By Beth Pinyerd
Welcome Summer 2022! Our community is thriving as we embark back on many of our community traditions and activities. Our churches and volunteers have opened their doors to celebrate Vacation Bible School! The themes this year are so exciting for children from celebrating the lives of Bible heroes and traveling to different countries virtually to learn about the countries as well as their animals and ways of life. I LOVE to go volunteer at the different Vacation Bible Schools in our area. The fellowship is wonderful in socialization and coming to teach young children about God’s truth. From morning to evening Vacation Bible Schools in our area, are just so much fun for children, youth, and we adults. Meals, snacks, Bible stories, music, dancing, crafts, etc. teach children what life is all about and give them hope.
Our local libraries have opened their doors for exciting summer programs. The library staffs are so helpful in finding resources for your families to have a reading enriched summer. Library staffs have gone the extra mile in meeting community needs.
Use The Observer to find out about different events happening in our community. Our local newspaper is so community and family friendly in finding out what is going on in the county that may be of interest for families at attend and enjoy.
When my late husband and I were in graduate school he introduced me to the creeks of Lee County by taking his Old Town or Blue Hole to float down the streams of Lee County. Growing up in Opelika I had always admired the different creeks by looking at them when my family drove over them but I had never swam in the creeks or streams or canoed down them. So my husband had a whole lot to teach me about canoeing. In the summer our canoe remained a permanent fixture strapped down with Bungy chords on top. Being students, our summer get-aways were definitely on a shoestring financially. We could not afford seaside beaches but we truly enjoyed sandy beaches by streams and creeks. I love the way these local streams open up to our beautiful state rivers.
Our community has always been so good in teaching young children to swim. The local recreation centers and the different camps do such a wonderful job in providing lessons. Spending time in teaching children to swim spells life saving and love.
Grandparents, one event we can provide for our families is fun time spent with them. A camp which richly warms my heart with warm memories and encouragement is “Cousin Camp” at my grandparents’ home in Salem, Alabama. My grandmother and grandfather had a thriving vegetable garden every summer. We grandchildren would help my grandmother as best we could with shelling butterbeans and peas, shucking corn, and she would allow us to help her can fruit jelly as best as our little hands could do. I truly loved the savoring smells of homemade scuppernong jelly, apple jelly and applesauce. My favorite memory was to go help my grandparents on Saturday evening to clean the church nursery and sanctuary at Salem. We grandkids loved to polish the pulpit and pretend we were preaching. Too, we loved making the pews shiny. In the summer we had to lay out the cardboard fans at the end of the pews. My grandmother had so much patience with her grandchildren in teaching all of us how to do things around the farm and in the kitchen. Their home had happy hearts, the door was always open to all, memories were created, and LOVE always endured. We always had a blast of fun doing the very simple things at “Cousin Camp”.
Too, this summer, families can plan to have a vacation atmosphere in their homes. Pick up your family’s favorite video, DVD, plan to have fun family picnics-let the children help you “no matter how messy the sandwich”, pull out favorite board games such as “Boggle”, Checkers, puzzles, etc. Camp out in the backyard or spread a tent out inside. This can even be done with making tents out of bedsheets. In keeping children in my home during many summers, bedsheets can also serve as a playhouse or circus tent to do a lot of pretend play for hours inside.
Another summer favorite is to safely observe different summertime insects. I know we all remember the days of chasing “lightning bugs”- fireflies and safely observing rolly-polys, ants, etc. for hours. Summertime too has nature sounds’ choirs such as croaking frogs, peepers, katydids, and birds chirping in the morning and evenings. You and your children can listen to the different sounds and identify them. I love early in the morning walking my little dog Cookie and listening to frogs croaking in nearby ponds and creeks and being met by the cheerful chirping of birds. Every year, I have my little bird friends build their nest right in the ceiling of my patio. Opening up my back door, I am welcomed every morning by the happy singing of “free renters”! My feathery friends provide some wonderful truths that God tells us not to worry about what we shall wear or eat. I love looking at the parent birds bringing their young babies worms and other foods. Too, their colorful feathery coats are beautiful clothes. These are God moments of slowing down and looking at HIS world and too teaching children life truths.
Another daily activity that young children love to do during the summer is to watch the weather. One observation that young meteorologists love to do is to watch the formation of clouds. Guide your child’s eye to identify three different kinds of clouds.
Cirrus clouds are feathery clouds that look like they have a curl. I tell young children they look like pulled cotton candy. Usually cirrus clouds are associated with fair weather.
Cumulus clouds are heaping clouds! They look like pillows you can jump on. It’s neat to point out to your child these clouds building up for a summer afternoon shower. Too cumulus clouds are the ones we usually can look at and make shapes.
Stratus clouds look like layers or blankets and produce rain and drizzle. They are dark and usually produce lightning and thunder.
I hope these few simple ideas help parents to plan a simple, fun filled summer. I will try to help parents by suggesting activities for your children to enjoy through Classroom Observer this summer.
Too, to end a good summer day after summer showers, be sure to look for those beautiful arching rainbows! Remember your child is a promise to you! Savor the moments to enjoy each day.