School's out for summer! Parents share how they celebrate the start of summer with their kids.
The end of the school year is a big deal in a kid's life—they can officially look forward to backyard pool days, mid-day ice pops, and no more alarm clocks. For parents, it's a milestone worth honoring: Your little one is growing up! Whether he's just stepping up from third grade to fourth, or actually graduating the school he's been in, here's how families are celebrating the occasion.
Plan a day of fun
Together, the kids and I make a list of fun things to do on their first day of summer break. Then from the list, I compile a surprise itinerary. Last year's was chocolate chip waffles for breakfast, playing in the park that afternoon, then ice cream and a beach walk at night. They still reminisce about their perfect day.
Throw a Sweet Party
We have a neighborhood s'mores-making party with fun fixings. It's a great way to start the summer.
Have a Water-Fun Fight
All the moms in our neighborhood fill wagons with water balloons and water guns. We hide at the bus stop and ambush the kids as they get off!
Skate in Summer
My kids and I go roller-skating since another year has skated by.
Mark the Finish Line
We hang a hand-painted "Welcome, Summer!" banner on our front porch. When the kids get out of school, they run right through it.
Teresa R. White
Give a Useful Gift
For my 6-year-old, MaKenzie, I assemble a "welcome to summer" kit with outdoor toys and coupons for trips to a museum, the zoo, and the movies.
Invite Friends Over
We host a last-day-of-school sleepover party. The kids play flashlight tag and sleep in tents in our backyard. There's usually a whipped cream fight involved, too.
Leave a Trail of Surprises
Before class gets out, I write chalk messages on the sidewalk all along the route to school. During the car ride home, my daughter reads them out: "Yahoo, school's out!" and "Summer's just a few steps away!"
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Hit the Open Road
We leave for a weekend getaway straight from school. Making it all the more exciting for my daughter is that she doesn't know where we're going.
Turn up the Tunes
When we end a homeschool course, we play "Another One Bites the Dust," by Queen—very loudly.
Set Up a Scavenger Hunt
My kids, Matthias, age 8, and Maddie, 11, go on a scavenger hunt when they get home. They both find summer toys, such as sidewalk chalk and jump ropes, at the end of it.
Share Vacation Plans
My husband and I reveal our summer vacation destination when our four kids get back from school. Each of them gets an envelope with a clue, and they have to work together to figure it out.
Begin a Countdown
We tear off the first link of our summer vacation countdown chain. Every few links has a special activity written on it: "hike," "drive-in movie," and so on. For the last day of school, it's always "ice cream sundaes."