Ah, it’s summer! I love summer. I love the warmth, I love the projects, I love the extra long days and more time together as a family, I love the flexible days, I love the freedoms in our days that come from summer.
But, it’s the beginning of the season and so like my kids experience each season – it’s fun, it’s new and it’s exciting. Then a month in…you are wanting a new season and a new season NOW!
So, each year, I try to get smarter and smarter on how to capitalize on the benefits of summer, keep everyone busy and keep the excitement alive too.
We are not a video game family and because our businesses and “work life” is online, we really try to lay off the media as much as possible. But especially in the summer. My kids are only allowed to watch a 30 minute show each day. Most of the time, they take it at the end of a fun, outdoor play filled day while I am preparing dinner.
The weekends in the summer are pure awesome! We have many fun road trips and adventures planned. But it is the weekdays that can become mundane and long.
So, during the week, I have created these money making task charts.
Once the kids move through one, I refill it. Many of the tasks are yard work related. It keeps them out of the house, into the sunshine and fresh air, earning money, learning responsibility and staying away from media. Not to mention, with 3 older kids, things are getting done around here this year!
But, they also can’t work all day. And they don’t! They spend a couple of hours doing some tasks around our home to earn some extra money. Grandma and grandpa have also employed them for many tasks this summer as well.
So what to do with the rest of the day?
Well, that’s where I have grown to LOVE the free splash pads in our area. My kids love water, they love to swim, they love to get wet in this 90 degree+ weather!
They would love to live at the community swimming pool. But the swimming pool is a nightmare for me. I have 3 older, more responsible kids, but I still am not comfortable with just letting them run free through the pool. In addition, I have 3 small children (including a baby). The pool is one of my worst nightmares, especially when we are talking about secondary drownings.
A couple of years ago, our local park put in a very nice splash pad. My kids love it.
Over the past couple of summers, we went a handful of times. Well, this year, we’ve already been a few and it only opened up on Memorial Day weekend.
However, I have grown to love this activity:
- It is free
- It is refreshing
- It satisfies the swimming bug
- It is much safer and far less stress with no “pools” of water
- It is relaxing for me
- It is exciting
- It is perfect for the summer
And it is so perfect, that this will be our permanent fun spot in the summer during these long summer weekdays.
The actual swimming pool can be reserved for our fun road trips where dad is here to help me buffer and care for them all – but for now, my kids beg to go to the splash pad after their couple of hours of work. I am totally okay with it!
In fact, it forces me to get away from home and take a summer break too! When I am at home even on summer vacation, I never experience a break between projects around the house, online businesses and being the wife and mom.
So when we go, I get to lounge, sit and play with my baby, read and enjoy my time in the sun.
I do find that I have to have the sun umbrella. I picked one up at Sam’s Club for $35 – best summer investment! I can sit out there with baby nice and cool without getting wet and the kids can come under for a break from the sun and water too. I take this, water, snacks, sometimes picnic lunch and they are happy for hours!
It really has been so nice! And in our area, there’s one of these new fancy splash pads about every 3-4 miles in all directions. So we are going to try out and explore lots of different splash pads for free summer fun.
I am telling you about this because we have heard that splash pads are all the rage in public parks across the country. They have really popped up everywhere in the past 2-3 years. You very well may have one practically in your backyard. You may find it to be quite a satisfying and relaxing experience for your whole family too!
Don’t forget the homemade sunscreen, the snacks and water and you will have the time of your lives!
The SportBrella mentioned above that I bought at Sam’s Club is sold out online
but your local one may still have them. If not, you can check Costco or Amazon also has a number of sun umbrellas too! Seriously, this was totally worth the investment of $35ish and we have already used it for more than just the splash pads!