Big Family Friday - Summer Activities

Summer is my favorite, and my least favorite, season of the year. It's my favorite because there are SO MANY things to do. It's my least favorite because it makes my kids crabby. The hot weather drains them and makes everyone act like WWIII is happening in our home. Even though my five year olds really shouldn't be taking a nap, it seems like that's what we'll be doing each day. Taking a break from the heat and enjoying a nice cool nap inside. (Yes, we spend most of the day outside. I love being outside, and I want my kids to learn that electronics aren't the be-all end-all of the universe.)

So I thought I would talk about the different summer activities we do as a big family.

The open field trail.
Our favorite thing to do is go for walks at different nature trails. There are three that we really like right now. One is woodsy and is part cement trail, part dirt trail. Another is a trail mowed out in a gigantic field that has a little bit of woodsy stuff, but is mostly open field. The last is a fully cemented trail that is just off one of the main roads by our house - part of it goes through a wooded area, and part of it is open and facing the street.

I think my favorite part of going for walks with the kids, is that they get to experience nature, and really SEE what it's all about. They get to find different kinds of plants, animals, and life cycles of all the things around them. At the open field trail, we found a plant I grew up calling "glue plants". They grew like crazy in the field behind my elementary school. They leak a white sticky substance out of their leaves. We have watched bats fly. They asked "why do we not see bats during the day", and that was a great opportunity to talk about how the bats sleep during the day and find food during the night. We have a few bat books at home that we were able to look at and reference all the things we talked about.

After 3 1/2 hours of screaming in the water.
Swimming is one of the things the kids ask me to do everyday. We have a small kiddie pool in the backyard, but they really want to go to the big pool. We are getting a pool pass so that we'll be able to go more often, because taking a family of 7 - 6 of which cost to get in - to the pool, gets pretty expensive. There is a really nice pool out here called "Black Bob Bay" that has a lazy river, two water slides, 4 diving boards, 2 gigantic pools, a kiddie pool, and a cool kiddie area that has a water slide for them. We really like this place - but it's $9 for adults and like $6 for kids to get in! So a pool pass is a must.

The only bad thing about the pool experience (for me) is that my youngest DOES NOT LIKE WATER! Water is the devil. I'm not kidding. We were at the pool for 3 1/2 hours on Memorial Day, and she spent the whole time crying. It didn't matter that mommy was holding her close, she screamed. Surprisingly, though, she didn't scream when she had to wear a lifejacket that almost choked her, so that we could ride on the inter-tubes in the lazy river. My favorite part of the pool - getting to watch my 3 year old learn to swim! She wore a lifejacket, and she swam her little booty off. It was great. I've yet to see the twins swim this year, but I'm looking forward to it. (They were with their GG when we went to the pool.) Our twelve year old, who used to be afraid of the water, is now a great swimmer. He even goes off the diving board! I did that recently, too, and that must have been a sight for everyone! EEK!

Zarek swinging.
The kids love playing baseball. We started teaching the twins how to play last year. Malaki is super good at it. Zarek is alright, but he's getting a lot better. Azariah... still isn't that great, but he claims he is better than everyone! The best of all, so far this year, Syleii! She hit the ball on the first pitch. She's never tried before. It was great to see her hit a ball like that. She hit it pretty far, too. This is a great activity to do because it takes so much energy for them to go after all the balls, and hitting is quite a feat.

Standing by an elephant tusk.
The zoo is a great place to go! A membership is well worth it. We can never cover the whole zoo in a day. The kids get worn out and grouchy, I get worn out and grouchy, and Corey gets tired of us all being worn out and grouchy. It's a pretty awesome situation. :) Seeing all the animals is a really great experience for the kids. There are so many conversations about the living environment the animals are in, the environment they should be in, and the differences. The thing the animals eat. The things the animals do. The things the animals should or shouldn't have around them. Are these animals nice, or violent? It's really a good learning experience, even if you aren't using it as a learning opportunity. Even without thought provoking conversations, they can learn so much. The babies, and little ones who can't talk, can enjoy it too!

Why are the turtles here so big, but we never see big turtles at home? Why are the geese here mean, but geese at a park have never tried to bite me? What does that animal eat? Why are the sheep in a dirt pin instead of a field? There are so many great questions that the kids ask, without even thinking about it being 'school'. I love learning opportunities.

The Lego man @ Crown Center.
Museums! There are so many different types of museums. Historical museums, creation museums, art museums, etc. I really like the idea of taking them to different museums throughout the year. We went to this really neat place called Kaleidoscope. It's not really a museum, but it seems like it to them. They get to create art, and it's got really cool art on the walls and all around the place. So to them it's sort of like an art museum where they get to create their own pieces of art. There is a museum in Missouri is for President Truman. I'm really excited to take them there. There is the house that he grew up in, and I believe there is a library in his name. I want to take them to both when we start talking about presidents. (They're only in Kindergarten right now, and a preschooler.)

I'm not sure if there is a Lego museum, but there is Lego Land. We've never been there, but there is a Lego man at Crown Center Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. They had a fun time trying to stand like him.

I'm sure there are a lot more things to do during the summer that I haven't mentioned here, especially in bigger cities that have more entertainment. I like to keep a lot of our stuff outside during the summer, but every now and again we need to be out of the heat.

What activities do you like to do as a big family during the summer?

Today I'm linking up for Big Family Friday. Make sure to check out these other posts!

1 comment: