It’s June, and the little ones are ready to start their summer vacation. No more homework or studying for tests. No more early alarm clocks (for them at least). The question is, how are you going to fill up their time? Maybe there are summer camps and long family vacations, but for many children, the days will be filled by hanging around the house or the community pool. Here are three ideas that can create wonderful memories for your family.

Read the book/Watch the movie

A lifetime ago I took a summer course in college that had us reading novels, watching the movie, and writing papers about the differences. We read/saw such titles as “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” or “Schindler’s List.” Granted this is not family-friendly entertainment, but think about the options you do have. There are the Dr. Seuss books, the Percy Jackson series, Harry Potter or Narnia. There are classics like “Huck Finn” or “Little Women,” “Charlotte’s Web” or “The Indian in the Cupboard.” There are many choices for you and your family to choose from. For the younger children, the books are shorter, so you can probably get through a bunch more than reading a Harry Potter book.

Once you have completed one, you can sit and talk about the differences between the movie and the book. You can discuss which was more enjoyable, and teach them how to get angry when they make decisions that completely change the story for the movie (I’m looking at you “Bourne Identity”!) For school-aged children this is a terrific way to keep their minds sharp and get them reading throughout their break.

It’s photo opp time!

Just about every handheld piece of technology has a camera in it these days. Here’s a chance to get the little ones to visualize their surroundings. You can create short daily projects like a photo scavenger hunt, where they must find things in their back yard and take a picture. You can also turn them into little documentarians by having them take a picture (or 20) each day. Who wouldn’t want to capture the moments when you went to go see the Greenville Drive, or walked around Falls Park, maybe had ice cream outside or just had fun at the pool? At the end of the summer, you can turn these pictures into a slide show or photo book. Years from now, you’ll look back and enjoy the memories.

Family dinner night

I’m sure you have seen those short videos on how to make something that looks beyond delicious, right? You watched, a bit of drool developed at the corner of your mouth, and you said to yourself, “I want to try that.” What’s stopping you? Better yet, why aren’t you letting your kids do it? Granted, some of them can be a little difficult, but many are straight forward recipes. With some help and guidance from an adult (no one puts a trip to the ER in their daily itinerary), your children can make some tasty treats and be proud of themselves while doing it. The ambitious adults can even turn cooking into a math lesson.

I hope these ideas give you and your family great enjoyment this summer. I’d love to hear about it. You can email me at Have a great summer!

Talk to Victor: Victor Alfieri is an avid music fan who has three children with his wife, Stephanie. Connect at and @VictorWordkr.

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