Sum­mer bucket list

The Compass - - OPINION - Dara Squires Dara Squires is a free­lance writer and mom of three. You can con­tact her on face­book at www.face­book.com/read­ilya­parent

When I was five, my par­ents took the fam­ily to Dis­ney World. I hardly re­mem­ber it. Given how ex­pen­sive and oner­ous a trip it was, I wish I could say it’s one of my great­est child­hood mem­o­ries. But I hon­estly re­mem­ber very lit­tle.

The camp­ing trips to Terra Nova and Gros Morne? Those are em­bed­ded in my mind for­ever. Count­ing stars on the beach in Port aux Basques ac­com­pa­nied by the crackle of the drift­wood fire? I dream of it. Squeal­ing as cold ocean waves lapped over my hips? Ex­plor­ing the old mill in Glover­town then div­ing off a cliff into the Terra Nova River and let­ting the cur­rent carry me down­river only to climb out and re­peat again a mil­lion times? Rid­ing my bike to Petty Har­bour to pick blue­ber­ries? All the great­est mo­ments of my life, the things I reel through my brain as I drift off to a peace­ful slum­ber at night.

For many par­ents, sum­mer is a time to first of all, get the kids busy at some camp or ac­tiv­ity to save on babysit­ting costs and sec­ond of all, plan a sum­mer va­ca­tion.

There are va­ca­tions I re­mem­ber: a bed and break­fast in PEI where I slept on a feather bed; trav­el­ling to Expo 86 in Van­cou­ver… and that’s about it. I know my par­ents took us on more va­ca­tions than that, and I’m sure if I racked my brain I could come up with oth­ers, but they don’t flow as eas­ily as those mem­o­ries re­counted above.

The fact is, chil­dren don’t re­mem­ber the big mo­ments the same way adults do. And in fact, as most va­ca­tions in­volve ex­pense, stress, stand­ing in lines, an­noy­ing and bor­ing travel, and stay­ing in un­fa­mil­iar places, some chil­dren will re­mem­ber them as some­thing un­pleas­ant, not a great mo­ment.

When we are chil­dren, the day-to­day and the ex­traor­di­nar­ily or­di­nary mo­ments are what be­come last­ing mem­o­ries. We re­mem­ber play­ing with sticks and rocks, not the new toys we got for Christ­mas. In the same way, we re­mem­ber those small plea­sures of sum­mer over the big va­ca­tions.

So if you re­ally want to cre­ate mem­o­ries with your child while also keep­ing the sum­mer dol­drums at bay, you might want to con­sider ex­pend­ing less time, en­ergy and ex­pense in plan­ning a sum­mer va­ca­tion and save your­self a lit­tle of that ex­pen­di­ture for a greater re­turn by cre­at­ing a sum­mer bucket list.

In my opin­ion, no child should make it into adult­hood with­out:

• Swim­ming in the ocean and dry­ing in the sun;

• Build­ing a sand­cas­tle taller than mom or dad;

• Rolling and skid­ding down a sand dune;

• Fly­ing a kite;

• Hav­ing a crabap­ple fight;

• Play­ing Spot­light;

• Catch­ing stick­le­backs in a jar;

• Dan­gling a hook off the wharf for Con­nors;

• Start­ing a snail colony in their bed­room;

• Get­ting grass stains on all their shorts;

• Cov­er­ing them­selves in mud head-to-toe; • Build­ing a tree fort;

• Build­ing a dam;

• Climb­ing a tree (handy for those crabap­ple fights);

• Pick­ing mus­sels off the rocks;

• Find­ing a fos­sil;

• Camp­ing – even if only in the back­yard;

• Mak­ing smores;

• Col­lect­ing drift­wood for a fire;

• Play­ing ball hockey in the street;

• Catch­ing but­ter­flies with their mother’s panty­hose; • Build­ing an ob­sta­cle course;

• Skim­ming a stone more than three skips;

• Go­ing on a bike ad­ven­ture with their friends;

• Climb­ing a moun­tain (even if it’s only a moun­tain to them);

• Carv­ing an ar­row from a branch;

• Dis­cov­er­ing sea glass on the beach;

• Catch­ing caplin in a rub­ber boot;

• Pick­ing wild ed­i­bles;

• Sell­ing lemon­ade or worms;

• Plant­ing a gar­den — whether dec­o­ra­tive or ed­i­ble, in a plot of land of a pot of soil.

That’s the bucket list my fam­ily will be work­ing on this sum­mer. Use it as in­spi­ra­tion to cre­ate your own or just take it as a cheat sheet. Talk with your kids about what they ’d l ike to do. Guar­an­teed they’ll be quicker to say “go to the park” or “play at the beach” than they will be to say “visit an allinclu­sive re­sort in Mex­ico.” And the money you save on air­fare and ho­tels by go­ing on mini stay­ca­tions in­stead of a long va­ca­tion can be used for Mom and Dad to take a week­end get­away with­out the kids, for a real va­ca­tion.

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