In just over a week, our family – and many other families with children – will celebrate the first day of summer. No, I’m not talking about Memorial Day or the June 21st Summer Solstice...I’m talking about the long-awaited, highly-anticipated day on which the school year finally comes to an end.
It would be easy to come home on that last day of reading, writing, and arithmetic and spend the afternoon (and maybe the weekend) napping and lounging; after all, who doesn’t need and deserve a break by the time May rolls around? But because my kids always ask, “where’s the fun in that?” when I suggest a nap or even rest time, we now come home to a “Happy Summer” party instead.
Last May, a friend of mine and I envisioned starting a new end-of-school meets beginning-of-summer tradition for our four kids. We didn’t want to go overboard (thanks but no thanks, Pinterest, for your elaborate themes and expensive decorations, crafts, and favors), so we kept it simple and inexpensive.
A week prior, we headed to our local big box store to scour the bargain bins. We picked up deeply discounted sidewalk chalk, bubbles, balls, Frisbees, water balloons, squirt guns, pool toys, sunglasses, coloring books, crayons, and water bottles, as well as plastic tubs in which to present these ingredients for summer fun to the kids. Then we went out for our last kid-free lunch of the year, which made the outing even more enjoyable.
On the last day of school, just before we left to pick up the kids, we decorated my garage door with a “Happy Summer” sign and lots of balloons. Under the sign we placed the kids’ tubs, so that as they rounded the corner on the walk home they would see the sign and all of their treats.
This year we plan to decorate the front door and porch instead of the garage, because last year, when we opened the decorated garage door to get into the house, we accidentally destroyed the sign, popped the balloons, and scared the daylights out of the kids.
After the kids went through their goodies, we served up big slices of funfetti cookie cake and tall glasses of pink lemonade. And just when the kids thought the surprises had come to an end, we loaded everyone in the car and headed to the swimming pool so they could try out all of their new pool and water toys.
The entire party took just two hours and a small amount of money to pull together, but was a huge hit with all four kids. They even bestowed upon us the title of Best Moms on Earth!
Planning for this year’s “Happy Summer” party commences next week…we have to hold onto those titles!