By: Kathryn Jackson
I talk a lot about how hard this year has been for us moms, but my heart aches when I think what my little ones have gone through over the course of the pandemic. They lost their grandfather, desperately missed their friends, and couldn’t fully understand why they weren’t allowed to their Mimi in the nursing home. That’s why we wanted to do our very best to make this summer feel magical, exciting, and healing for them.
In May, my husband and I sat down and made a game plan. We talked through the big picture: overall, what do we want this summer to feel like for our kids? Then, we discussed the milestones like trips and birthdays, then our daily tasks and responsibilities. My favorite part of our planning session was thinking through each of our kids’ personalities, what they love and what excites them, and how we could make each of them feel seen and recognized.
And then the idea hit us: summer adventure bags!
We got our kids together and told them that this summer was going to be an amazing adventure, full of mysteries and exciting journeys, and gave them each a suitcase full of items chosen specifically for them. Some of the items were wrapped and included a note that said, “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL X,” and some of them were unwrapped for everyday use.
The wrapped gifts coincide with fun surprises, like a trip to the zoo, a family bike ride to get ice cream, and picking out flowers for our yard. The unwrapped gifts are items like a “best friend” bracelet to give to a friend, a paint set, and stickers to place on the item of their choosing (within reason, of course). To say the least, this was a hit with my kids.
Here are a few items in each of their bags:
- A toy excavator, which he will use ALL summer to help mommy in the garden
- Wrapped binoculars for a surprise visit to the zoo
- A “sky nook” hammock
- Swimming shoes (wrapped, for a surprise river day with his best friend)
- Wrapped hot pink nail polish for an at-home “spa night” with mom
- “Young chemist” project kit
- Hair chalk, washable hair color
- A wrapped gift certificate to a local soap shop, for a surprise soap making workshop
Comment below to let me know what you would put in your kids’ adventure bags!