Dig into summer!


As parents, we often view summer as a time of less routine and more unstructured play for our children. Summer is also a time when we see our children’s hobbies and passions grow and change. Last August, the Olympics inspired my son to swim endless laps and try to master the butterfly stroke. My daughter went on nature hikes and amassed an extensive shell collection.


While summer for most parents still includes work responsibilities and driving children to seemingly endless activities, we do usually have a bit more free time, too. Summer should be a time of discovery and new challenges for everyone, and one simple goal to set for the next two months is to learn something new or cultivate a favorite hobby yourself. This models a love of learning for our children and gives us adults the feeling of experiential play that many of us crave and do not engage in often enough. Also, you may find that you and your child share interests and can grow together.


Not sure where to start? Think about what inspires you most. If you are a nature person, set a goal of spending a certain amount of time outside, and think of a skill related to nature that you would like to learn, such as gardening, kayaking or fishing. If you love reading, create a summer book list and pick a few books that you want to read for yourself and maybe a few read-alouds that you can share with your child. Local libraries often have very full summer calendars with programs for adults and children. If you feel a desire to be creative and make things, consider sketching, writing, photography or woodworking. There are unlimited ways to play, learn and grow, and even with simple materials you can do extraordinary things!

Karri Bowen-Poole