University of Illinois Extension

Make Memories This Summer

Milly Kaiser, Family Life Educator

As a child, do you remember traditions you did with your family? Maybe your family camped during the summer or attended an annual Fourth of July family reunion picnic. If you have fond memories of family traditions, you know how important they are.

As both grandparent and parent, you have the chance to continue traditions that the children enjoy. Or, you might want to start some new summer traditions with the grandkids. Maybe it's a summer vacation. Or, it could be a picnic in the park once a month or a trip to the library once a week. Or, maybe the last night of summer vacation is going out for ice cream night.

Traditions are special ways of doing things that we repeat over and over again. When you use a muscle in your body over and over again in a certain way, it makes the muscle stronger. Sharing experiences again and again in a certain way strengthens a family.

Traditions give families stability and a feeling of belonging. Values and beliefs are reinforced through our traditions. Through the passing of time, we learn the unspoken message of why traditions are created: because family is important.

As summer approaches, start talking about activities you can do together. And, they don't have to cost extra money. Simple activities can become fun and exciting ways to be together. Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a family memory book.
  • Make homemade ice cream.
  • Plan and prepare a special meal together.
  • Watch the August meteor shower.
  • Explore the outdoors and take a picnic lunch.
  • Have pizza and movie night at home.
  • Make and fly your own kites.
  • Plant and care for a garden.

Take some time to talk about your summer plans. Who knows, maybe some of these activities will become traditions in your family. Remember, summertime living with family traditions can be some of the best memories for years to come.