I flashback to my childhood as soon as I start to feel the warmth of summer air. The sun is on my back as I ride my bike to the pool, park and library all over again.

I have so many fond memories of the freedom that came with the summer months. I wish I still had that freedom. Sleeping in. Reading tons of books. Exploring local parks. Heavy sigh.

This year my 5-year-old and 3-year-old get their first summer at home. Every other summer has been spent at daycare.

In my excitement to relive my childhood, we sat the kids down to make a list of things we will do this summer. I will be at work most of the time, but the lucky kids will be home with dad. Some days I will be sad to go off to work and others days I will be running out of the house quickly to the safety (and quiet) of my car.

But, this isn’t about me (right?).

They will be going on mini-adventures throughout the Quad Cities region.

We made a long list with a few odd requests (ride in a submarine?!), but here is a highlight of what made our list:

  1. Nahant Marsh Toddler Tales
  2. Channel Cat
  3. Pool time (this link has a GREAT list)
  4. Splash Pads (again, here is a great list)
  5. Rock throwing at Hennepin Canal
  6. Maquoketa Caves
  7. Figge Art Museum (it’s FREE all summer)
  8. Local Reading Programs (this is a great collection of local ones)
  9. I don’t know. My 5-year-old actually wrote this and I like it. We can decide later! There’s an element of sweet surprise.

And the best part of this list? There is very little scheduling involved. They can happen when they are home with dad or on the weekend when I get to join. Decisions can be made last minute!

We had plans to take a big trip to California, but envisioning two toddlers on a plane we decided that we are going to stick close to home this summer.

There are so many things to do around here and so many options within a few hours of driving. We are going to forego the stress of long travel and enjoy the summer in our backyard.

And we are going to do some of this too.

summer life


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  1. Kim June 21, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    So many fun ideas, Amy! We have done a few, but I think we need to add more to our list.

  2. Amy M Jones June 21, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

    This morning my son asked for the list because he “really wanted to go somewhere.” They went to the Putnam to dig for dinosaur bones!

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