New book bags, sharpened pencils, pointed crayons and early morning yellow buses on the road announce the end of summer as we know it, but technically, we’re just barely at the calendar’s halfway point of the summer season – August 6. Why not keep the spirit of summer alive with at least one more trip to the beach, several picnics in the park or backyard and lots of popsicles and fresh boiled peanuts. Pray and prepare for a stellar school year, but make sure to enjoy the remainder of “summertime,” with the ones you love. Include the holiday celebrations below or create your own cool, summer festivities.
➤ National Crayon Collection Month — In honor of the many shades of color beyond the rainbow, pick up a large box of brand new crayons while shopping for school supplies and check out some of the more unusual color names. Do you know what cerulean looks like? Wisteria? Cerise? Periwinkle? Have a family-coloring night and see how many unusually-named colors you can include in your artwork. (And, don’t forget to pick up extra school supplies and donate to a local organization collecting supplies for kids in need.)
➤ National Traffic Awareness Month — Before the next family road trip, make a chart with headings, like: motorcycles, 18-wheelers, trucks, SUVs, cars, bicycles, vans, jeeps, campers and so on. During the road trip, tally the traffic totals by marking the vehicles you see within a certain amount of miles or minutes. Finish out the road trip by reading a book about travel or listening to the audiobook, "On the Road with Peppa Pig," a collection of nine road trip stories starring Peppa Pig.
➤ International Tree Climbing Days — This holiday doesn’t need much explanation….get outside and climb trees! Find a tree that can hold the family on several branches and make up stories while sitting in the tree. Watch "Swiss Family Robinson" and be entertained with a family that lives in a treehouse or start the chapter book and read a little each night until the book ends.
➤ National Ice Cream Sandwich Day — Create this recipe together and enjoy a cool dessert on a warm evening. (This recipe makes a large amount — you may consider halving the recipe.) Form layers in a 9 X 13-inch dish in the following order: ice cream sandwiches, whipped topping, chocolate fudge topping and chopped peanuts. You’ll need approximately 24 unwrapped ice cream sandwiches, 16 ounces of whipped topping, 12 ounces of chocolate fudge topping and 1/2 cup of chopped peanuts. Cover the dish with foil or a lid and freeze for an hour before serving.
➤ Sandcastle Day — Make sure to build a sandcastle on that last trip to the beach, but create a sandcastle craft, even if you can’t get to the beach. On a white sheet of construction paper, use different shades of blue and green crayons from the new box and color the top two-thirds of the paper to resemble the ocean waters. Then, cut out various shapes of sandpaper and glue in place to “build’ a sandcastle next to the water.
If you didn’t find time to squeeze in everything you wanted to do while the kiddoes were out of school, remember that the summer season won’t be over, according to the calendar, for several weeks. Keep making warm memories with the ones you love and stretch out summer for as long as possible!
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender is married to David Lavender and enjoys celebrating with children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel and Jessica.