Photo: Melissa & Doug LLC

With the pace at which all seem to be moving these days, it’s no wonder we don’t experience much wonder in our immediate world. Every season has its moments of wonder, no doubt, but for children, summer offers the opportunity to step off the school and activity treadmill and bask in the glow of long, sunny days with nothing to do. To discover the awe within ourselves, we must first discover the awe that exists right before us — and summer is the perfect time to experience that magic.

The warmer weather and longer days mean more hours for outdoor exploration. And there’s nothing like a little time in nature, whether it’s the park, the woods, or the backyard, to ignite the senses and spark a child’s imagination. Teaching a toddler or preschooler how to slow down, lay back and find pictures in the clouds can be an AWE-some moment. Encouraging a child to climb a tree or follow a firefly may give them just the nudge they need to get off their screens and experience the world in a physical, sensory-engaged way.

For my family, summer means being outdoors for as many moments as we can and engaging in the activities we cannot enjoy the rest of the year. There is nothing more rewarding than walking to our garden and picking a vegetable right off the vine and eating it within seconds. (Just this weekend we picked asparagus!)  I told my children that this is even fresher than farm to table — it is farm to mouth!

We also love any activity involving water on a hot day — water balloon fights, running through the sprinkler, and swimming in the nearby ocean. And best of all — of course, this also involves food — are summer barbecues with that tantalizing smell of the grill tickling our taste buds. We love eating outdoors, basking in the warmth and laughter of family and friends until bedtime as long passed!

Making Time for Moments of Wonder

As we grow older, we come to realize that the little moments in life — these “moments of wonder” are actually the big things in life and often the fondest of memories. We must ensure that these moments aren’t lost in the midst of today’s frenetic and overscheduled childhood. I’ve put together a list of some of my own favorite moments — little ideas for simple acts that will hopefully make for a magical summer!

Here are 25 Moments of Wonder for Summer to get you started:

1. Have a water balloon fight

2. Set up a lemonade stand

3. Catch fireflies; let them go

4. Try a fresh summer fruit

5. Build a sandcastle

6. Eat a meal outside

7. Go for a hike

8. Draw on the sidewalk with chalk

9. Smell freshly cut grass

10. Sleep with the windows open

11. Play catch to 50+ with no drops

12. Blow bubbles

13. FREE TIME Do what you ♥!

14. Swing as high as you can

15. Pick a bouquet of flowers

16. Run through a sprinkler

17. Lie on a blanket in the grass

18. Float in a pool

19. Make your own ice pops

20. Wade in shallow water

21. Search for a 4-leaf clover

22. Set up an obstacle course

23. Have a scavenger hunt

24. Collect seashells or shiny pebbles

25. Eat corn on the cob

You can also check out similar lists I created for all seasons, plus an expanded one for summer. To make things easy, print out our “Adventures in Wonder” bingo card, hang it on your refrigerator, and challenge your kids to see how many they can accomplish over the coming weeks. I guarantee it will give them (and you!) a fresh new perspective on the world! I’ve also provided a blank bingo card that you can use to come up with your own “wonder-filled” sparks for your family!