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Fun with the Family by Julie Lavender
School is in, but summers not out
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    Freshly sharpened pencils, crisp sheets of paper bound by spiral pieces of metal, brand new crayons in all shades of the rainbow – visible reminders that a new school year has arrived! Make this the best school year ever with the necessary supplies for each day, a great deal of love, encouragement, and support throughout the year, and positive, fun-filled celebrations sprinkled into each week. Start with some of these awesome August activities.
    - Halfway Point of Summer – When yellow busses roll down the streets and children scramble to find their homework, it’s hard to imagine that, technically-speaking, summer is only halfway over. August 6 marks the halfway point of summer on the calendar. Did you get to do everything you wanted with your family this summer? Well, you still have time. Mark sure to mark all of these off your list before autumn begins: catch fireflies, hunt seashells, fish in the river, play in the sprinkler, draw hopscotch squares on the sidewalk, sleep under the stars, eat watermelon, drink lemonade, and boil peanuts.  
    - Mall Day – Take the family for a walk around the mall – literally. Make three of more laps around the entire mall, then choose stores to visit that you’ve never been inside. Or, create a scavenger hunt for the family. Divide into a couple of teams with an adult on each team. Before the event, make a list of items you would expect to find at the mall, like, a stuffed dog, melon-flavored shower gel, size-12 boys shirt with a picture of a baseball, soccer cleats, and so on. Give each team a copy of the list, with instructions to find the item and write down the location of the item. Establish a time to meet together, share a soda, and talk about the adventure.
    - Truck Drivers Week – Have you stopped to think about the fact that most of the items in your house were brought to you, either directly or indirectly, by way of a truck? Take time to appreciate truck drivers as you try to spot them while you are out and about. See how many kinds of trucks you can name, other than 18-wheelers, like, garbage trucks and cherry-picker trucks.      
    - National Mustard Day – Buy a box of frozen pretzels and several different flavors of mustard. Heat the pretzels, then do a taste-test to see which flavor or flavors family members like best.
    - Dream Day – Celebrate this day in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., who gave his famous speech, called “I Have a Dream,” in August of 1963. Talk about dreams and plans for your family, for individuals in the family, and for the community. What can you do to help make this world a better place? Dream big! Then decorate pillowcases with fabric paint or markers to foster sweet night-time dreams, too.
    Start the school year off with good study habits and lots of family fun. Celebrate – make memories – laugh and play often.
    Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender enjoys celebrating with husband David and children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel and Jessica.
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