Summertime has so much nostalgia associated with it. I want to say that it’s because everything was a little slower, there was less pressure, and the opportunities to go and do fun things were endless. It doesn’t take much to make meaningful memories when it’s full of vacations and big-over-the-top excursions. But how can we fill the gap between the getaways and the typical, mundane days? And how can we work to improve how we create lasting bonds between the family together?
There is a lot of beauty in allowing our kids to experience life at a slower pace where they can sit and savor the day without being scurried out the door and where their imaginations can run wild as they gaze up into the trees listening to birds in the distance.
Summer ideas to build strong families
School was nearing an end for the first time and I had this stark realization that once it did not only would my fridge be as empty as ever, but my kids would need a few things to do. I always wish for times my family doesn’t have to worry about the pressures of getting places on time or performing a certain way in class; in fact, I believe in letting kids be bored. But how could I make summer a gift like that for them while also ensuring it meant treasured, lifelong memories as a family?
Create Family Movie Night Reading Challenge
The first book we started was Holes. Then the Chronicles of Narnia.
Even with my very young kids, this has been a treat for all of us. The challenge is not just to read the book. It’s to get the book read in just one week. At the end of the week is family movie night where we watch the motion picture (or TV series) that correlates to the movie.
This puts an emphasis on reading.
It shows the importance of even having discussions about the book.
And it encourages their imaginations.
…all before watching the movie.
Books turned into movies for kids and families
These are all FANTASTIC books to read that have a movie or TV show (We earn from qualifying purchases of book or movies below). We tried to focus on titles the whole family could enjoy. And if you have streaming, check out these 99 Disney+ movies that have a book.
Are there any books your family has read that you would add? Leave it at the bottom in the comments for other readers to find even more suggestions!
Make Family Game Night a “community event”
We love playing games in our family. They have so many learning opportunities associated with them but also just good, plain fun. And one of the great benefits of games is that they also allow us to get to know new people in a fun way. Summer is the perfect time to invite in your kids’ friends to your family game nights to get to know them better.
(Bonus, we actually write the date and name of the person/people outside of the family we played with in the lid of the box).Want some family game and reading night discussion starters?
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Have a Backyard Bored Box
We filled up a big plastic box outside with several things the kids would play with on their own time. This showed them how much we value them spending time in fresh air and sunshine, but eliminated the phrase “I’m bored” from our house. If they chose to say that or a similar phrase, they already knew the answer “Go to the bakyard bored box or choose a chore.”
Things to consider in your box
- Nerf guns
- Squirt Guns
- Spike Ball
- Ball and Mitts
- More of our favorite outdoor toys for the family: Crazy, fun, and absolutely fantastic outdoor toys for kids 1-99!
Plan games of Family Dodge Dart
So when we assembled our Backyard Bored Box, we popped out the nerf guns (renamed “Spring Darts” in our house since our kids are young).
And we made a game where each person did not have an advantage. Everyone had one single-shot nerf gun and there were only 7 darts in play.
This means that like dodgeball, you have to track down the dart to stay on the offense. The side benefit is also that you don’t have a pail full of 500 darts spread across your yard, rather just a set number that can all be accounted for and retrieved when game play is over.
Go on a family camping trip
Nothing says family memories or slow summer getaway like a family camping trip. Plan even just a 2-day weekend outing to enjoy the outdoors, go swimming or hiking, etc.. The benefit of camping is that it’s typically a lot less expensive but also requires teamwork and some cooperation… ultimately contributing to the building of strong families.
Make the most of family game and reading nights this summer
Research shows that read allow time has great benefits for kids of all ages and so does engaging in game play. (No, not video games, board games!) Grab our free download of discussion questions and the benefits of reading together as a free gift for being a part of our subscriber community.
More family summertime resources
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!