In an effort to thwart summer boredom and to bounce us out of a routine, I vowed to do one new thing a day with the kids this summer. At the ages of four and five, it is the perfect time to instill a love of adventuring. Childhood wonder still exists, and they are eager to experience all that they are able.
In general, I am the type of mom that goes a bit crazy if we are in the house too much, so adventuring and getting out of the house is not new to them. However, I am also the type of mom that gets a bit lazy in her planning. We tend to haunt the same playgrounds or do the same activities at home, so part of this plan was to help change it up a bit during our long summer together.
To help hold me accountable, I started posting on my Instagram account with the hashtag #onenewaday. We are currently on day 47 (our summer vacation started early because pre-school ended in mid-May).
Here are a few highlights:
- My favorite activity so far was camping. You can read about that HERE. This is something that I have had on my agenda for years, and it far surpassed my expectations.
- Another favorite was the Crayola Experience. We visited the location in Easton, Pennsylvania where we got to make crayons with our own name on them, paint, color with chalk, watch a show on how crayons are made, play on a pretty awesome playground, and make clay sculptures. The kids and I both had fun with this one.
- The kids’ favorite activity was probably gymnastics camp. They only were enrolled for three days, but both wanted to do it all summer long. I enjoyed gymnastics camp, as well, because I got three hours to do errands without the kids. Everyone was a winner with this one!
- My husband and I took the kids to their first NASCAR race. They loved it. I just wrote about the experience on Parent.co, if you want to check it out. Click HERE for the article.
Not everything has been super exciting. We’ve played new board games, splashed in a creek, tried a few new foods (none of the foods were a success by the way), and completed a few new crafts. Many of our activities still include me sitting on a bench or standing nearby watching and waiting to answer the call of “Mom, look at me!”
However, overall, I am enjoying the experience. I love how I can look back on my Instagram account and see exactly what we did each day this summer. I have a picture for every day spent with my kids; this is priceless.
Now, I’m not the best photographer and my children are definitely not the best subjects (they don’t look at the camera, my son forgets how to smile, and they NEVER stay still!). I also don’t have time to make sure they are in matching clothes, or pose them a million different ways, or search for the best light because when you are in the world of a four and five year old who don’t like to slow down, life happens quickly! So what I will have when this is over is a real portrait of what the summer was like – with Instagram filters, of course!
Doing this has also made me a better mom. As my kids get a little older and are able to entertain themselves for longer periods of time, I find it easier and easier to slip into the role of a lazy parent. So instead of reading my book, I’m taking the kids outside for a hike. Instead of working on this week’s blog post, we are singing along to the radio as we drive to yet another playground. We are spending more time together and more time outside.
The experience has also taken me out of my comfort zone a few times, which I think is a good thing. Normally, I tend to let my husband handle the logistics of our trips – directions, parking, timing, etc. Now, since the majority of our activities are during the day when he works, I must literally and figuratively be in the driver’s seat. This is not always successful. I get lost … a lot. I recently tried to find a new playground, but got hopelessly lost instead. The kids argued, I lost my temper, and the only thing that could save the day was an unplanned stop at Wendy’s for Frosties.
Besides unplanned detours, there have been a few other drawbacks. The most obvious one is that my house is a disaster. Like, really a disaster. Not one of those photos you see people post that show a few toys scattered on the floor with an annoying comment like, “Oh, I just can’t keep up with housework!” but you can see a pristine kitchen countertop in the background. No, I’m talking yogurt spills on the floor, laundry heaped on the sofa, breakfast remains still on the table at dinner, and about 100 Shopkins and dinosaur figures spread throughout the house.
The thing is when you are planning adventures for a 4 and 5 year old, you rush around trying to get everyone ready and gather the supplies you need. Then you spend the outing refereeing fights, keeping them safe, and making sure they behave in public. Then you come home and have to make dinner and all of the other things you didn’t do because you spent the day at a Chocolate Factory, and you are just too tired to care.
Obviously, everything hasn’t been perfect. There was rain that cancelled the second half of the kids’ first NASCAR race. There was an urgent need to pee that resulted in a scraped knee at the movie theater which then resulted in us missing the end of Finding Dory. And, there has been a great deal of really, really whiny car rides. In fact, I have no idea what we are going to do tomorrow because I cannot imagine getting back in the car with them right now.
However, despite these imperfections, it has been good for us. Even during the outings that make me want to rush home and chug a bottle of wine, I value this time I have with the kids and am happy that I have the opportunity to be the one to experience all of these new things with them.
But, next summer … maybe every other day will be quite enough.
If you want to see what we are up to next, follow along on Instagram @onemilesmileblog.
I would love to see what new things you and your kids are doing this summer. Post a picture and use the hashtag #onenewaday. Or, head on over to my facebook page, One Mile Smile, and post a picture. Come on, join the fun. Plus, July is looking long. I need some new ideas!
Here’s what we’ve done so far:
- Met a new friend for a playdate at a playground.
- Played a new board game.
- Visited Crayola Experience.
- Hiked a new trail in our woods.
- Drank smoothies.
- Shopped at the farmers market.
- Made popsicles.
- Hiked a trail at Pinchot Lake.
- Visited a new playground.
- Ate ice cream at Penn State’s Berkey Creamery.
- Went to the circus.
- Played with new water squirters.
- Attended a Memorial Day parade.
- Splashed in a creek.
- Visited Pappy and went 4 wheeling
- Checked out the NASCAR haulers in Harrisburg
- Babysat their cousin for the first time.
- Went to their first NASCAR race.
- Painted seashells.
- Picked strawberries.
- Attended their first day of gymnastics camp.
- Helped their dad mulch the playground.
- Found a new playground with dinosaur playground equipment!
- Went to the first library story time of the summer.
- Saw Zootopia at an old movie theater.
- Played on their first Slip ‘n Slide.
- Visited a dam.
- Fed a horse.
- Had a sleepover with their Pappy.
- Made father’s day cards.
- Checked out the dinosaur statues in Harrisburg.
- Hiked and swam at Raystown Lake.
- Spent father’s day 4wheeling with their dad.
- Tried a papaya.
- Completed their first day of swim lessons.
- Visited Chocolate World in Hershey, PA.
- Saw Finding Dory.
- Played miniature golf.
- Swam at Pinchot Lake.
- Made a new craft.
- Ate ice cream for lunch.
- Visited Utz Potato Chip Factory.
- Played with a friend at his pool.
- Visited a relative they’ve never met (a great-great uncle!).
- Learned how to dive for pennies in the pool.