Six Ways to Refuel This Summer

What would music sound like if there were no rests? Rests provide a break, add dimension, and empower the actual notes, adding emphasis and meaning to the music. The same can be said of our own lives. If we continually go, go, go, the music of our lives becomes monotonous, robotic, and draining. Rests are essential for the beauty of the piece.

As parents, we often think that in order for our kids to have a good summer we need to pack it with activities, camps, and scheduled family vacations. What might be the most beneficial activity is a lack there-of. Creativity blossoms in down time. Energy is renewed. Clarity comes in the quiet moments, never in the noise. This is not to say that the entire summer should be spent lounging around doing nothing. A song made only of rests would be, well, non-existent. It is important to have good activities and engaging moments with our kids during the summer. However, the down time is just as important.

The following are a few suggestions of how to create down time that refuels instead of drains and fosters creativity instead of numbing the mind:

  • Take a blanket out on the grass, and just lie down and look up at the clouds. See what shapes you can find. Make up a story about what the shapes/characters you see in the clouds are doing.
  • Make mud pies with your kids. Remember how fun that was? I remember my mom would let me take of few of the spices she didn’t use very often and some flour outside with me to help create my masterpiece. I was careful to measure and mix thoroughly. I am sure this is where my excellent cooking skills got their start.
  • Go to the library and spend a few hours just looking at books and reading on the soft bean bags in the corners. It is nice to just browse without having to find a book for research or a report. Pitcher and glass of Lemonade
  • Use sidewalk chalk, and draw pictures or a hopscotch board. Jump rope. Use a hula-hoop. Bounce a ball.
  • Run through the sprinklers.
  • Make lemonade, sit on the porch, and just...relax.

Take a few moments to help your kids and yourself refuel this summer. Add dimension and beauty to your life’s music. Find the perfect places to add rests now and then. Be present in the moment. These will undoubtedly be the best moments of your summer.


Shantell Berrett has a B.A. in English specializing in reading and dyslexia.  She has three wonderful kids ages 13, 11, and 7.  Her 11 year old son has dyslexia and is the reason she works in this field in writing, research and educating in schools and at home. Visit her website at ReadingHorizonsAtHome.com.

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