Summer days can be filled with laughter and joy amidst the refreshing change of a new season but, chances are if the heat is hitting your area of the world, you may be deep into the mid-July doldrums.

In the 1960’s and 70’s most parents did not plan lots of summer activities for their children. I remember those days because I was a child during that period of time. Parents expected their children to be thankful just for having lots of time to play!
My parents did send me to a week of camp but, for many of my friends, summer was three months of free time punctuated with a few chores. Adults did not feel guilty about letting kids just have time and the kids (being kids) usually found something interesting to do.

Times have changed but I still believe that a “good” childhood is filled with long, peaceful, drowsy summer days.

Well, my kids have the doldrums this week. They haven’t made new friends after our move and the days seem long. We’ve planted a garden and have moved in but we’ve purposely kept a lot of boxes packed so that housework is minimal. Summer meals are simple and the responsibilities are light and that’s okay!

Allowing our kids to be bored is not the ultimate parental sin! A little boredom is good for our children. It forces them to be creative and resourceful.

I also have a little secret that I keep from my children. After being bored, anything else seems “fun.” If the kids have had a long, do-nothing day even going to the dump sounds exciting.

I think it’s a very good thing when our children are pleased by simple pleasures and activities. Today’s kids experience more than any other generation ever has and they aren’t any happier for it!

No, let the kids spend long hours play in the sand box, read books under a tree, or engage in lengthy conversations with their grandmother. It may look like nothing is happening but don’t be fooled; they are developing! They are thinking and imagining and ordering their private world. They will never have this kind of time to live this way again.

So give your kids simple pleasures guilt-free.

Make popsicles with a little yogurt, leftover fruit or jam blended and poured into a popsicle mold (or use a little paper cup with a spoon frozen into the middle of the concoction).

Let your children run through the sprinkler, build a fire in a fire pit, lay outside on a sleeping bag and look at the stars. Make playdough!

Give them chalk to play hopscotch, make cookies and see if they will bake in a hot car, fry an egg on the sidewalk, suck an ice-cube in the heat and read a book in the shade. Make s’mores or just roast a marshmallow or hotdog.

Run through the sprinkler, sleep outside in a tent, invite a friend over for a scavenger hunt in the dark with flashlights, sing outside on the deck and sleep late in the morning.

You children will look back someday and say, “Those were the best times!”