Thursday, May 26, 2011

Planning for the Summer

The coming of summer used to bring a MAJOR change to the tempo and content of my days. As a teacher, I shifted from intense workdays that started at 7:30 a.m. to leisurely summer hours that began somewhere around ten. My hours, once commanded by bells and loudspeaker announcements, were my own to fill as I pleased. My life, daily swarmed by scores of teenagers, was as solitary or as filled with camaraderie as I chose.

These days, the coming of summer doesn’t change anything at all, except for my wardrobe! I’m no longer teaching and my kids are not yet in school, so life goes on pretty much the same in the summer as it did in the fall, winter, and spring.

But it’s easy to let days slip away when there is nothing to set them apart from one another. And with daughters who are 2 and 3, I don’t want to let the days slip away TOO quickly, because I have the sneaking suspicion that I could wake up tomorrow and they’ll be high school!

So, in the interest of making memories with my girls and making the most of our days together, I decided to plan some activities for the summertime. I was inspired by Tammy of Daisy Yellow. She put together the most impressive—perhaps even a little daunting!—list of summer projects she hopes to complete with her children. I spent a couple hours one day looking through all of her suggestions, as well as some toddler art books I have and my “On the Road” file folder with ideas for outings and day trips. The result was a spread in my art journal with some fun summertime plans:

In case it’s hard to read the fine print in my journal, and you are interested in some ideas for your own summer projects and adventures, here are my ideas for Places to Visit & Explore (local to Philadelphia):
  • Franklin Institute
  • Hagley Museum
  • Magic Gardens (mosaics by Isaiah Zagar)
  • Rose Tree Park
  • Bartram’s Garden
  • Chanticleer
  • Arboretum (Jenkins, Morris, Haverford College, Scott, Tyler)
  • Mt. Cuba Center
  • Winterthur
  • American Helicopter Museum
  • National Constitution Center
  • Insectarium
  • Fort Mifflin
  • John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
Many of the projects I plan to try with the girls were found through The Artful Parent.  Others came from the book Toddler Art by Susan Hodges.  The list I wrote in my journal includes:

  • Library (try a new one!)
  • Delaware Museum of Natural History
  • Music class or music at home
  • Craft projects
  • Shopping mall
  • Craft store
  • Pet store
  • At-home playdates

For sunny days:
  • Longwood Garden
  • Philadelphia Zoo
  • Picnic (in the backyard or at the park)
  • Playtime in the backyard (water table, kiddie pool, sprinkler, sandbox, basketball)
  • Explore a new playground
  • Take a walk
  • Linvilla Orchard
  • Sidewalk chalk

As we fulfill some of these plans, I will post about it. In our first week, we’ve already made it to one destination (the Delaware Museum of Natural History) and completed one art project (decorative paddle fans)!

Coming up with these ideas doesn’t make me feel pressured to keep the girls on the run all summer. Instead, it’s a little reminder not to waste any of our precious time together. The journal spread is a quick reference for me as I think about my To Do list for each day.

What do you have planned for the summer, and where do you get your ideas for places to go and projects to try? I’d love to hear some more ideas; there’s always room for one more item on the list!


laurie said...

wow! you are such a thoughtful and creative mom. sounds like some great summer plans. i am a teacher but, even tho the kids were out last week, i am still going in for meetings. i can't wait to have a "nothing" summer day. :-)

michelle allen said...

two of my favorite things:
art journaling and lists!!!
looks like you're going to be getting a lot done this summer! great list :)

Anonymous said...

These are days your kids will talk about for years--and remember when they are parents as well. The creative work you do with them will be a legacy of joy and creativity. Wonderful you are giving them such memories! (OK, you are giving yourself some great memories, too.)

Janet said...

Your girls are going to have a GREAT summer! In fact, I wish I could tag along for some of those fun activities. said...

Love this...
The colors go perfect with summer, reminds me of "rainbow sherbet ice cream"
Great list too :]

Andria said...

Laurie, I remember those days of end-of-year meetings so well! I hope things are finally wrapped up, and you can get your summer break underway.

Michelle, yes, I love lists, too!!

Tammy, your list is SUCH a great resource. I lived in Texas from age 12 to age 22...sometimes you get a headache just walking outside and getting slammed by that heat!

Quinn, it's so true that it serves me just as well as my kids to make sure we do fun and interesting things.

Janet, if you're ever in the Philadelphia area, you are definitely invited to tag along! :-)

Thanks, April...rainbow sherbet sounds just about right!

Anonymous said...

Your journal entries are soooo beautiful. If my journal looked like that I'd be doodling and writing in it all day long...

Andria said...

Thank you so much for the compliment, Journey to Epiphany...I appreciate your visit and your comment!