Summer activities

Well, we were spoiled with a couple of months of rain and cooler weather, however, the hot temperatures have really kicked in. When I spy a weather report that indicates clouds and rain, I am thrilled. But since I have lived in Nevada for many years, I realize – and accept — that raincloud can be deceptive. While there may be ominous, black thunderheads that appear to be full of droplets, and these actually often fall, they evaporate before touching earth. Thus, it rained, “in a Nevada sort of way!” Rains may be on the way, but they will be here no time soon. Because I admit the heat is ordinary and natural, I will do my best to get most of my fun and play completed before it hits high noon. At that time a can head to the pool and soak up some cool as I relax and swim. After that, what’s better than coloring with kids or painting yard-art for the fence plus some clay and puzzles in-between?

I hope you have had a chance to paint some terra cotta planters that you and the kids have filled with daisies, petunias, or pansies. A perfect way to start the day is grabbing the watering can and trouncing around the yard attending to dry soil for these lovely creations. Kids love the chance to plant and grow, and what’s better than their self-designed pot? Although I would have preferred to start my grandkids early on, like in March, with seeds so they could observe the growing process, as usual I ran a bit behind so quick purchases from local flower merchants solved the problem. As I have mentioned, next year the four of them and I are thinking bigger and so we plan to design some raised beds where they can plan tomatoes, squash, flowers, and melons while they also take on the responsibilities of watering and weeding.

Another early morning outing includes a trip to one of the many new playgrounds scattered around town combined with a few dashes through the new splash pad. I watch in awe as the enormous bucket at the west end of the pad fills and children excitedly wait underneath, anticipating the sudden deluge. Talk about a flood – this dumping is amazing to watch as doused kids spread out in 90 directions. When prepared for the day, I pack a lunch to enjoy as we dry off under the shade of the picnic area. I fondly remember the many picnics my family experienced when I was little, and I want those memories to stick with my grandkids.

Exhausted from the morning work and play, and when swimming just does not fit into the schedule, reading, writing, and drawing materialize on our agenda. When kids are read to and/or they read themselves, they improve with every episode. Some kids love to reread a book again and again. This way they can memorize the story, and then “pretend” read – filling in words if you leave a blank or studying the pictures and relating the images to a version of the story they think works best. What better way to fill summer hours as well as advance an essential skill? The same is true with writing – the more the better and the more the advancement and growth. 

And then arrives the drawing – mixed together with pencils, crayons, paints, charcoals, and whatever is handy creating is amusing. Often with this project, kids will sigh and complain at first, and utter, “I am not an artist.” With your encouragement, or sometimes by just ignoring the protests and grumbles, artistry develops and wonderous sights emerge. Hang these masterpieces here and there or send them to all available recipients. A child’s array of art brings smiles and happiness. My daughter did not have cork board for displays so she used two thumbtacks and some yarn and strung this above her bookcases. Clothespins at the ready mean all important papers can be up for viewing in no time.

Above all, summer with children translates to talking time. Ask questions then listen carefully for some marvelous responses. Ask more questions and become even more enthralled. Drag out phot albums for discussion or spin through the 9,999 photos on your computer. The only fear with this later is that tech time can usurp person-to-person interaction and chatter. Happy hot days ahead!