Easy Summer Fun

I hope everyone is having a great summer. Ours has been spent staycation style, as usual. There’s something sweet about spending summer days at home (or close to home), instead of trying to travel in peak heat and crowd season. If we take a trip this year it will most likely be a short getaway sometime in September or October. For now, we’re enjoying another lazy (yet surprisingly productive) summer around the house.

Work is still being done by the grownups, of course, and youngest son has already gotten a jump on his 5th Grade lesson list. But the bulk of our summer schedule has included four things: The Summer Reading Program and lots of library time at our wonderful local library, pool time, exploring our community, and family fun at home. There’s also been a lot of gaming, cooking, gardening, sleeping in, and music as well.

Here is a list of our Top Ten Summer Moments so far:

Taking a lunch with us and relaxing at the pool while everyone else in the neighborhood is either at work (the parents) or summer camps (the kids). It’s amazing how often we have our community pool to ourselves.

Making homemade pudding pops. Remember those from when you were a kid? I do! And I wanted to share that yumminess with my boys, so we whipped up a batch at home. You can use Jello pudding  for authenticity, or the Whole Foods brand (or similar) if you want to go all natural. Just make the pudding, add whipped topping, pour it into pudding molds and freeze. Delicious!

Buying a portable record player and loading up on Beatles albums. This summer will be remembered as the summer that youngest son discovered The Beatles. He’d heard their songs here and there when they’d come on our playlists (in the car or as we cook dinner), but this summer, all of a sudden he was hooked. He has uploaded their music to his phone to listen to when he’s out, started to learn to play some of their songs on piano, and has begun watching Beatle’s movies with us on family movie nights. But having their work on vinyl (with inserts, artwork, and liner notes) to listen to in his room makes it extra special. It’s also made for fun adventures as we seek out local record stores and go hunting for other vinyl treasures!

The Summer Reading Program through the Gwinnett Public Library. I can’t stress enough how much we love our local library system. There are two branches near us that we visit regularly (especially during the summer), and the staff is always friendly and helpful. The Summer Reading Program they run each year has been awesome — you don’t just log reading time and books, there are also lists of great activities to do and events to attend; things that get you out into the world and learning new things (which is what homeschooling is all about). This year he’s earned over 800 points so far, has picked up some cool prizes (including membership to the local Hudgens Art Center), and has attended some fantastically fun library events. He would have read all summer anyway…..but being part of the Summer Reading Program connects him to our community through his love of reading.

Dungeons & Dragons Summer Camp. I hosted a Dungeons & Dragons camp in Avondale in June, and we had such a great time. Nine kids spent the week creating characters, adventuring, getting silly, making some D&D related crafts, and playing outside together. It was great to see old friends and make new friends during the week, and we can’t wait to do it again next summer! (It may have been the highlight of youngest son’s summer so far.)

Going to IHOP for late night pancakes and watching July 4th Fireworks. It was a tradition for us, when our adult son was younger, to go out for pancakes every July 4th after watching fireworks. For some reason, we stopped doing this as he got older, and never celebrated this way with youngest son. This year we remedied that by enjoying pancakes and fireworks together pre-July 4, since our community held their Independence Day festivities the weekend before the Fourth. Still, it was awesome. Pancakes just taste better at night 🙂 and we had a great view of the fireworks from a near-empty parking lot next door to Town Center. Perfect.

Participating in the Super Smash Bros. Tournament at the Duluth Library. This is definitely a highlight of the summer! The Tournament started with 32 players ranging in age from 8 to 18. Youngest son made it past the first round, playing as Little Mac, and winning his match 3-0. For the second round he was pitted against one of the oldest players (who was playing as Bayonetta, no less!). Youngest held his own, and the round went to 1-1. It could have gone either way, but with one final strike from his opponent, my guy was KO’d. Despite the loss, it was super exciting! The Bayonetta teen went on to win the whole thing, so how cool that our 10 year old came *this* close to beating him. (This was a fun, fun event! And one we’ll definitely do again next time. Thanks, Duluth Library staff!)

Arts, Crafts, and Science at Home. We’ve painted pet rocks. We’ve built a giant box fort. We’ve practiced drawing manga and Pixar characters. We’ve made crystals and slime out of household ingredients. We’ve purposely grown mold on bread. It is sometimes messy, but always fun.

Bingeing on movies, books, and games. We’re watching a lot of movies this summer (80s classics, animated gems, superhero favorites, and more), reading a lot of books (short stories, novels, and graphic novels daily), and playing lots of games together and independently (board games, role playing games, Minecraft, Nintendo — Switch, 3DS, and WiiU, and games we make up with things around the house). A lot of learning happens during all of these activities, so it’s something we continue throughout the year, but it’s definitely cranked up to 11 when we’re on summer break!

Sleeping in as late as want every day (well, almost every day)! One of the very best things about summer break is being able to sleep in as late as we want (which is great since we tend to stay up later in the summer months). I never sleep *too* late, and youngest and I are usually up by 8:30. It’s just bliss to not have anywhere to BE every day. This will change when our homeschool classes start back (and I’m teaching three days a week), so we are super thankful to enjoy this luxury while we can.

How has your summer been? What kind of fun adventures have you been having? Share in the comments below, if you’re so inclined!

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