As much as I am pretty much already annoyed with summer, I’ve been thinking lately about how summer sucks for my kids compared to how it used to be in the way back, as in the way way back when I was a kid. Most of my favorite childhood memories have to do with summer, and when I think about ALL OF THE BEST times I had I realize that my own kids have done none of the things I did when I was young that were totally amaze and awesome and beyond fun. One thing I always try to do as a parent is create a sense of wonder and magic in my kid’s life, and I’m a firm believer in making memories. I think I do an excellent job of this on holidays and birthdays, but on a day to day basis – between work and housework and cooking and all those fun day to day reality tasks I’ve totally dropped the ball on shoving some magic into my kid’s summer.This changes now.
I don’t know how my own parents did it. Maybe it’s because things were different back then, we didn’t have tablets and apps and television channels devoted to non-stop children’s programming and I’m sure my parents had to be more creative in coming up with ways to amuse me and my sisters. But all I know is that my kids aren’t creating memories by plowing virtual farms or watching The Disney Channel. Yeah, we have a pool, and they love swimming but they are still missing out on so many things that I did as a kid that I’ve totally decided they also need to do.
So here are my new summer commandments. Let’s do this shiz.
My Kids Need To Make PopsiclesÂ
Do any of you remember Time For Timer or am I totally dating myself here? We did this all the time when I was little. No fancy Zoku popsicle makers when I was growing up, it was all ice cube trays and OJ and toothpicks. And it was the best. Yeah, Timer here may be a little dated and creepy (“Whatever turns you on” what?) but this was one of the funnest things to do ever.
Â My Kids Need A SprinklerÂ
And not just any sprinkler, but something absurd and goofy with tentacles that sprays water. Or a Slip N Slide. Yeah, I know they ruin your grass and are a bitch to keep clean and it will end up growing mold in the garage but there is nothing like running around in water on a sweltering day. I can even remember drinking out of a hose and how the VERY BEST WATER ON EARTH (no, it is not Evian, sorry) is HOSEY WATER. The way it has a vaguely mineral taste, how freezing cold it is coming straight from the spicket, man I love me some hosey water.
My Kids Need To Stay Outside Way Too Late PlayingÂ
Ghosts in the graveyard. Kick the bucket. Flashlight tag. TV tag. Growing up, all the adults used to sit outside drinking beer and talking while all of us kids made way too much noise after dark, running around and playing all these games. Is this even allowed anymore? Would neighbors call the cops on us if my kids were running around at ten at night? All I know is these spontaneous outside games after dark with neighborhood kids were some of the most fun times ever.
My Kids Need To Go To A Drive-in MovieÂ
Growing up we had this beat up old wood-panneled station wagon and my parents would put us all into our PJ’s and we would go to the drive-in. We would sit on the hood of the car with blankies and eat tons of popcorn and Milk-duds and it’s so sad there are so few drive-ins left. I think the closest one to us is about two hours away, but I can totally get a projector and screen some movies in my backyard. We did this last year and watched Super 8 projected onto my garage and my kids still talk about it. It basically cost no money except for treats and popcorn and the kids loooooooved it.
My Kids Need To Catch Something With A PoleÂ
I’m more of a frozen corn girl than a live bait girl, but my kids totally need to go fishing. They have never been. I don’t like eating fish, and we will probably throw back anything we catch, and I know it’s mean to fish and hook the poor little fishes and traumatize them just for amusement but I still want my kids to go fishing. Sitting on a dock or riding on a pontoon with a cooler full of drinks and fishing? SO much fun. Please don’t call PETA on me.
Â My Kids Need To Play PinballÂ
I grew up in bars. My parents owned bars when I was little, and my sisters and I could basically play pinball before we walked. A lot of my happiest memories involve pinball, and I think my own kids have maybe played once or twice. The trick is finding a bar that isn’t too scary, has machines, and allows kids. It will also hopefully have an amazing jukebox with everything from The Shirelles to Bowie to The Replacements on it. And decent tap beer. And a bartender who knows how to make a Shirley Temple. And really good french fries. Yeah, I’m that mom who will be totally trying to find a decent pinball bar with my kids this summer.
My Kids Need To Go To A Garage SaleÂ
Just as soon as I finish cleaning out and donating stuff from my own basement! I never brake for garage sales, but I’m going to start keeping cash on hand and letting my kids hunt for treasures because garage sales are so much fun for kids. My own parents always used to let us go to garage sales when I was a kid and having your own money and being allowed to pick out whatever you want from someone’s discarded stuff is magic time for kids. I’ll ban used stuffed animals but they can totally buy whatever else they want.
I can think of many other things I need to do with my kids (Sleeping outside! Grilling corn! Berry picking!) but I want to hear your ideas too. I can’t be the only parents who is getting bogged down by the day to day and remembering how much fun things used to be when I was a kid. And now I have a Slip N Slide to buy.