I remember starting to panic about a month before summer vacation every year. How to fill all that leisure time my son would have day after day, week after week, which seemed like eternity. I would start by looking into some kind of camp (which only covered a small amount of the days I needed to fill) then moving on to some sort of sporting involvement, next a possible visit to a relative, and then researching local events and activities.
The biggest challenge for me was that my leisure time and work schedule didn't change for summer fun. I also thought it was important to think about activities and projects that we could do together at home. It's costly and time consuming for kids to be entertained with outings every day and not an expectation we want to encourage for the long term.
Planting a garden was the family project we started and it was a big hit. Gardening is a healthy, fun activity for both children and adults. Children develop new skills, learn about science and nature and spend time outdoors.
All you need is a small area in your yard or a few big containers to put outside on your patio or deck. You can choose between herbs, vegetables, flowers or a combination of all of these. A trip to Home Depot or a garden center will get you everything you need in one stop. There are usually growing kits that will help you get started if you are starting with seeds.
Don't worry if you're not a seasoned gardener, most of the plants you find locally are there because they grow well in your area. It's also a great learning opportunity to find out what needs to be done to care for the plants you choose.
Best of all, this is an experience kids can enjoy all summer and feel excitement about and comes with a sense of accomplishment in what they have created.
Use those fresh herbs and vegetables in family meals and enjoy the beauty of your flowers by putting them in vases around the house.
Nature is very generous – the more you cut most flowers and herbs the more they grow. A small investment in your garden will give back big returns and great memories.