Published on May 19th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Summertime Suggestions


Kay Barlow

By Kay Barlow, MEBA

The Midlands are a wonderful place to live. Columbia and the surrounding areas are a special place to live and to raise our children. We have excellent, innovative schools, parks and greenways and wonderful weather. All of our seasons are terrific but summer is something special. It is magical. Summer means something different to each of us. For many it makes us think of ice tea, hammocks and flowers in bloom. For others it brings thoughts of Finley Park, concerts and festivals. For me it means slowing down, family reunions and BBQ’s in the back yard.  But to parents it means the end of the school year. We need to give some serious thought to what our children will be doing this summer.

Educators tell us that a great deal of knowledge is forgotten over the summer months. Teachers spend the first few weeks of school each year reviewing forgotten information.

Gone are the days that our children can “hang out at the mall”. Something or someone will fill our children’s time and we would like for it to be something that meets with our family’s approval. I have canvased friends and families for suggestions and ideas.

We know our younger children can:

  • Go to the Richland County Public Library, State Museum, Ed Venture, The Riverbanks Zoo and the Columbia Museum of Art.
  • They all have free days and they have wonderful summer programs that will entertain and educate your child.
  • Schools, churches and parks offer classes and clubs. You can learn to sing in a choir, swim, play tennis and paint pictures.
  • Younger children go to Grandmas and have great fun.

A question I am frequently asked is what do I do with my teenager. I questioned my friends and searched the web (101 Things for Teens to do this summer). I have suggestions for you:

  • Get a job: the experience will teach you people skills and patience.
  • Volunteer: You will find out it is indeed better to give than to receive. Give of yourself and your time.
  • Intern at a career that interest you. Interning will eliminate careers you do not want to do and encourage you to pursue a career in which you have interest.
  • Watch Columbia do business. You will find they show up each day, are on time, speak kindly to each other and have great manners.
  • Be a nanny or start a dog walking business.
  • Teach a class or coach a team
  • Take a class (Yoga, Art, Zumba)
  • Learn to drive, learn to swim, and learn to play chess.
  • Take a cooking class, take a cake decorating class (it may lead to a career choice or a part time job)
  • Learn to grill the perfect hot dog and hamburger. That is a lifetime skill.
  • Have your friends over for a cookout. It sounds lame but they will all come.
  • Organize a charity car wash.
  • Learn to care for the car. Take a class or learn from a neighbor.
  • Keep a journal
  • Read a book by a new author or listen to a new style of music.
  • Chart your family tree.
  • Write the history of your family. Talk to the elderly members of your family…they have stories to tell.
  • Write down all the traits of the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Write down all the traits that are so great about you.
  • Get a pedicure, manicure or massage
  • Get a free, make-over.
  • Stay in your pajamas one full day.
  • Plant a flower or vegetable garden.
  • Have a movie marathon with friends. I do this with Jane Austin movies and with all the Jaws movies ever summer.
  • Go on a planned hike
  • Take a bike ride.
  • Go to all the Historic places in Columbia. Listen to the guide. This is a wonderful city that is rich in history.
  • Play Frisbee golf.
  • Have a board game marathon.
  • Catch lightening bugs.
  • Walk barefoot through grass. Feel the dew on your feet.
  • Practice learning through all five senses. What do you hear, what do you see, taste, smell and feel?
  • Write down all those good traits about yourself. Write down what you love about your family. Be silent, hear and see the majesty of the world in which you live. Feel the warmth of the sun, watch the birds fly; hear the rustle of the wind in the trees. Listen to the giggling of small children and the wisdom of the elderly.
  • Live in the day. Learn to live, learn from and love the present. Remember the past, plan for the future but live in the moment.
  • Take time to be thankful.

I hope these tips will be helpful to both parents and students. It won’t be long before I am writing “Back to School” tips. But for today, these days of sunshine, I wish you and your families’ summer blessings.


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