Summer solace
June 11, 2012
by Jenni Sebora

It is summer, not officially, but it is here. When the kids are out of school, and summer vacation is underway, that is the real beginning of summer.

Summer brings a whole different pace for families with school-aged children. It means, for a while, no more papers to look at, planners to sign, reminders to do homework, and the list goes on. Summer really is a nice reprieve from the school-year responsibilities.

However, the, “I don’t know what to do,” statements begin pretty quickly into summer vacation. In fact, on the last day of school when I picked up my children, my youngest, who is 8, greeted me with, “Mom what are our plans for the summer?”

Now, hopefully, we have all done a little preplanning with our families as to what summer may entail. Maybe you have planned some regular trips to the library, or signed your children up for some fun community education classes or 4-H activities. Many schools offer various camps, whether it is sports, band, music, or drama – there are lots of different opportunities for our kids. It just takes money.

Between camps, and possibly, a summer vacation, or maybe music or swimming lessons, the pocketbook may not get a summer break. Choices must be made, and finding free activities is always a plus.

Trips to the library, parks, and beaches are usually free and provide recreation, exercise, and even some brain power.

Take a hike to Lowry Nature Center. It is free, and there are various trails to hike and bike, not to mention all the great wildlife to encounter.

Visit Baylor Park or Lake Independence. Play a round of Frisbee golf or some tennis. Hit the sand volleyball court for some volleying. Take a hike. Go for a swim. Build a sand castle.

In fact, just last weekend, my children, their cousins, and some friends built their annual sand castle and huge river stream in our sand-filled play area.

They spend hours collectively building this huge waterway. The hose is brought in; the water begins flowing, and their water world begins to take life. It is quite a sight to watch the young architects at work. They usually do this event a few times throughout the summer.

Take in a play. Local community theater companies offer opportunities to watch local theater productions at very affordable prices. The Old Log Theater in Excelsior and the Stages Theater in Hopkins also offer productions at affordable prices. Check out their websites for up-to-date productions.

My daughter belongs to a local theater company. For a very small fee, she is a part of its summer/fall production. She loves it, and it has provided an opportunity for her creativity. She has also made many friends from many different communities.

We have planted our annual garden together. The other day, my daughter and I spent a couple hours ridding the garden of weeds and tasting strawberries as we did so. We have enjoyed a large bowl of strawberries straight from our patch. It doesn’t get much better than that. Berries from your own garden are always much sweeter and tastier. Jam-making is next on our agenda.

If you get a little creative, there are a variety of free or inexpensive endeavors to try for the summer. A little relaxation with some lemonade and a book certainly also tops my summer to-do list.

Enjoy, because we all know just how fast the summer season flies by.

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