By Paula Sirois
If you’re up for it, you can create a dynamic, fun-filled, super-creative summer for you and your kids. Just grab one poster board per kid, some markers, a big pitcher of lemonade and head to the kitchen table.
Tell everyone to start brainstorming their very own summer bucket list. Write down every single thing (crazy and not so crazy) that they want to do before summer is over. The sky’s the limit. When everyone is done, post the finished bucket lists up on the wall and over the summer start checking things off, one by one.
Here are a few of the summer goals my kids picked and a few ideas for your own kids:
BE AN ENTREPRENEUR
— Open a business: My daughter wants to be an entrepreneur, so I helped paved the way. We brainstormed a business concept and decided against the typical lemonade stand (although that would work, too). She opted for pet sitting and walking. We made fliers and e-mailed some friends and relatives, and soon she had her first customers. Two neighbors wanted to hire her to take care of their pets while they went away for a weekend. Together we interviewed the families, collected the details, met the pets and then I accompanied her (she’s just 8) while she fed, petted, walked and played with the pets.
— Start a car wash or bike wash: Post some signs, grab a bucket, sponges and some soap and your kids will be in business. Enlist some help from the neighborhood kids for speedier work and consider donating the proceeds to a charity for children.
— Start a neighborhood blog: Just about anything your kids do, eat, watch or think can be fodder for the blog, from local playground reviews and tips on how to make peace with siblings to restaurant reviews and thoughts on the latest “SpongeBob” episode.
CHOOSE A CAREER
— Be a chef: My 7-year-old son has cooking aspirations, so we spent an hour or so looking at all my cookbooks. Once he finalized the menu to his liking, we sent Evites to his close school pals and headed out to the grocery store with our list in hand. Back at home we prepped for his chef debut, working together to mix, stir and bake. I set up a couple of tables on the patio, dragged out an old CD player and turned the music to a kid-centric station. Once his friends arrived, he hired out his sister to act as a waitress while I played hostess. Everyone had a great night and his Nutella brownies were a huge hit.
— Be a fashionista: Help your budding fashion designer by supplying some Goodwill finds (lots of bridesmaid and prom dresses end up here). Add a box filled with buttons, bows and a variety of sashes and belts and then wait for the show to begin.
— Be a rock star: Gather the neighborhood kids and let them take over your garage for band practice. When they’re ready, post some old-fashioned concert posters and invite family and friends to the rock ‘n’ roll concert in your backyard.
GO ON AN ADVENTURE
— Discover a new country: While this one was a tad more difficult to accomplish, it was doable. I took the kids to a nearby state park where there are plenty of hiking trails, rivers and wooded nooks and crannies. We borrowed my neighbor’s kayak and headed out, à la Lewis and Clark. Midway through the day, we parked at a remote and empty wooded island and proclaimed it “discovered.” Earlier I had created a family emblem and flag and we proudly had a little ceremony where we named our island, drank some Gatorade to celebrate in style, collected some souvenirs like acorns and rocks and took some pictures.
— Go into space: Head online to learn about rockets and the solar system. Then fashion a space suit and rocket ship out of cardboard boxes and paint. Maybe create an alien planet to boot.
— Set sail: Go to a large appliance store and ask if you can take a few refrigerator boxes off their hands. With some construction paper, an old sheet and a stick or two, they can create Jack Sparrow’s ship in no time.