Some of my best memories of summer started in my childhood. I was taught at a young age to be myself and enjoy my childhood. My parents were always finding activities for my brother and I to do, whether that was swimming lessons or going to the bowling alley on discount days.
I wanted nothing more to have those summers again and again because they were nothing but the best memories. I am writing this to talk about my summers as a kid and share some ideas for your own children.
One of my fondest memories I have of summer was traveling. We used to go every two to three years to India to visit family. But that wasn’t always feasible, so my dad found a magical site called Groupon. He found us coupons to bowling alleys, water parks, and even shows around the city. He found ways to keep us occupied, knowing he was at work and my mom was at home watching us.
Back then, there was always something my parents had us participate in. At our local city recreational center, they offered swimming lessons every summer – children to adults were able to attend for a low price and it went on for 3 months. My brother and I went for lessons 3 times a week for a few months before we switched to another activity (my dad chose karate for us)! Not only we stayed healthy, but it sucked all our energy and tamed us enough for the day for my mom to manage us.
During these fun summers, my mom always took my brother and I to our local library. Every year they hosted various events for kids to engage in. They often had reading challenges, and at the end of the challenge kids were able to win prizes. They also had arts and crafts throughout the summer. I remember there being a bookmark decorating event for anyone who wanted to attend, and I loved it!
I loved reading and still do. Therefore, my summers normally consisted of me catching up on books I wanted to read. My brother and I also engaged in a lot of fun and safe video games. One thing my parents didn’t allow was for us to have our own separate set ups in the house. Our Xbox was set up downstairs on the main TV, so all the video games would be played downstairs for a certain amount of time during school days, and kind of unlimited (until dad came home) during summer.
The games my brother and I played were always co-op, so they allowed us to play together. It wasn’t just me or him playing at different times, we always played together. This helped us both stay occupied. If my brother wanted to play, I had my books to read. If I wanted to play, my brother had his toys to play with while he watched me.
Another huge memory of mine was my brother was playing Legos. We had the big and the tiny Lego brand blocks and had come up with so many different pretend scenarios in our head and reenacted them with our Legos. We had so many, in fact, we were able to create an airplane, multiple homes for each of our Lego characters, and more. It was fun and creative.
We played so many different toys, and many we had to use our imagination! I had an extensive Barbie collection, and my brother had an extensive Hot Wheels collection. It was cool that we had our own separate toys back then – this prevented my brother and I getting tired of each other’s company.
My dad also loved printing out coloring pages for us to color, and each time we finished one we would get another and then he would give us a folder to save all our colored pictures in. My dad never let us feel like we had nothing to do, and this was all before iPads and iPhones. Technology was the quickest distraction, but I remember our best memories with the toys and activities my brother and I had all throughout summer.
This wasn’t just for summer though! A lot of the activities we had, and the pretend play kept us occupied throughout our childhood. We sometimes took our stuffed animals with us on road trips instead of our mini-Gameboy. There was never a time that my brother and I were not busy, and think that is what really allowed my brother and I to have an amazing relationship now as adults. We always used our imagination and got super creative. I thank my parents for that encouragement.
Parents I encourage you to think outside the box! There are so many fun and variety of ways to keep your child engaged that doesn’t involve an electronic device. If the few examples I gave are not enough, I encourage you to just Google local summer activities for you to do with your child. I know it can get busy if you are a working parent, but that doesn’t mean that you still can’t find a way to keep your child engaged.
And most importantly, remind your child to be a child! Encourage them to have an enjoyable childhood and show them that the sky is the limit. Summer outside of technology can be just as fun!
Saranya Kari, Senior Intern