22 Ways I’m Gifting My Kids A Happy Summer

The secret to learning how to raise happy children is time well spent. Try this list of summer fun to engage kids and to skyrocket your family happiness.

BONUS: There is a free download of all 52 Dinner Conversations Ideas at the end of this post! Enjoy!

1. I’ll make rainbow pancakes for breakfast.

2. I’ll let them help cook–even if the word “rainbow” is right there in the recipe title.

3. I’ll love the days that we change straight from pajamas to swimsuits back into pajamas.

3. I’ll let them collect dandelion bouquets, spray the hose, water the flowers, make chalk balls, walk barefoot.

4. I’ll skip saying we don’t need those, stay dry, stay clean.

5. I’ll start a movie after bedtime.

6. We’ll sit around bonfires, after dark, until it’s cold enough to need sweatshirts. And then we’ll sit within the stillness of those first few minutes after it’s out, within the slip between trading the light of the fire with the light of the moon.

7. We’ll burn marshmallows for s’mores–lots of them.



8. We’ll go to movies in the park and music in the park and Farmer’s Markets in the park. We’ll go to pretty much anything in the park.

9. We’ll ride our bikes a little further than I want to.

10. We’ll cover the driveway in chalk and I won’t say a word about the dust and the clothes and the knees and the fingerprints. But I will say a lot about the furrowed brows and the focused eyes and the side-by-side-ness and the colors and the sound of chalk against driveway. (*Which is somehow so much better than on chalkboard. Why is that?)

11. I’ll teach them how to make the ultimate summer decision: Pool or beach. (**Pool if you want to swim, beach if you want to play.)

12. We’ll go on a hike, early in the morning, before it gets too hot, even if anyone-someone-more than one someone says they don’t want to go.

13. We’ll play cards games. Lots of them.


14. We’ll stop at lemonade stands. I’ll keep extra coins in the car so we can all get lemonade. Every time. And leave a hard-earned tip.

15. We’ll have a lemonade stand of our own. Maybe even more than one.

16. We’ll spend a whole day fishing.

17. We’ll go for walks after dinner.

18. We’ll take the dog with us on more outings than not.

19. We’ll have ice cream for dinner.

20. We’ll sleep outside–all of us.

21. I’ll say yes when they ask, “Can we have a sleepover?”

22. And I’ll say no when they ask, “Do you know what we should do?”




With just five days left until my kids trade school days for summer ones, I don’t actually have a plan for weaving between moments of  work with moments of summer, for tying summer with a neat bow.

In the earlier days of my young motherhood, this would have been a disaster. But today I’m thinking it’s more about choosing slow, choosing grateful, choosing s’mores. Here’s to mornings in pajamas and evenings by the fire.

Great Resources For Summer Parenting:

“What a Hands Free Summer Looks Like” by Rachel Macy Stafford is a wonderful guide to “setting up” summer with your kids.

“Quit telling me it’s not cool I’m happy for summer…and having my kids home.” by Stephanie Dulli is a straight-forward ode to wanting to have our kids at home.

“Freezer Meals for Moms” by Alice Seuffert is my guide for enjoying summer days outside with my family instead of in the kitchen.

A Kindness Wins Story

A dear friend and mother of two, Carmen, gifted me this note when she finished reading my book, Kindness Wins.

“Thank you for writing Kindness Wins. I read it last night and feel like I’ve been given such a wonderful gift. I feel so much better equipped to navigate the online world with my kids now. I’ve been so afraid to say yes to social media with my tween. You helped me see that social media is a way that kids are connecting these days and it’s not my job to restrict my kids from engaging in that but rather to help them navigate it with kindness. And I love that you gave concrete ways of how to do that! A million thanks for Kindness Wins and for all the kindness you spread into this world!”

When we see and read and hear about all of the ugly things that happen on social media, it’s easy to get lost in that noise and forget that social media is actually pretty amazing. It has gifted me friendships and opportunities and beauty in spades.

And I want all of that for our kids.

So Carmen is absolutely spot on here–it’s not our job to keep our kids away from social media. Would that even be possible? It’s our job to teach them how to maneuver it well, to talk to them about it when it’s hard, and to help them come back from the mistakes they, and their friends, are sure to make. #kindnesswins


It makes my heart soar seeing where Kindness Wins has been! I compile all of the photos in Mapping Our Kindness. Please consider this an invitation to send me your stories and photos to galit breen @ gmail . com

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Yes! What a great list to celebrate summer! Rainbow pancakes are such a hit in our house! Even the adults enjoy them;) Thanks so much for sharing Freezer Meals for Moms. I hope our families spend many summer days and nights together this year. XO

  2. Beautiful list! I agree, such actions, words, and freedoms are truly GIFTS for our children! I love your spirit and feel so honored by the mention of my blog post today! XO

  3. I foresee an amazing summer ahead for the Breens! :)

  4. sounds like the perfect summer and it sounds like exactly how summer should be spent. Today is my daughters last day of school and mine is Monday. I can’t wait to suck up every single ounce of every single minute of summer with them. We are as equally excited as you are!

  5. YES!! To all of these wondrous moments to be had this summer!! Thank you for inspiring me to seize them all, and embrace the beauty of all that summer is, with my kids…

    LOVE what Kindness Wins is doing out there… The virtual world is being transformed, one book at a time!!

  6. Marvelous. Perfect marvelousness.

  7. Number 22 is perfect.
    My parents never came up with ideas for what my sister and I should do.
    We’re so busy scheduling “enrichment” for our kids all the time, they never get to come up with their own activities.

    Downtime is key. For our sanity. For our imagination.

    For everyone.

    p.s. I want that s’more.

  8. Oh how I miss carefree summers like this when my kids where young. (Yes to everything at the park!) I still drag my 14 (15 by summer) and 18 year old to the concerts in the park. They claim not to like it anymore, but I don’t believe them. (Especially since sometimes when we’re there they get ice cream for dinner!)

    Such a lovely post!

  9. I love this whole list- I’m so excited for summer vacation, to get my kids back for a whole unscheduled, un-agenda-ed, un-planned two months!

  10. This is quite similar to a post I just published. 😉 Summer Rocks!

    And I love the note from Carmen – that must feel SO good to read, Galit! #KindnessDOESwin! 😀



  1. […] shares 22 Ways I’m Gifting My Kids a Happy Summer. I love her attitude and I plan on stealing some of her fabulous […]

  2. […] 22 Ways I’m Gifting My Kids A Happy Summer is, by far, the most-viewed post on my blog. This makes me endlessly happy. […]