Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bucket of Summer Fun and Gratitude

Summertime is all about the FUN. Most of us use summer as the time to {try} to fit in all the fun activities we have mentally accumulated in our minds. How is it even possible for our kids to get "bored" with the string of ideas and activities constantly available in our generation?! Life is so action packed, with to do's written in the margins, that "BORED" starts to sound like a positive word that we all treasure.

This season my heart was conflicted as I started to plan some fun activities for the boys. If I constantly GAVE to the kids, and filled their life with pleasure it would result in them becoming takers not givers, spoiled not sweet, and selfish not giving. Of course I still wanted to sprinkle delight into their summertime but I desired to find a way to help teach them gratitude and a servant's spirit as well.

So, I made a
This bucket holds folded cards that are sealed shut with stickers. There are some solid colored cards AND also some checkered cards. The solid cards have EXTRA fun activities and the checkered cards have service tasks and show ways to help others.

Once a week they get to draw 2 cards from the bucket, one fun and one helping card! There is that little heart pitter - pattering rush of anticipation for little ones when they draw unknown surprises out of a bucket....and even more intrigue if the surprise message is sealed shut with a sticker! It's these little details that make ALL the difference for kids!

After the 2 cards are drawn, they are attached to the bucket for the week to remind us of the upcoming treats planned for the days ahead!

One activity will be an act of service. Once the act of service is completed, the boys can then do their fun activity.

List of Ideas to Use:
Acts of Service:
Pick up trash in your community

Bake cookies for your neighbors

Sweep your loved one's driveway

Help a friend of family member with chores

Summer Fun Activities:
Family Game Night
Farmers Market, Rodeo, or other community event

Hike with picnic
Lake and Beach day
Day trip to tourist town

The RODEO was our first treat
and Dakotah decided to make a BIG sign to hold up during the rodeo...
it was SUPER cute!

To summarize, the boys and I sat down, making butterfly legs in a circle and had our own pow wow...this is what we are learning...

1) We are going to practice 3 things when we are doing FUN STUFF:
having a grateful heart,
feeling lucky inside for what we get to do,
and being genuinely excited
for the opportunity to enjoy life.

2) We are also learning that it will help our hearts be healthy if we learn to serve others and give instead of always take. We decided that we don't want to be takers, spoiled, or selfish.

3) And we will practice having a grateful mindset, always happy and thankful for every single opportunity and blessing in life.

I drilled these 3 things
OVER AND OVER with the boys
so I hope they have it!

and a little PS...Summer Journals!
One more teeny tiny idea before I wrap this up...most every summer since the boys were little we've taken a blank tablet of art paper and made a summer journal of our activities done during the season. The boys would draw pictures when they were small, then later write special memories. It's a super cute keepsake. This helped seal gratitude in their little hearts as they summarized in a journal their summer fun!

This was a photo from a few years ago (look how TINY Titus is!!)
making journals with their cousins

Enjoy your summer fun and be grateful
for every second we EACH have to enjoy
this beautiful life!

This post is linked to: Lovin It, Inspired Room, Show off your stuff, Spotlight Yourself, Show and Tell, Works for Me Wednesday, Today's Creative Blog, Toot Your Horn Tuesday, Topsy Turvy Tuesdays, Making the World Cuter, Tuesdays Unwrapped, Show and Share Day


Sunshine said...

I just love this post! You are truly teaching your boys to have deep seated happiness in their hearts from joyfully serving others and joyfully savoring all the summer fun times as well. How blessed they are to have you for their mom!

Jane said...

What a wonderful idea...the fun bucket! Wish I had thought of that when the guys were young. Your boys are gaining such a healthy perspective that will serve them well into adulthood. I especially love the idea of a journal. This not only gives them a reminder of activities and thoughts from years past, but it teaches them to put thoughts on paper. It will help them all through their lives. Well done!
And how very generous for you to share these ideas with others. I am passing your blog info to several young moms I know... They will LOVE getting to know you.

Jane (artfully graced)

caveman said...

Titus is so little in that picture. Time goes so quickly, huh? I love what you are doing for our boys. It was fun hearing each of them tell me what they learned during your pow-wow. Kotah was literally beaming. There is not a better momma anywhere! We are all lucky to have you.

Sarah said...

Such a great idea! Love the fun bucket! I don't have any children yet...Hmm, maybe I can do this with my hubby! :) said...

VERY important life lessons to be sure! I stress this to my son continually - using each opportunity to reinforce that we're BLESSED and to those whom much is given, much is expected! Pay it forward in service to others and to Him.

My son and I were out recently grocery shopping. While my husband was putting the shopping cart back and we were in the car, my son started talking about something that he wanted. Two cars away was a man that we've come to see every week at the same parking lot - with all of his possessions in his car. I discretely pointed this out to my son...delicately trying to explain to him how very fortunate we are to have what we have and how many others are not so lucky. I don't want him to take for granted the many blessings he has and I want him to learn the importance of service to others and a grateful heart.

Love this post, Lisa :)


Sarah Larsen said...

What a cute idea!

Ms. Bake-it said...

When my boys were growing up I did something very similar. We used a fish bowl and ours was all year long with activities for school breaks and weekends and then a special one for summer. We did the journals at summer's end. I still have the journals my boys created and I love going back and reading them. It is like watching them grow up all over again. At 19 and 23, my boys still enjoy helping others.

I am glad you posted about all these ideas! We did not have this outlet when I was a young mother. Hopefully, it will inspire other mothers to do the same or something similar. The rewards are many.

~ Tracy

Rebecca said...

Lisa both of these ideas are phenomenal! I am bookmarking this! And showing it to my husband soon, haha!

Diana Ferguson said...

Great idea!!! The things they will learn and do will stay with them for years.

annies home said...

I love this idea it is something that I may do with my first grade sunday school class but I will definetly store away to do with my granchildren when they are old enough

Becca said...

I LOVE THIS!! I know my kids would love this too! A lot of times the service activity is just as much fun for them too!

Our Hopeful Home said...

LoVe the bucket! Great idea, I'll have to try it with my three.

johanna said...

Oh, this post was really inspiring for me. My husband and I talked a lot about it, he will use your idea at his work (he's a teacher) and we will be using it att home whit our own kids aswell. Thank you SO much for reminding us what's really important!

Holly Lefevre said...

What a wonderful idea. I think the idea of having a fun and a service activity is fabulous. You truly have some amazing ideas. The rodeo looks like fun too. Great ideas for the service activity too. We only have a few weeks left of summer...but a few weeks is better than nothing...we need this! Now I am going to vote for you!

Kristen said...

wow! This post was like sitting in church and hearing exactly what you needed to hear. It's not only a great idea to teach kids but adults as well! GREAT JOB LIS!!!

Staci J said...

What a great idea! so sweet, so fun, such a grea thing to teach our kids...
Visiting from

Kelly Miller said...

Love this! We already do journals, but the gratitude bucket is right up our alley. TFS!

Sandy said...

I too love this post.. so many parents let their kids wander around the house aimlessly without anything to do.. they get bored!
Great Post!

Kindra-At Home With K said...

What a wonderful post! I can't wait to do these ideas with my 2 boys. :)

Ashlee Marie said...

Thanks for linking up to my Topsy Turvy Tuesday's! Please come back and link again! You've got some great summer ideas here! Thanks again!