Last week my family kicked off our summer vacation with a week-long trip to Muskoka. Vacationing in a hotel room with three kids ages five, three and two months is far from relaxing, but we created a lot of wonderful memories together and enjoyed our time with just us five.
Now that we’re home from vacation it’s time to settle into a new normal as a family. Penny, our five-year-old, is home from school for the summer. I now have three little girls with three very different needs to care for daily, and must figure out how to juggle our time together and hopefully create some wonderful family memories.
One way I have figured to do this is by creating a summer bucket list for our family. For me, creating a bit of a vision of what I want my summer to look like will act as motivation to actually do these things.
I thought I’d share our bucket list to help inspire others to enjoy and soak up their summer as well. I hope you will make many memories as a family, explore and adventure together, and feel relaxed and refreshed by September.
Enjoy our local parks: Guelph has so many wonderful local parks to enjoy and explore. I live less than 1 kilometer away from both Exhibition Park and Sunny Acres, which both happen to have wading pools. This year I hope to make weekly trips to each park, with a bag full of packed snacks, sunscreen and the kids’ bathing suits.
We also plan to purchase memberships for unlimited rides on the carousel and train at Riverside Park, and enjoy sunny days at the Downtown Splash Pad.
Visit the Halton Radial Railway: I come from a train family. My mom has worked for Via Rail for nearly thirty years, and my grandfather and uncles have all worked for the railroad at some point in their lives. I hope to pass on my love for trains to my own daughters, and that has started by visiting the nearby Halton Radial Railway Museum. My kids love going to this museum and riding the different trains. There’s even a stop where you can get off and buy some ice cream. The railway museum is one of those hidden gems that doesn’t look like much when you drive past, but contains lots of fun and excitement.
Visit Wildhagen’s Greenhouse: One of the highlights from our past summers is our annual visit to Wildhagen’s Adventure Gardens and Greenhouse. It’s one of those little known places tucked away that really deserves more attention than it gets. There’s a 6,000 square foot indoor play barn full of imaginative play and creativity, as well as a yummy pizzeria. There’s also an outdoor garden with massive plant sculptures in the shape of animals, as well as a trail with animals and a lost pirate and his treasure. My oldest daughter Penny still talks about Wildhagen’s and Pirate Pete a year after her last visit, which is why we’re itching to go back this summer.
Join the Guelph Public Library’s Book Club: I think it’s important to take a break from school for the summer, but that doesn’t mean I want our brains to turn to mush. I hope to encourage my kids this summer to spend lazy afternoons reading on a picnic blanket with a bowl full of strawberries. I want my kids to tap into their creative spirits and really grow in their own personal gifts and interests. I think the Guelph Public Library does an excellent job of encouraging children to read over the summer through their reading program.
We plan to make a habit of enjoying the library once a week and taking advantage of the TD Summer Reading Club over the summer months.
Encouraging my kids to get a job: My older children are three and five, and I think it’s a perfect time for them to start making some of their own money this summer. Let me explain. I think there’s great benefit in teaching kids to understand how money is earned and spent, and see the actual value in a dollar. There’s many ways to teach children about money, and I plan on employing a few this summer.
I’m hoping to get my kids involved in some chores around the house, and I’ll give them some change for the completion of certain tasks. I also am planning to encourage my children create some useful products and sell them in the open market. I’ll help them by setting up an online website, as well as a table on our front yard one weekend, and see as they learn how to sell items they make themselves and spend, save, and generously give of what they make.
That’s all for my bucket list this summer. What plans and goals do you have for the summer months? Let me know in the comments below!