Tuesday, July 30, 2013

summer cup time! easy thrills to put everyone at ease

it worked so well last year, i'm at it again this year. it's summer cup time! the red plastic drinking cups are being recycled for another year of "what's it gonna be?"-kind of fun. i'm even reusing most of the slips, although i dumped some and added others.

so far, we've flown kites, had a tea party, gone to a park (other than the normal park excursions, of course), and went for a hike on a new-to-us trail that led to a lovely little beach. new slips drawn so far this year have had us make our own volcano and sent the girls on a scavenger hunt. the last one was an homage to my own childhood summers. i still remember the summer that my mom and aunt sent us on a scavenger hunt, using clues in rhyme. i don't remember what was at the end, but i do remember thinking it was the coolest and funnest idea ever. my girls seemed to enjoy this year's simple hunt enough that it will definitely be an annual treat.

but also new this year are some momma-focused slips. things that remind me to slow down a bit and remind myself of just how good i have it (why do we always have to remind ourselves when it's so obvious?). these include slips that direct us to look at each of the girls' baby albums, as well as "look at mommy and daddy's wedding photos." the girls enjoyed this as much as i did.

another new slip was to each create a list of "5 Happies." this is something two of my high-school friends and i did together by passing a notebook back and forth, usually during our boring math class*. at the time, many of the happies went along the lines of "5 more minutes until math class is over" or "2 weeks to summer!"

*  (the school-lover in me requires this disclaimer: math is useful, beautiful and worth your effort, kids!)
when my daughter drew the "5 Happies" slip, i was curious to see what she and her sister would come up with. appropriately, they both listed their own names as things that they were thankful for or that made them happy. my youngest, who has a habit of drawing all over the furniture and her own body parts, dictated "markers" as one of her happies. my eldest, surrounded by her favorite stories in our home library, listed "books." we had just visited my grandmother, and the comfort of being doted on was fresh in my spirit, so "Nana's soup" made my list, as well as "a willow tree outside the window."

these for-me slips have proven to be peaceful interludes to what is more often an upbeat activity to fill our summer and make our times together more fun and fulfilling. goodness knows a parent like me appreciates those moments of peace, and the reminder of how awesome it is to spend a summer with my young kids -- and it's not even over yet!

what fun activities are helping your family celebrate summer? share your best and easiest ideas in the comments. let's help each other make this last month the best month of a sun-filled interlude, yes?