The calendar officially flips over to summer in a couple of weeks, but for all intents and purposes, summer has arrived in the Boro.
Warm temperatures and final school bells signal a new season. Make it one of the best summers your family’s ever experienced with adventures and warm-weather activities and unique events and all the quality time you can squeeze into the next several months of summer.
➤ Aquarium Month — Celebrate exquisite, under-the-sea creatures with a field trip to an aquarium this summer. Search for one in Georgia or a nearby state and see how many different fish and aquatic animals you can identify or see for the first time. If an in-person field trip is out of the question for the summer, take in some virtual ones together and look for scuba diver feedings in large aquarium tanks.
➤ Georgia Blueberry Month — Shop for Georgia blueberries to make fresh blueberry muffins for breakfast. Later in the month, you may find some you-pick farms in the state that are open for berry picking. Try out this easy muffin recipe to prepare together and enjoy with a glass of juice for breakfast or brunch. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Combine in a large bowl and stir with a fork to combine: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Combine in a small bowl 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg and 1/3 cup milk. Stir until well-combined. Make a well in the dry mixture and pour in the egg and milk mixture. Stir with a fork, adding a little of the dry ingredients at a time. Stir just until ingredients are combined. Batter may appear a bit lumpy. Carefully fold in blueberries.
In another bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour and 1/4 cup butter cut into small pieces. Mix with a fork until crumbly. Spoon batter into the muffin cups evenly and sprinkle sugar and flour mixture on top of muffins. Bake in preheated oven, 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
➤ National Rose Month — Enjoy a rose craft project with the kids and make a bouquet of beautiful flowers. Using small bowls as a circular pattern, trace circles onto pink and red construction paper or cardstock. Cut out the circle. Draw a spiral line from the outside of the circle to the inside of the circle, keeping the line about a half-inch apart until you reach the middle of the circle. Cut along the spiral line.
From the outside cut line, start rolling up the paper loosely to form a rose shape. Secure the rose shape to a green pipe cleaner for a stem, taping the edge of the rose together to keep it from unfurling. Make a bouquet of roses, place them in a vase and add them to the dinner table as a centerpiece. Just before dinner one night, read the classic "Robert the Rose Horse" by Joan Heilbroner.
➤ Watermelon Seed Spitting Week — The family activity for this holiday is pretty self-explanatory. Pick a ripe watermelon, have a picnic in the front yard on a warm summer evening and spit seeds on the driveway or sidewalk to see who can spit their seed the farthest. Enjoy pink stains from the fingertips to the elbows and delight in the fresh taste of summer with each bite.
➤ National Go Barefoot Day — Another no-brainer holiday to celebrate with the family. But add a little fun to the festivity. Spread a large strip of freezer paper on the driveway. Place shallow pans with washable paint next to the paper. Step into the pain with bare feet, then make prints in a circular pattern to form flower petals. Use an outside faucet to wash paint-stained feet, then play in the yard with bare feet while the paint dries. Add stems and leaves for a summertime flower garden mosaic.
Make the most of every moment this summer, starting with the warm days of June. Enjoy fresh vegetables and fruits, drink lots of homemade lemonade on the front porch, play in sprinklers, blow bubbles, find new places to hike, visit playgrounds and water parks, read chapter books together late into the night, lie on a blanket and watch for falling stars and find many other ways to make memories to treasure for a lifetime. Have a joyful June with the ones you love.
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender loves encouraging families to make memories filled with love and fun. She is the author of "365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories" and "Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime."