Summer is here and I don't know about you, but I'm buzzing with excitement for the adventures that lie ahead. As we gear up for some sunny days and quality family time, I wanted to share seven things to make this summer extra special for you and your loved ones. This is what I'm keeping top of mind as I'm making plans. Get ready for a season filled with faith, fun, and maybe a few mosquito bites along the way!
Embrace the Great Outdoors
Summer means sun, sweat, and a chance to get the family off those screens and into nature. Take hikes in the woods, have picnics in the park (don't forget the bug spray), or simply stroll through your neighborhood like you own the place. It's a time to enjoy God's creation and let the kiddos have some freedom to discover.
In her inspiring book, "The Call of the Wild and Free," Ainsley Arment beautifully captures the importance of spending intentional time with our children in nature. She writes, "When we immerse ourselves in the natural world, we find ourselves surrounded by the evidence of God's artistry and the opportunity to connect with Him."
Spending time in nature also has numerous benefits for our well-being. Research shows that being in green spaces reduces stress, boosts our mood, and enhances our overall sense of well-being. Nature is like a free therapy session, and who doesn't want that? So, go ahead, embrace the great outdoors, and let the sunshine work its magic on your family.
I started following 1000 Hours Outside on IG last year. While I doubt we hit the thousand hour mark, I've been inspired by her movement for those who want a slower childhood and a fuller life. Check it out if I've sparked your interest!
Create a Personal Prayer Space
Picture this: a cozy corner in your home, filled with soft pillows, cute decor, and your kiddo in their happy place. It's their own little slice of heaven to escape the chaos and have a heart-to-heart with their Heavenly Father. Trust me, creating a prayer space is like discovering a hidden oasis in a desert of Legos and laundry.
Having a designated prayer space also creates a sacred environment for connecting with God. It's a place where they can find solace, seek guidance, and pour out their hearts in prayer. Whether it's a corner of their bedroom or a peaceful nook in the family room, make it a space that invites them to draw near to God and experience His presence.
Check out Prayer Space Kits or download a Free Digital Version to help you get started. Lots of design inspiration on the Pinterest page as well.
Summer is not only a time for outdoor adventures but also a perfect opportunity to dive into captivating stories as a family. Settle down in a cozy corner, grab a stack of books, and embark on the magical journey of family read-alongs. Whether it's classic tales, exciting adventures, or heartwarming stories, there's something for everyone.
As Sarah Mackenzie beautifully states in her book, "The Read-Aloud Family," "When we read aloud, we make a physical and emotional connection with our kids and, ultimately, help them to connect the dots between stories and life." Reading together not only enhances literacy skills but also strengthens family bonds and sparks meaningful conversations.
Choose books that resonate with your family's interests and values. Let each family member take turns reading aloud, or enjoy the enchanting narration of audiobooks together. Explore new worlds, learn valuable life lessons, and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. With each turn of the page, you'll be fostering a love for reading, nurturing imagination, and creating beautiful memories that will be treasured for years to come.
Family Devotional Time
Okay, I know what you're thinking. Wrangling the kids for a serious chat about faith sounds like herding cats. But trust me, it's worth it! Pick a time, gather everyone together, and dive into a scripture passage that speaks to your family. I've been seeing posts about 'Morning Baskets' or 'Morning Time' lately, it seems to be a big thing in the homeschool world. I've gleaned lots of great ideas from those awesome mamas and want to incorporate them into our summer mornings. It's a chance to bond, share stories, and ease into the day.
We're starting with the sibling Bible study from Not Consumed - love her studies!
Unleash Your Creativity with Handicrafts
Ready to unleash your inner Picasso? Engage your children in some crafty projects during those lazy summer afternoons. Break out the paint, glitter, and glue. Sure, things might get messy, but who needs a spotless house when you can have a rainbow of finger-painted masterpieces? Plus, handmade gifts are the best, even if your macaroni necklace skills are a bit rusty.
Research has shown that engaging in artistic activities promotes mental well-being and reduces stress levels. Creativity allows us to tap into our inner selves and express our emotions in a therapeutic and meaningful way. By involving your children in handicrafts, you not only encourage their creativity but also foster their appreciation for the beauty and creativity of God's design.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:10
Teach New Chores
Summer vacation doesn't mean the house runs itself. The wonderful world of chores must continue, but it's also the perfect time to tackle new chores while we have the extra time to teach them. Let your kiddo water plants, set the table, or maybe even tackle that ever-growing mountain of laundry. Sure, they might grumble a bit, but it's all about instilling responsibility and giving you a well-deserved break. Win-win!
Studies have shown that involving children in household chores from an early age has numerous benefits. It fosters a sense of competence and self-confidence, enhances their executive functioning skills, and teaches them important life skills that will serve them well in the future. By teaching them to contribute to the household, you are instilling values of responsibility and preparing them for adulthood.
Sports Camps and Outdoor Games
Sports are a BIG part of our family culture. Encourage your children to participate in sports camps or community sports leagues. Not only will they have a blast staying active and making new friends, but it's also an excellent opportunity for them to learn important values like teamwork, discipline, and perseverance. Plus, cheering them on from the sidelines is always a joy!
Engaging in sports and physical activities has numerous benefits for children's physical, mental, and emotional well-being. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, regular physical activity in children promotes healthy growth and development, improves cardiovascular fitness, and enhances cognitive function.
In conclusion, this summer, let's make it a priority to nurture our families' spiritual well-being, embrace the beauty of nature, create sacred spaces for prayer, engage in physical activities, explore our creative sides, and instill important life skills in our children. These simple yet meaningful ideas will help us cultivate deeper connections with our loved ones, grow in our faith, and create lasting memories.
Remember, summer is not just about ticking off items on a bucket list; it's about savoring the moments, growing together as a family, and seeking God's presence in every aspect of our lives. So, let's embark on this summer journey with joy, gratitude, and a heart full of love for our families and our Creator.
As we engage in family devotionals, embrace the great outdoors, create personal prayer spaces, participate in sports camps, unleash our creativity through handicrafts, and teach our children new chores, we are nurturing their minds, bodies, and spirits. Let this summer be a time of growth, laughter, and cherished moments as we make the most of these precious days with our loved ones.
So Mama, grab your sunscreen, your sense of humor, and let's make this summer one for the books—filled with laughter, love, and memories that will warm your heart for years to come.
Wishing you a summer filled with sunshine, laughter, and cherished memories!