by Lyn Hagin Meade

Together, we spent days reading books under trees and evenings star gazing. We climbed mountains and skimmed stones at the beach. We ate icecream and watched the sun set, late after bedtime. Now, we have to say goodbye to those carefree days, with one last hurrah and some happy memories.

Here are some of the things we have tried the last week of summer break over the years…. these ideas will work with one, two or more! The added bonus is that these ideas will get the kids away from their devices for a few hours

Photo Shirts

Make these at home with your computer photo editor, a printer and iron-on printable transfers. Alternatively, take your photos to the local print shop to be printed. There may be just one photo that sums up the summer – or perhaps there is a collage of photos – let your child choose their personal memories. Photo ideas may include places, favorites meals or icecreams, outings, crafts or skills or photos of the books read or toys played with, it may include best friends and furry friends. Encourage them to be creative with their ideas, they may come up with more. Set a deadline for photo submissions from the kids and put them in a separate folder to download, for easy locating!

T-shirt cushions

Does your child have one shirt or t-shirt they wore all summer? Then when its outgrown, turn it into a cushion cover. If you can do some basic running stitches, that will do fine!

To make: cut off the sleeves and straight across at the neck (to remove collar. Turn the pieces inside out and sew up, leaving a 2cm hem. Don’t forget to leave a gap before you finish sewing to turn the cushion right way round and add washable toy stuffing! Sew up the little gap and the cushion is finished. We did this with old T-shirts, school polo shirts and got friends to write messages on them too.

Sand Jars

Jars of sand and shells from favorites beaches – this idea I love! I can’t count how many pebbles and shells the kids collect each summer, they weigh down their pockets and fill boxes. So I gave each of them a jar and they piled up their rocks and shells and sand from favourite beach days. You can put labels on too to remember better.

Scrapbook the summer

Book of photos and drawings etc of all the favourite things you did. My kids always forget what to say when they are asked what they did during the summer – rabbit in the headlights syndrome! I started a scrapbook of things they did. Some draw pictures, others write poems, some brief descriptions, we add photos and then we have some memories for the rainy days.

Last Summer Days

Before the leaves turn, hold a last camp out, BBQ and smores night. Gather the kids’ favourite foods, let them sleep in the garden tent on a fine night…until they come in at midnight! After a family BBQ, we use the fading BBQ heat to make midnight snack s’mores!

To make smores – On a piece of tinfoil, place a thin biscuit – we use rich tea or digestives – a square of chocolate and a marshmallow, top with another biscuit and wrap up the tin foil. Place on the fading BBQ and see how long it takes to melt. Watch your hands!

Movie Night in the Garden

This works best as the evenings start to shorten. Hang a white sheet, use a projector with a USB socket and plug into the computer. If you have a set of speakers to plug in, even better for great sound travel. Let the kids make entry tickets, set up rows of chairs and invite a crowd! Pick an old movie – really, it’s the novelty, not the movie that entices.

See the food and cooking section for yummy eats for your movie evening outside here

Lemonade Stall

Back to school driveway lemonade stand the weekend before school starts. We like to give back and the kids choose a charity each year and then we plan some events. The highlight is always the lemonade stall. We set up shop at the front gate, make lemonade, balloons, signs and usually some cupcakes and brownies, then a quick text and Facebook to friends to come over. We are lucky to have generous friends and lots of commuters who stop to buy our cupcakes, rice krispie buns and homemade lemonade.

Playground day

Get the kids to list all their favourite playgrounds, then pack a picnic and plenty of snacks and water and do a whistle stop tour and play at all of them in one day! Don’t forget to stop for ice cream!

Park Evening Picnic

Set up shop in a city centre park, watch the evening descend on the city, and the commuters and city dwellers cast off the day, while you enjoy a picnic! For an added highlight, look up an event guide for local outdoor classes or meetups. At our best ever evening picnic, we ended up next to an outdoor circus performer class, where they let our kids try out their tightrope – it was impromptu and fun!

The Week of Beaches

For our week of beaches, we go to as many different types of beaches within an hour of our house. We call this the week of beaches and we go to a different one every day. Choose a sandy beaches, dunes beaches, pebble beaches, beaches you can walk for miles, fossil hunting beaches, swimming beaches, rock pool beaches, horse riding beaches, the possibilities are endless wherever is close enough to drive!

If you don’t live near the sea, try river banks or water parks.

Although school has started, pack the flip-flops, the sunscreen, the nets and buckets, plus the jackets!


© Lyn Hagin Meade 2018