You all, I am so excited about my first guest blogger for my Summer Fun series! Tonya Skyles is a wife and mother of three (we have a little bit in common) and she lives here in southern Missouri as well. Her and her sweet husband Adam have a two boys, who are 8 and 2, and a little girl who is six. Tonya is someone I admire so much for her honesty and transparency in motherhood, and in her faith walk. She doesn’t fill her time with a bunch of fluff, she just does this life with dignity and grace, and I think that is something we can all appreciate. Tonya is going to share with you all some very helpful and practical things to do with your family to stay connected this summer and to make sure you are soaking up every last minute of the kids’ summer break.
This summer I am making it a point to connect with my kids as much as possible. In past summers I have always had big plans of everything I’m going to do with them and the next thing I know school is starting back up and we spent our summer going from one activity to another, from one trip to another, but not really connecting with each other. I would fill my summer days entertaining my kids but never really being a part of it. I let them watch tv but I wouldn’t sit in there with them. I would give them a summer treat but not go and eat one with them. I would set up activities for them outside but not go and join the fun. This summer will be different. The reality of how fast the time goes by is sinking in for me. Our kids are only little for a small amount of time and then they won’t want to be hanging out with us during their summer vacation. Let’s soak up all the time we have with them.
I want to share some things with you I will be actually doing with my kids this summer to connect with them.
Quality One on One: This has been something my husband and I have recently started doing with our older children to spend one on one time with them. We do the same bed time routine every night and after bed time stories one parent will spend 10 minutes with one child. The child gets to pick whatever they want to do with you, but no electronics. A few ideas are playing tag, reading a book, painting or drawing pictures, playing with toys, or playing a quick board game. My kids love playing this game called Soggy Doggy and it goes by pretty quick which is perfect for this time frame. This one change has been so great for all of us.
Sensory Activities: One thing I did with my kids recently was I filled bowls and buckets with soap and water. I made sure to get lots of bubbles on the top, added food coloring or liquid water color, and I gave them funnels, cups, and toys. So simple and so much fun. Make oobleck- it is a mixture of 2 parts corn starch with 1 part water, again add some food coloring or liquid water color. This stuff is so neat, it’s not quite liquid and not quite solid. You just have to see it to believe it. Quick tip, if you leave it out overnight or for a few hours to dry out, it is an easy clean up or you can add more water to revive it.
Family Activities: What is summer without popsicles and ice cream sandwiches? Maybe try making homemade ice cream or make an at home blizzard treat. Buy any ice cream you want with your favorite add-ins, mix the ice cream a bit in your KitchenAid mixer until it gets creamy, add your treats in and let mix for just a little longer, then enjoy! Don’t forget to make s’mores. If you aren’t up for a fire or don’t have a gas stove, broil the marshmallows in the oven. It only takes a few minutes so keep an eye on them. Set up a tent in your backyard and camp outside. My husband normally does this with our older kids and they love it. We will roast hot dogs, make some s’mores, and they spend the night in the tent. Go buy a pack or two of Bunch O Balloons (they are self-tying water balloons) and have a family water balloon fight or you can buy water shooter sticks; fill up a bucket with water for an easy refilling station and see how much you can soak your kids.
These are some of the things we will be doing this summer but the main thing I want to remember is to slow down and be in the moment with my kids as much as possible.
I hope this gives you some ideas to connect with your children this summer or inspired some ideas of your own.