This past week, I watched as the yellow school buses drove by to pick up students early. As a retired teacher, I knew early
dismissal on this day meant school is out and it is time for summer.
As a teacher, I had mixed feelings when school was out. My little classroom of students and their families had become my
family for a whole year. I was certainly going to miss the morning greetings and hugs my students had extended to me
throughout the year.
I can remember each class I taught in the many years God provided me in the classroom; I had always bonded with my
As a teacher, when you see the school bus pull away with waves, kisses and hugs, in my heart I remember praying, “Lord, as
a teacher, I have tried to teach each student what they need to know during this past year. But the main thing I want my
students to carry with them is that I love them.”
I deeply appreciate the preschools and K1 centers in Lee County inviting retired teachers and grandparents to keep reaching
out to young children as volunteers in intergenerational outreach. I can remember the concerns I had for some of my students
and families regarding how they would spend their summer, so that is why I want to share a “bucket list” of some ideas I have
presented in the past, as well as some new ideas to help families with young children enjoy this summer.
Our community offers so many adventures that are free or at minimal costs for families. Auburn and Opelika’s libraries offer
many exciting activities for all ages. Check out their calendars online. I see on Opelika Public Library’s website that they are
having a Summer Library Adventure Kickoff this Saturday, June 3, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the library’s back porch.
Our local churches are offering Vacation Bible Schools that are full of learning, fun and fellowship for your child. Vacation
Bible Schools offer wonderful opportunities to meet new friends, as well as plenty of entertaining plays and programs for your
child to learn valuable lessons from the Bible. Singing and acting out songs, making crafts during art time, enjoying delicious
snacks and other fun, recreational activities are things you and your child will cherish forever. Check in with local churches to
see when their Vacation Bible School programs are scheduled. A lot of planning and loving hearts go into offering wonderful
programs to your children.
As we know, one of the most popular parts of summer fun is to get wet. Don’t fret if you don’t live near a pool or beach; you
can still have a whole lot of fun just getting wet. Children love running through sprinklers. Purchasing inexpensive wading
pools and slip-and-slides provides hours of fun as well. When the weather is safe with no lightning or thunder, playing in the
rain is so much fun to do in the summer. I love to see young children squeal with delight as they jump in water puddles after
the rain. Going to a local pool or water park is always fun as well.
Having your children help you prepare a family picnic is another fun activity to do during the summer. We have so many
beautiful parks in our community for families to enjoy “together time.”
Having a family favorite video night shown inside or outside with popcorn and favorite snacks provides hours of family
Having a family game night by pulling out your family’s favorite board games such as Boggle, checkers, puzzles, etc.,
brings families together.
It is fun and simple to camp out in your backyard looking at the stars and sky, hearing the sounds of summer and just being
Cooking out hot dogs and S’mores is such a treat, too. And a tent can be set up inside your home if the weather does not
permit you to camp outside.
I would like to share with families some more simple, bucket-list ideas that I have gleaned from moms and fun summer
ideas from other resources that I truly hope will make the start of your summer a treasure.
- Make chalk drawings out on the sidewalk or driveway.
- Make sun-catchers; these can be found in dollar stores.
- Blow bubbles.
- Pick wildflowers.
- Have themed dinner nights like Pizza Monday, Chicken Thursday or Taco Tuesday.
- Set up a lemonade stand.
- Decorate bikes and trikes and have a parade.
- Go pick fresh fruit.
- Make homemade ice cream.
- Make popsicles.
- Make milkshakes.
- Help Mom and Dad wash the car, or have fun with young children going through a car wash.
- Bake cookies for friends.
- Play with glow sticks.
- Go shopping with parents at the dollar store.
- Plan scavenger hunts with different themes.
- Have a puppet show.
- Act out a child’s favorite book.
- Feed the birds and ducks when visiting a pond.
- Make a time capsule.
- Play dress-up.
- Write letters to family members.
- Play with Play-Doh.
- Watch and observe insects and different animals.
- Make a band with pots, pans and other items you have at home.
- Play school. This is a good way to learn while playing school.
- Blow wish flowers with dandelions.
- Watch the clouds and see if you can find shapes in them.
- Set up a child-friendly art center with crayons, paper, scissors and glue.
- Take walks and exercise with your children.
- Create silly holidays or celebrate special days such as this coming Friday, June 2: Donut Day.
I hope these few simple “Summer Treasures” will get you started this first week of summer 2023.