From sometime in the 1990s
"I’m bored. There's nothing to do." Have you heard that yet?
"I can't wait for them to go back to school."
Have you said that yet? In just a few weeks, the big yellow buses will lumber around the corner again and the secular press wi11 be full of predictable columns about parents who are so relieved that summer is finally over. Before it’s too late, take some time to take advantage of the relaxed nature of the season and the warm weather to make some memories. Here are some ideas to get you started:
— Go for a pajama ride. This one comes from the home of Len and Barbara Rice, who surprise their kids by hustling them out of bed, pajamas and all, shortly after lights out to go on an adventure. The Rices have done pajama rides in the dead of winter (once to get a guinea pig they named Valentine), but there is certainly an advantage to summer rides. In the Foss household, pajama rides are in the morning. We get everyone up early and take them to breakfast in their pajamas. Obviously, we make sure that pajamas are suitable for the occasion before they go to bed.
— Give baths outside. This only works if your children are very little. Fill the wading pool, grab the shampoo and avoid the bathtime mess indoors. They will get just as clean with the hose outside and it wil1 be a treat instead of a chore.
— Go to a yard sale or flea market. Give your children each a dollar and set out early on a Saturday morning. A dollar is plenty to find a treasure, and children love the thrill of the hunt. You may find something good, too. If you have an aversion to yard sales and don’t care to recycle someone else’s junk, go to a farmer's market. This is really a case where the early bird gets the worm. Be sure to buy fruit and go home to make cobbler for breakfast.
— Go to a duck pond or park and let them feed the birds. When I was in high school, a girl my age came from New Mexico to spend a couple of weeks with me in the summer. She had never been east before, and she commented daily on how green my world was. I have never forgotten her awe at the landscape I took for granted. There are beautiful parks in this area; take advantage of them. Enjoy the trees and the water and give voice to the wonder of God's handiwork.
— Go to a museum or art gallery. On a day that is too hot to commune with nature, when you are tiring of the same pool routine, play tourist in Washington. The museums are very cool, both literally and figuratively. They are wonderful places to find something of interest for varied ages, and we locals tend to overlook them. If it is a hot day, you might want forego the zoo until the fall. My children refuse to go in the heat because they can't stand the smell.
— Go for a walk before sunrise or after dark. We have done a lot of walking this summer. I can take up to two children under 50 pounds each in a double jogging stroller, and they lobby for position. My oldest child, who is ineligible for a ride, loves to run bulge me. For the little kids this is often a pajama ride. We walk at a pretty fast pace, but not too fast to talk. The quiet of that time of day and the rhythm of the wheels seem to inspire conversation. Nighttime walks are nice for stargazing,
Finally, go camping. If you have never camped before, I strongly recommend a tent in the backyard or a nearby park. Keep it simple. According to my five-year-old, the only essentials are that you sleep on the ground and you roast marshmallows. Chances are, this idea and the others will only be the beginning. Your family will add its own embellishments and some summertime tradition. will be born. You might even find yourself wishing that the big yellow bus hold off just a little longer.