The school year is over and summer is finally here! My oldest son, Tako Jr. #1, just finished his first school year as a kindergartner! I’m amazed at how much kids learn in kindergarten these days. They seem super-smart now! Tako Jr. #1 learned a ton of new stuff — reading, writing, and math. All in just a few short months!
It was an amazing school year for the little guy, and even though it was a ton of work he seemed to enjoy school. As a parent, this made me pretty proud. Now, it’s time for him to enjoy a nice summer break!
As a kid growing-up, summer breaks were usually the best time of year for me. The weather was nice, and I got to play outside a lot. Neither of my parents were home during the day in the summer (they both worked). Sometimes they’d send me to a summer camp, but mostly I got to spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer (on my own). It was a great chance to be lazy and not study for awhile. I also learned to be pretty independent — something that’s stuck with me to this day.
As a stay-at-home dad though, I’m kinda new to this whole summertime gig. I didn’t have any parents around during the summer when I was a kid, so I’ve been polling other parents the last couple of weeks to see what they do with their kids during the summer…
Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed.
Mostly, it seems they try to sign their kids up for as many summer camps as possible. This is convenient for parents because they just drop-off their kid at camp before going to work. The parents get a break, and there’s no need to pay for additional childcare when the camp has you covered.
This is a pretty expensive option in my opinion — usually around $200-$300 a week. (Yes, we live in an expensive area.) If I tried to keep Tako Jr. #1 in camp all summer, it would end up costing around $1600-$2400 to cover two months.
I guess that’s cheaper than daycare, but it’s still a pretty big chunk of money just to keep one kid occupied.
Instead of doing what all the other parents are doing, I’ve decided to reject the regular summer plan and come-up with my own. I’m going to be spending a lot of 1-1 time with Tako Jr. #1 this summer!
We’re going to have a blast!
A Busy Summer Ahead
In a way, I’m kinda excited — it’s like a chance to relive those great summers I had when I was a kid. Lots of freedom provided by my bike, and plenty of sunshine to enjoy.
So what do we (Tako Jr. #1 and I) have planned for this summer?
Well, first off we’re going to be doing a lot more bike-riding to get around. Tako Jr. #1 just got a “new to us” bike with much bigger wheels, and he’s already zooming around on his new wheels pretty good. We’re going to use bikes for as many things as possible this summer.
We’re within biking distance of our local library, and Tako Jr. #1 loves to read now… so we’ll probably ride to the library pretty often this summer. This is a typical scene around our house right now:
Our local library is doing a ton of stuff this summer: They’re giving away free lunches to kids, and we plan to give those a shot. There’s also lots of “space” related stuff going on at our library — magic shows, reading challenges, robot building workshops, and other “space” themed presentations throughout the summer. It should be fun.
We can also get Tako Jr. #1 a free museum pass to local museums too!
Again, all this is 100% free! All we have to do is take advantage of the free resources offered by our local library. (Aren’t libraries THE BEST?)
We’ve also signed-up Tako Jr. #1 for swimming lessons this summer. He loves swimming, and he’ll be taking swimming classes two days a week at our local pool. It should be a good way to cool off, and we can bike to the pool too. In total, I think this cost around $300.
For the days we aren’t going to the library or pool, I’d like to go hiking with him this summer. He’s a strong enough hiker that he can already hike 4 or 5 miles without a problem.
Once it gets too hot though, we’re likely to head in-doors to catch some shade. Thanks to the generosity of another parent on our local BuyNothing group, I have a whole bunch of science kits to keep him occupied indoors this summer.
He’s been dying to build this solar powered car kit (I think it’s this one), but I told him we had to wait until summer (when we actually have sunshine). He’s super-stoked about building stuff powered by the sun! To him, solar power seems like magic!
I also have a couple DIY projects I’d like to work together with him on. Last summer we made a picture frame together and gave it to Mrs. Tako as a gift. She loved it, and we had some good father-son bonding time.
That project worked so well that I have another DIY project planned for this summer. (For now I’m keeping it a secret!) 🙂
On top of those activities, we’re taking both boys on a two-week trip to their Grandparent’s. Every summer we take the kids to their grandparent’s “farm” to experience rural life. They usually have a blast, playing in sprinklers, collecting chicken eggs from the neighbors, and helping out in Grandma and Grandpa’s massive garden.
Then, at the end of the summer we’ve got a big camping trip planned! This is the cherry on top. Every summer we take the kids on a camping trip, and this year is no exception — We’re headed to the San Juan islands!
If you’ve never heard of the San Juan’s before, they’re these gorgeous islands just off Washington’s coast. An absolutely beautiful place for camping!
Dialing Back My Blog Posting
Unfortunately with such a busy summer ahead, something has to give in my schedule — So, I’ve decided to cut back my blog posting schedule to just once per week. This should give me more free time to spend with Tako Jr. #1, and I hope we have a great time together!
Blog readership tends to decline in the summer anyway, so I’m taking a page from fellow blogger Joe Udo @ RetireBy40 and just taking it easy this summer. (Good plan Joe! I’m stealing your idea! 😉 )
After-all, isn’t that what financial independence is all about? — Having the power to control your own time! Most of the time the kids are in school and we can’t do all that much…. Which means I’ve got plenty of time to blog in the winter. But summer’s are different.
In my case, I only get one summer in my life to spend with my son when he’s six. We’re going to have a great time together, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
[Image Credit: Flickr]