When you’re a parent, it feels like the years go by at the speed of light.
It seems like just yesterday we were buying new school supplies and meeting our child’s teacher, and here we are at the end of another year.
While it may be hard for parents to see the end of the school year and the beginning of another new chapter (and, wait, they’ll be home all summer?!!!), it’s time to celebrate with some fun activities your kids are sure to remember.
Sometimes, kids are just like us.
It’s hard to get up in the morning. It’s hard to do something we don’t want to do when we’d rather be watching TV at the end of the day. It’s hard to pay attention when we’d like to daydream instead.
And even though parents think, “oh, it would be so nice to be a carefree kid again,” your child has worked hard all year.
So why not celebrate their achievements and let them know that you notice and appreciate everything they had to do during the school year?
There are so many ways to make memories and create traditions.
Some can be concrete and kept as keepsakes; some are just fun celebrations that will live on as memories and embarrassing photos; all of them will someday be cherished by you and your grown kids.
Annual “interview” – On the last day of school, sit down with your child and ask them a couple of questions. Young kids can dictate their answers to you, and later, write them out on their own. Use the same questions each year, like “What was your favorite part of school this year? What was your favorite lunch? Who were your friends this year?”
Keep these “interviews” and read them together each year, or even more special, present them in a “book” when your child graduates from high school.
Project book – Okay, we all know we’d love to keep every single thing the kids make in school each year, but after a while, it just isn’t possible.
To solve the project pile-up problem, sit down with your child after the end of each school year and go through all the assignments you’ve saved. Ask them how they came up with their ideas and what they liked about that particular project. Allow them to help you choose the most important ones and keep them in a folder or box to save.
Another great clutter-busting tip when you can’t bear to part with their artwork is to take a picture of each project (or your child holding each one) and take a photo-album that takes up far less space than saving the actual projects themselves.
Label the projects or photos by year and see how their talents and interests change over time!
First and last day of school keepsake – Along the same lines as the interview idea, grab a small chalkboard from the craft store and write your child’s age, date, and goals on the board and take a photo of them holding it.
Do this on both the first and last day of school to compare how much they’ve grown and how their goals have developed over the course of the year.
Last day of school box – It’s time to celebrate, so gather some craft supplies, puzzles, and outdoor games and let your child let loose!
Get creative and draw murals on the driveway, run through the sprinkler, make homemade popsicles or ice cream, or have the kids make their own pinata ahead of time to fill with treats and open once that last bell rings for the year.
And the more, the merrier. Invite classmates or the neighborhood kids and help everyone say hello to summer!
Summer “bucket list” – Grab a small pad of paper at the office supply store, sit at the table with the kids, and plan one small thing for each day of summer vacation.
Write one idea on each slip of paper, fold them up, and put them in a plastic sand bucket from the dollar store.
Most of the ideas can be easy and simple like, read a book, have a picnic in the backyard, go for a family walk, or make s’mores. Even if your kids are in childcare during the summer, these quick ideas can be done in the evening as something the whole family can look forward to.
If you are home with the kids over the summer, you may have the flexibility to add some that are more complex like, go to a museum, the zoo, the library, or another destination close-by, or go see a movie, get ice cream, or have a day at the pool.
Once everyone has contributed to the list of activities, take turns choosing one each day (no peeking!).
This is a fun activity for the kids, gives mom and dad some ideas with which to fill those long summer days, and allows everyone to be a little spontaneous.
Celebrating the last day of school can be as easy as having a cookout with your family and talking about the memories from the last year.
Or it can be a big celebration where you have a party for all of your child’s classmates, playing backyard games and eating fun treats.
Each year is special, and they go by all too fast.
You probably recognize this now, and someday, we promise, your kids will be happy that you held onto things they may just want to forget now that summer is here.
Enjoy the long, lazy days of summer by sharing old memories and making new ones.
(h/t Mommy Underground)