The Slow Summer


Eileen over at Little Acorn Learning is doing a whole series on the slow summer.  You can see one of her blog posts regarding this subject here.  There was also an interesting post about “banishing the playdate” that recently came across my Facebook page.  Part of what the author wrote about wasn’t perhaps particular to summer, but what I personally hold dear from summer – biking around to see who was out and could play.  You can read that blog post about spontaneous play  here.


I think slowing the summer down is so important.   Think back to your own childhood summers; some of us had time and space to….

  • ride bikes endlessly around the neighborhoods and pedal others on the back of bikes to keep the heat and mosquitoes away
  • go to the pool  or lake everyday
  • to really be bored
  • to have to create something to do
  • lay around in a sticky, languid heat
  • get sticky hands from wild berry picking
  • drink water out of the hose so as not to go inside
  • stay outside until the street lamps came on
  • watch the sun rise or set or both
  • catch fireflies
  • play endless games of tag, hide and seek, four square, kickball, dodgeball
  • be with all the children in the neighborhood because everyone was kicked out of the house
  • climb trees and make forts
  • camp
  • have bonfires at night
  • be at the ocean
  • spend extended time with cousins and other family members


These are the kinds of memories I hold from my childhood summers.  Do you?

Please share with me your best ideas and successes  for creating a slow summer for your family and also for having spontaneous community play.  I would love to hear from you!


13 thoughts on “The Slow Summer

  1. Wonderful post! I too have those memories of summer. Spending the days at the pool, playing with neighborhood kids until dark… however, where we live – there are rarely kids outside. My son and I ride bikes around the neighborhood daily and don’t see other kids outside, much less adults. So life is different or maybe it is just our neighborhood. We have kids on our block – the’re parents keep them in the backyard though.

  2. Awesome post, looking forward to reading the links.
    I resonate with a lot of those wonderful slow summer experiences.
    You could add tree climbing, lemonade stands, ice cream trucks, and firefly catching!
    With my 4.5 yr old and 2 yr old daughters, we love playing with whoever is available- moms and kids- and saying hi to neighbors as they come and go. We love sharing our cool garden with everyone, including some people who take a stroll with their dog or return home from work at the end of our day outside!

  3. Hi Carrie!

    I’ve just had my 4th child ( in the past 7 years) and we are having a slow and blessed summer at home, in the yard, in our pool and at the forest and stream down the road. The only thing that bums me out is that there ARE no neighborhood friends! My daughter and her 2 younger brothers play together, and I suppose I should be grateful for the family bonding that is hopefully taking place, but I do get annoyed that all of the other children are in expensive camps! Or at the local pond that I can’t quite manage to make it to having just had a baby. Wish there were some local friends around

  4. yes! since we live on a farm in the country, i do still have to implement any social activities for my children, but all of our summer playdates have been at our river swimming spot or in a friend’s backyard, where there is plenty of room for boredom and all that. trampoline jumping. playing in the kiddie pool on hot afternoons. lolling around inside when it is too hot. and the kids and i have spent SO much time picking fruit to eat this summer — it’s sort of ridiculous! blackberries are about to ripen here in oregon … it will be a delicious feast for all!

  5. Great post, I have similar memories. We live in a neighborhood with a lot of kids but no one is around. I think all the kids go to “camp” all summer. But even during the school year we don’t see much of the other kids. I think as a homeschooling family we just lead different lives. I wish my kids had neighborhood friends to play with, but at least they have each other.

  6. We struggle with the community piece as many who have written above do. Kids are not outside playing like they were when I was a kiddo. However, my kids are still outside playing in the yard, the lake, the hose, making forts, riding bikes and having completely relaxing summer! I am even getting to read some books for fun because they are off playing.

  7. I love that Dadsncharge link. I’ve been on 2 weeks winter break with my lot, and I ended up banning all ‘playdates’ because I just couldnt handle playing hostess. I’ve been reorganising my entire house, and trying to plan homeschool for the next 2 terms of the year. So no outings, no friends over. Its been a breath of fresh air. Kids had to figure out their own entertainment.

  8. Kind of by accident, we started slowing our summer down by biking more places, like the grocery store and library and parks. It rose out of my 8yo son’s desire to learn the rules of street bike riding. So here we are, halfway through summer and we bike to the store on grocery days and to the library on library days, and the other day we added biking to the post office before our grocery trip. It’s made me realize, and really internalize, that it’s not the getting there that matters, it’s how you enjoy the journey to your destination… Kind of profound, and definitely a good lesson to take with us in every aspect of life!

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