According to the calendar, the halfway point of the summer season — August 6 — has yet to make its appearance. Even with the presence of bright yellow school buses on the roadways and homework assignments on the syllabus, keep the spirit of summer alive with a wealth of outdoor playtime and picnics with watermelon slices and perhaps another dip in the swimming pool or ocean or even the backyard sprinkler. Don’t give up on summer just yet — make warm memories to cherish with some of the zany, but real, celebrations below or create your own cool, summer festivities.
➤ Fishing Month — Plan a Saturday afternoon fishing trip with the family to celebrate this holiday. If that opportunity doesn’t pan out, create this crafty fishing activity for indoors. On construction paper, trace around the kids’ hands with four fingers together and the thumb extended somewhat to resemble a top "fin" for the fish pattern.
On the wrist-part of the tracing, close the handprint by drawing a fish-shaped mouth. Cut out the shape and add embellishments, like a wiggly eye, glitter for fins, crumples of tissue paper, or simply decorate with crayons. Make several fishy shapes and attach a paper clip to the top of each one.
Then, for a fishing pole, tape a strip of fishing line to one end of a dowel rod or yardstick or empty cardboard roll from wrapping paper. On the other end of the fishing line, tie a magnet in place. Then, use the "fishing pole" to go "fishing" to catch some of the embellished fish-shapes.
➤ National Peach Month — Gather the family in the kitchen to prepare this peachy-keen cobbler recipe. In a 9x13-inch baking pan, melt 1/2 cup of butter. Wash, peel and slice four fresh peaches and set aside. In another dish, stir together one cup of self-rising flour, 1 cup of white sugar and 2/3 cup of milk. Slowly pour the mixture into the pan on top of the melted butter, but do not stir. Spread the peaches evenly over the batter and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar over the peaches. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let cool slightly and enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
➤ Back-to-School Month — In a family outing, collect double the amount of supplies requested on the school list. Donate the extra supplies to a school teacher to use in case a student is in need of assistance to get the school year off to a great start. Then celebrate the day with some fun picture books, like, "The Day the Crayons Quit," "The Day the Crayons Came Home" and "Splatter."
➤ World Lion Day — Do you know what a "fluffle" is? Play this fun (and educational, but you don’t have to spill the beans on this part) game with the family and you just might find out the answer. Let each person write down the names of five animals. Encourage each family member to include animals besides dogs or cats. Place all the animal names in a basket. The first contestant picks an animal name from the basket and rolls one die. If the die reveals one dot, ask the contestant to give the name of the male animal he or she drew from the basket.
If the contestant rolls a two, he or she answers the female name of the animal. A roll of three dots and the contestant gives the name that corresponds to the young of the animal he or she drew. For four dots on the die, the contestant is required to give the name of a group of the animals he or she drew. A roll of five or six, and the contestant can give any of the above answers.
For example, if the contestant draws the word "lion" from the basket, and rolls a one, the answer to the question is "lion." For a two, the answer is "lioness." For a three, the answer is "cub," and for a four, the answer is "pride." Five or six, and the contestant can choose to answer any of the above four questions. (By the way, a "fluffle" is a group of rabbits.)
➤ International Left-Handers Day — Is anyone in your family ambidextrous? Play some outside games and find out! Let each person take turns with the following tasks to see who the best lefty of the family happens to be. (If someone in the family is a left-hander, then let that person play the game using his or her right hand.)
Roll a tennis ball with the left hand to attempt to knock over plastic cups arranged like bowling pins. Give points to the one who knocks down the most. Throw bean bags in a laundry basket and see who is the most accurate with the left hand. Dribble a ball left-handed. Throw a Frisbee left-handed. Pick up pine cones, sticks or leaves with the left hand. Who earned the most points for the most successful lefty-lucky plays?
There’s still time to enjoy summer fun, even if you have to squeeze in the activities later in the afternoon or on a Saturday. Don’t give up on summer just yet — keep making summer memories and having warm-weather fun with friends and family — you’ll be glad you did.
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender is married to David Lavender and enjoys celebrating with children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel and Jessica.