An Intentional Family Summer

I’ve been talking to families a lot in the last few weeks about their summers.  Mostly, the kids talk about what vacations they’re taking and friends they’re planning to have over.  Mostly, the parents talk about time—and time—and time.  And they also talk about ways they’re wanting to see their kids grow this summer.  You may have been thinking something along the same lines.  How can you make your summer more intentional?  How can you come together, not just to fill the time, but to connect in ways that grow your relationships?

This blog is our summer guide to lots of those ideas.

I’ve talked to several parents about having a family challenge this summer.  Each family member comes up with one area in which they’d like to grow.  In fact, it’s been born out of conversations with lots of parents whose kids are struggling with anxiety and/or self-control, in particular.  So, the idea is for each family member to choose a trait or characteristic such as self-control or courage, and to brainstorm together ways they can work on those traits this summer.  Then, they have some type of charting or points system to keep track.  They earn “Courage Points” or “Kindness Points” and can trade those points in for different rewards.  You can be as creative with the challenge as you want.  But it’s one way for your family to grow together and individually, and for your kids to see that you’re learning, too.

A few other ideas to make your summer more intentional and connecting:

Have everyone pick a day this summer and the whole family participates in what they’d like to do for the day (within reason and budget).

Have everyone pick their favorite charity and spend a few hours doing work for that particular charity.

Take family walks.

Go on bike rides together.

Cook dinner together.

Create a family slip and slide or play in the sprinkler together.  (Yes, mom, you too).

Have everyone pick one skill they’d like to learn and learn each together.

And, mostly, we are always advocates for talking.  We found these lists of questions you can talk about with your families—whether you’re stuck in the car for hours, or sitting around the dinner table.

1. If you had just one wish, and it couldn’t be for more wishes, what would you wish for, and why?

2. If you couldn’t watch TV or go online for a month, how would you spend that time?

3. If you had $100 to spend to help people, how would you spend the money?

4. If you could be a famous person for a week, who would you be and why?

5. If you could choose a new name for yourself, what would it be? 

6. If you could go anywhere in the world for a week, where would it be?

7. If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?

8. If you could be the principal of your school for a week, what changes would you make?

9. If you could trade places with someone you know would you do it? Who would it be and why?

10. If the house were on fire and you only had five minutes to get out, what would you grab to take with you?

11. What is your favorite way to relax?

12. How can you tell someone you love them without using words?

13. Do you have any fears? How would your life be different if you overcame that fear?

14. If you could eat just one food, every day, for a month, and nothing else – what would it be?

15. If you could talk to your whole school all at once, what would you say?

16. If you could look into a crystal ball and see your future in ten years, what would you want it to look like?

17. If you could trade places with your parents for a day, how would you do things differently? 

18. If your parents went on a month-long vacation and you could live with anyone you wanted while they were gone, who would you want to live with?

19. Who have you learned the most from so far?

20. If you could have one dream come true, which dream would it be?

1.  What was the best part of your day?

2.  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

3.  If you could be a famous person for a week, who would you be and why?

4.  If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?

5.  If you had one wish (and you can’t wish for more wishes), what would you wish for and why?

6.  If you could eat just one food everyday for a month and nothing else, what would it be?

7.  What is your biggest fear?

8.  What is one way you helped another person today?

9.  If you could trade places with your parents for a day, what would you do differently?

10.  If you could have one dream come true, what would it be?

11.  If you could pick your own name, what would it be?

12.  If you could be animal, what would you be and why?

13.  Which character in a book best describes you and why?

14.  If you could see your future, where will you be in ten years?

15.  If you could be a famous person for a week, who would you be and why?

16.   If you could have any pet, what would you choose and why?

17.  What is your favorite childhood memory?

18.  What three words would you use to describe yourself?

19. What are the qualities that make you a good friend?

20.  What is the nicest thing a friend has ever done for you?

21.  What is your favorite movie and why?

22.  What is your favorite family tradition?

23.  What is your favorite sport to play?

24.  If you could play any instrument, what would it be and why?

25.  What is your favorite holiday and why?

26.  What is one thing you are grateful for today?

27.  What is your favorite book and why?

28.  What has been the happiest day of your life so far and why?

29.  What do you want to be when you grow up and why?

30.  Where would you like to go on our next family vacation?

31.  What is one thing you could have done better today?

32.  Who is one person in your life you are thankful for and why?

33.  What is the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten?

34.  What is your earliest memory?

35.  What is your most embarrassing moment?

36.  What is your least favorite chore?

37.  If you could only eat three foods the rest of your life, what would they be?

38.  If you could have dinner with anyone (past or present), who would it be and why?

39.  If you could stay up all night, what would you do?

40.  What is the most beautiful place you have ever seen?

41.  What is one thing you couldn’t live without?

42.  Who is your best friend and why?

43.  If you had to live in another country, which one would you choose?

44.  What is your greatest talent or ability?

45.  What two items would you grab if your house was on fire?

46.  If you could travel back in time, where would you go?

47.  What is something you want to learn how to do and why?

48.  What would you do if you were a king or a queen?

49.  If you were invisible for a day, what would you want to observe?

50.  If you had the attention of the world for just 10 seconds, what would you say?

Here is a fun, printable conversation game.

And one from Amazon that we love, particularly.

We hope that your summer is filled with conversation, connection, and fun.  We’re grateful for you to be a part of our community as Raising Boys and Girls!