Summer is my favorite time of year. It used to be Fall, and I still love the colors, the crunching leaves and walking through Highland Park with coffee, but now that I have a school-aged child, I look forward to Summer in a way I never have before. I so enjoy having my girl home for three months now and when Kindergarten ended last year, I knew I wanted to do something fun to make the Summer a big deal and a three-month adventure. So last year, mid-purchase, I decided that we now have a tradition we call Summer Adventure Notebooks.
Here’s the basic idea: Summer should be fun, and truly anything can be made into an adventure with the right lead-in, proper labels (sort of like how broccoli is “magic trees”) and the right tone of voice. I decided to make sure that every week we had an adventure and honestly, a couple weeks that was a coffee date, or a donut tour of the Twin Cities. Other weeks we chronicled a Fourth of July weekend road-trip to a family reunion.
The best part is how easy it is to get all you need to get this fun little tradition started: notebooks, pens/markets/colored pencils/crayons, and a list of places you want to explore for the summer. I let them choose whatever notebook they want, even if dark pink and red pages don’t make for the easiest drawing entries. 😉
We even grabbed a book for our little guy, just so he wasn’t left out.
We start our Summer Adventures at the Mara-Mi store in Stillwater. This is where our journey started last year and it’s now a tradition. We’ve secured our notebooks for this year and are ready to go. Of course you can get your notebooks at Target, but I highly recommend the first outing and purchasing of these notebooks to be part of the excitement. I love Stillwater and it has a built in stationary store with amazing (lower than Target) prices on adorable goodies. Another reason I recommend local is that often you can continue the adventure outside. Choose a local boutique in a fun neighborhood and then explore that area after for your first entry in those shiny new notebooks – Patina and Bibelot each have multiple locations in fun areas, Paperista is near 50th and France, and that’s just the tip of the stationary iceberg.
We grab a bunch of pens and markers to start the summer and a cookie just for fun. My 1st-grader is doing a date on each page and the location of our adventure, then writing all about it afterwards. My four-year-old just draws pictures of where we’ve been which are…well, it’s a lot of self portraits. Because when you’re four, life is pretty much all about you, right?
Notebooks in hand, we started to wander. Boats to watch, a river to run next to and our Summer Adventures were off to a great start. Here’s one last tip: we also have an Adventure Bag. It’s literally just a bag I had that fit the bill. I use it because then they can only use their notebooks if we’re heading off to an adventure, and all of those special pens and markers stay there all summer too. I want to do this every year and keep the notebooks to look back on, seeing the differences each year. My kiddos can go through a notebook in 24 hours – this one little tip might just get your notebooks to last the full summer, and they have a blast running to grab the Adventure Bag before we run out the door.
And of course, a photo shoot. Because why else would you go anywhere if not to beg your mom to take a picture of you in every location?