Well, here it is! Summer Break! I figured it was fitting to post for the first time on the last day of school. Kind of an ending to one thing (for a summer) and beginning another!
I think this was the longest school year yet in my 4 years of teaching, but I am going to blame that on my daughter. Not that it was her fault, but that her appearance caused it to feel longer. August was months ago! Looking back, it was a weird time where Mia
only existed in my belly and I could still leave the house without packing up diapers and grabbing my pump and all the bottles that go with it; a time where I only had one bag to load in my front seat. Then came that break in the middle.
Miss Mia was born right at the end of the 1st quarter of the school year and I got to take the second quarter off. I LOVED my maternity leave! For the first time since I started teaching, I didn’t have to think about what lessons needed planning, what bulletin boards needed creating, or what students needed helping. Now don’t get me wrong, it took me a few weeks to let those thoughts go. I mean, I was texting my sub while I was in labor about one of my student’s tests! But, once those thoughts were gone, they were GONE! I had a blissful 2 months of time with my new baby, taking naps and learning our new routine.
Once January rolled around though, my stress levels went up with my responsibilities. Luckily, May finally arrived and we made it through!! My students got smarter (I hope!) and Miss Mia became mobile. (That was another whole adjustment that we are still working through.)
But, now that school is out, I am looking forward to three months where I am in charge of only 1 child instead of 37 and I can clean my house once or even possibly twice a week instead of once a month! Although, everyone has been asking me what I am going to do this summer and this has got me thinking.
“What in the heck am I going to do at home all day??!”
I’ve never spent a summer just at home! All my other years teaching, I spent my summers at various jobs where I interacted with other people. Can I even sit at home all day with only a 7 month old to talk to until 5pm? I guess I did it during my maternity leave, but I was so tired then that I think I slept through half of it! This summer will definitely be different!
So, I decided that I needed to come up with a list of different ways that I could get out of the house this summer with Miss Mia. Now, this list may not seem complete to some of you for a number of reasons:
- Mia is 7 months old (on Thursday!) so I am looking for activities with an infant in mind, not a toddler or school aged child.
- I live in small town, middle of nowhere USA. We don’t have indoor play places or zoos or discovery centers. I could drive to those places no problem, but they are an hour and a half away and I was looking for somewhere I could take her at the drop of a hat for just an hour or two without having to make a whole day of it.
Most areas have all of these options, so hopefully this list gives you a refresher! Be sure to check out this list of 5 Things to Research Before Heading Out to make sure you are prepared! So, without further ado, my (cheap or free) summer activities with baby that also gets mom out of the house!
- A Park – This one is probably a no brainer. The park is MADE for children! They even think about the little ones and make special swings and equipment just for babies. Duh! We have a total number of four parks in this town if you count the ones at the school so this will definitely be a time filler for us!
- Pool – Sorry, I mean the Aquatic Center. Pools now a days are ten times more creative and fun than they were when I was a kid. You can’t just call them pools! Now there are splash fountains, slides, lily pads and beach areas instead of just a rectangular cement hole filled with water. There will be many things Mia can’t do there, but I know splashing on the cement beach will entertain her and I can get some sun. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!!
- Library – I know not every day this summer will be sunny and nice. There will be rain too (we hope!). So, on those days the library is a good option. I need to be better at taking time to read to Mia and picking out some new books will be a good motivator. Our library also has a summer reading program that brings in different children’s acts such as puppets, magic shows, and story times. Mia is probably a too young for many of these acts, but if they have something with lots of color or music, it could be something worth trying.
- Bike Ride – When we go on our extended family vacations, we do a lot of biking. However, I hardly do any at home! My bike is in the garage, collecting dust and it needs to get out! We have access to a bike trailer for Miss Mia to ride around in and there is an abundance of roads in this area to ride on. I only wish there were more bike trails.
- Go on a Hike – While there aren’t really any biking trails around here, there are plenty of places to hike! Although, I don’t know if I would call them trails… They are more like cow paths through the pasture. You just need to have permission from the landowner to do some exploring. There is also one (very small) state park near by. We can find plenty of good views from the tops of hills and check out all sorts of butterflies and nature-y things to see. A stroller is NOT an option here! Time to strap on the baby carrier and feel the burn!
- Go on a Walk – Not up for the aerobic activity of hiking with 18 extra pounds strapped on your back? Yea, I won’t be all the time (okay so maybe hardly any time) either! Therefore, the regular plain jane walk is a very good alternative! We have been on many walks lately since it has been nice and it is a quick activity. It is also a wonderful way to get Mia to sleep when she is extra cranky and won’t settle down. Baby goes in the stroller and mom goes a cruising. All parties get some fresh air and sun! ..There is probably some nature to be found in the neighbor’s flowerbeds. Maybe if I am feeling extra ambitious, I can pick the pace up a bit and jog! (But who am I kidding? Seriously.)
- Visit a Farm (small town zoo) – As I said before, we are located in a small town. Therefore, no zoo! To get your animal fix, it is necessary to visit a farm! Mia has seen goats and cows before but she was younger than and wasn’t really interested. Now she loves to watch our pet kitties and gets obnoxiously excited when one decides to admit she is around and approach her; so, it is time to get her out on the farm and do some petting!
So, there it is: my list of summer activities with baby! While it may seem pretty straight forward, it definitely will come in handy when planning my weeks at home. I am so excited to watch Mia learn and explore the next three months, not to mention chill out without stressing over everyone else! If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments below! We could always use new adventures to go on!