Summer is my favorite time of year; that must be why it always seems to speed by. Around me, many schools are now starting in the middle of August, and my daughter’s new preschool year starts in just a couple of weeks. Let’s not jump into school supplies and bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils quite yet though.
Here are a few simple ways to savor summer with your children… in green fashion, naturally!
No-Waste Snacks for Outings
As you wind down your summer outings to the beach, park, zoo, etc., don’t forget to avoid the convenience of packaged foods. With a newborn baby and the laid-back mentality summer brings, I’ve found myself getting a little lax (you might even say lazy!) with my snack-packing.
As I come out of the baby haze and enjoy the end of summer, I’m finding myself wanting to get back to greener ways by packing homemade alternatives to snacks in reusable containers (like granola bars- my favorite recipe comes from Katie’s great healthy snacks cookbook). You can find some more great homemade snack ideas here and here.
Letting my daughter choose her container or snack bag sometimes helps her forget about the appeal of snacks that come in wasteful packaging.
Make a Plan
Some days I get in a summer funk where I’m not motivated to get out. The lack of routine just gets the best of me and I find myself succumbing to the ease of a TV show. This makes for kids with too much pent-up energy and also uses more home energy.
Making a plan and sticking to it (as much as possible) has saved us this summer. It keeps me motivated and keeps my preschooler from asking me every five minutes what we are going to do next. Now, she can just look at our chart to see the plans. She knows that the plans are subject to change, but having an idea of what’s coming next has helped us enjoy our summer immensely.
I’m amazed at how much having a plan has kept us from too much TV (on most days). We can also better plan our days to avoid the heat during outings and keep the house cool by how we use our appliances.
Something I want to focus on for the remaining weeks of summer is making more intentional choices with our outings, and trying to integrate educational opportunities into our everyday living. Taking trips to the zoo, botanical garden, or even just a nature walk or exploring on the beach are great ways to do this.
We’ve even taken to keeping track of the days someone in our family swims by putting a little “s” on the calendar. We’ll count them up at the end of the summer.
Getting the kids involved in summery everyday activities can be a great learning experience for them. Examining the contents of our CSA box and choosing a recipe together, watering the garden and choosing whether waste can be recycled, composted or just tossed are things that happen naturally during the summer, but that I can easily slip into doing by myself, without my kids, if I’m not intentional about it.
A few more ideas from the archives:
- The Benefits of Getting into Nature with Your Kids
- Outdoor Fun: Farm Visits
- WWOOF: Family-Friendly Eco Travel
Do you have any suggestions on savoring what’s left of summer with a green mindset?