Organize as you may, summertime is loaded with spontaneity. Kids don’t normally plan the way you do. The phone rings and poof! Your day just changed. Somebody’s mother will be by to take Suzie to the pool in 15 minutes. Of course, there are times when you need to breathe your own air for a few seconds, so you send the kids outside to run through the sprinklers. And what about those days when you hear the mountains begging you to grab a few hotdogs, and head to the nearest campsite for a picnic? It happens.
Spontaneous recreation—time to play off the stress of the day—that’s the beauty of summertime. But even spontaneity works better with a little planning. Sure, planned spontaneity sounds like an oxymoron, but bear with me. These simple suggestions will make those unplanned moments run a little more smoothly. Unplanned activities don’t have to be unexpected.
Organize a bag that you keep in the garage, mudroom, or coat closet that’s easy to grab on your way out. Make sure you include sunscreen, water bottles, hats, Chap Stick, etc.
Plan For Water Play
Keep a basket filled with all the kid’s swimsuits, sunblock, towels, and a lock for the locker at the pool. Next time they have a last-minute swim party you can simply grab everything they need at once.
Keep a basket, bin or duffel bag in the garage loaded with roasting sticks, insect repellent, sunblock, and hats so you can simply slip the basket in the back of the car or van and you’re ready for the outdoors. Of course, if you plan to hike or fish, you’ll need to have the appropriate gear close at hand as well.
At the beginning of each season, go through the items in your baskets and bags to be sure they still fit. Toss or donate items you no longer need and items you didn’t use last year to help make packing easier. Keep in mind all the activities you may enjoy at the last minute from swimming at the beach to camping in the desert, and make quick to-go boxes for each activity.
Having something near the door at the ready is a great way to reduce stress when the spontaneity bug hits. What are some ways you prepare for the unplanned events in your summer?