresh and fun. Don’t be afraid to plop fun toys right on the kitchen floor. They’ll love it!)
- Wake your kids up early to have a movie night in the morning
- Instead of driving, walk or ride bikes to get a snow cone
- Include your kids one of your favorite hobbies
- Lay on blankets looking at the stars or clouds
- Let your kids run around in swim suits all day
- Concerts in the park
The possibilities are endless. Just start with your normal routine and add some out-of-the-ordinary flair.
What do you think is the secret ingredient for a magical summer?