We are a month into summer vacation, have you heard the dreaded “I’m bored” phrase yet? Quite honestly, I don’t hear that phrase very often around this house; I try to keep our boys quite busy with adventures, etc. But this year I hadn’t put much thought into our summer fun days, there will be hiking and camping in the mountains, fishing, swimming — pretty standard things we do every summer. But this year will be a little different.
I have a good friend, Shara, a parent of four kids ranging in age 1 to 13, who has “thrown down the gauntlet” so to speak about a challenge for me and my boys. She has decided to see if their family can do or experience 50 new things this summer. She sent me a message and asked if I would like to join in on their fun. Well, me being someone to never turn down a fun challenge has decided to jump right in. Nothing on the list will be earth shattering and might even seem minor to you, but there are studies that prove when we learn or experience new things, the neurons in our brains get “fired up” and isn’t keeping our brain active what we want for us and our kids over summer break? Now let’s get started, here is a list of things we have done since summer has started (note, some activities were only done by one child, but the other child was there to watch):
1. Joined dive team/had first dive meet.
2. Played in Little League championship baseball game.
3. Learned how to swim with clothes on.
4. Went to the Strawberry Festival in Pine.
5. Went to a Rattlers game.
6. Ate salmon fillets (for the kids, I’ve eaten salmon many times).
7. Participated in the Drive, Chip and Putt Challenge.
8. Drank coconut water.
9. Made smoothies and added fresh kale from the garden for extra vitamins.
10. Made homemade hand sanitizer.
11. Made homemade bathroom wipes.
12. Ran an obstacle course in the mud.
13. Learned how to do an inverted dive.
14. Went to a chiropractor for an adjustment.
15. Bought and are using the Harkins Summer Movie Fun passes.
16. Made stepping stones.
17. Checked out all kinds of military items, hats, knives, compasses, canteens, etc. at a street fair.
18. Ate hot pepper jelly and cream cheese on crackers.
19. Ate smoked Gouda cheese.
20. Made sparkling lemonade with real lemons.
21. Played at a new playground.
22. Ate wild strawberries right off the vine.
23. Watched a family of Bald Eagles.
24. First sleepover at our house.
25. Made it onto the Jumbotron screen at the Diamondbacks game.
We are half way done with our challenge and still have several weeks before school starts again, I’m feeling confident in learning new things right along with my boys. I have been thinking of new things we can add to our list: hiking new trails, go to new pools, eat new foods, go to the Rock gym, camp in new sites, concerts in the park, movie nights at Kiwanis pool, golf at new courses, the possibilities are endless. Will you join this challenge; let me know some of the wonderful places you have experienced with your family. Have a great summer vacation, now get out there and experience new things, big or small!
• Leah Derewicz is a 15-year Ahwatukee Foothills resident. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.