School is out in San Francisco, and the fun has begun. Already we have started projects, including sleeping in. Yesterday, while reading an Ivy and Bean book with my six-year old granddaughter, I was reminded of the fun it was to organize summer activities, even as a child. We were reading, Ivy and Bean’s Make the Rules. It’s about a summer camp the two create when Bean’s big sister goes to a real camp. After we finished reading the book, my granddaughter created her own summer camp, and made a list of rules which included: “Dogs, No, Cats, Yes” and “No Diet Coke”. She named the club, posted the rules, and thus began the discussion about plans for the summer.
Not sure whether or not list making is part of our family DNA or just something we have grown to love, but we make lots of lists and our summer list is full of adventures we want to take, and new experiences we want to try out. Here are our suggestions for some fun activities for summer.
Summer Reading List. Summer is the time to read for pleasure. We began our summer reading with a new book on an old fairy tale. The Seven Dancing Princesses retold by Brigette Barriger sparked an idea to reread the original Grimm version of the story, and maybe read another updated version like Nancy Madore’s version. In Madore’s version of the tale, each seemingly perfect princess reveals her personal discontentment, and a powerful wizard helps them figure out how to deal with their frustrations creatively. In another version, told by Ruth Sanderson, we read yet another version of the tale. Whatever you put on your reading list, it’s always fun to keep a chart of the books you have read and, as my granddaughter pointed out, the number of times you read each one. We made a special chart together, posted it on the wall. Each time she reads a book, she tallies it and writes out the title.
Penny Hike: Another childhood experience brought up to date, is the Penny Hike. We take lots of walks in the City. Sometimes on the way to or from an activity, and sometimes in search of something. Yesterday, we took our guitar to the music shop, Solo Guitar, to have it restrung and tuned. Just getting to the shop was an adventure as I had forgotten which street it was on. We found the shop, and then I remembered the Penny Hike. Without a destination, flip a coin at each corner to decide whether or not to go left or right. Decide ahead of time which is which. Follow the directions of the penny and see where you end up. Of course it’s fun to break the rules once in a while, so feel free to follow your hearts, noses, or eyes toward something of interest (or to avoid an area you’d rather not enter). Be observant of new places, activities, or sights.
Museum. Spend some time at one of the local museums. For Grandparents and grandchildren, the rates are reduced at the museums year round, and it’s often a fun way to spend part of a day. My granddaughter wants to show me a special exhibit at the Asian Art Museum, so we are heading there this week. We’ll also take our sketch pads and pencils, and spend a little time drawing pictures of some of the things we see that we like. You may also enjoy the deYoung Museum, the Discovery Museum, the Legion of Honor Museum with the Gifts from the Gods exhibit, the California Academy of Sciences or the newly-located and refurbished Exploratorium on Pier 15
Libraries. Summer is a great time to take advantage of the free activities, the books, movies, and CDs at the libraries. Join the Summer Read Program, and earn special prizes for reading this summer.
Outdoor Birthday Parties. Summer can be a bit drizzly and cold in the City sometimes, but there are plenty of outdoor venues for summer birthday parties and picnics. One of our favorite is Fairyland in Oakland.http://fairyland.org/
Learn to Swim. http://sfrecpark.org/recreation-community-services/aquatics-pools/
Pack a Car Kit for Adventures: Have a kit in your car for spontaneous or planned activities. Include in your kit:
Grocery Bags (canvas) and plastic trash sacks
Picnic Basket equipped with dishes, can opener, eating utensils, and cooking supplies
First Aid Kit
Thongs (sandals) and hiking shoes and socks
Compass, maps, paper/pens/crayons (iffy if too hot), guidebooks
Cooking kit (pans, spices, utensils)
Barbeque supplies (matches, briquets)
Anything else you normally like to have.
Have fun making plans for the summer, and setting up a calendar. Most children like to plan and organize, though you don’t want to overdo it. Have time built in to rest, sleep in, hang out in the garden or in the backyard.
Next time, we’ll talk about some fun activities to do at home with art, music, and gardening. What are some of your plans for the summer?