The (in)complete guide to surviving summer

Here it comes: the graduations, the preschool programs, the end of the year parties. All predecessors to the time of year kids look forward to most. Love it or not, SUMMER is {almost} here.

As a child, summer meant endless time with friends outside in the sunshine. In college, it meant a nice break from the regular demands of school and a little extra time at the pool to do some tanning against the recommendation of the dermatologist.

As an adult (and parent), summer can mean all of the above, but mostly it means: WHAT ON EARTH DO I DO TO ENTERTAIN THESE CHILDREN?

So without further introduction, here’s a list of ideas I’ve compiled to help you answer that question without having to do too much of your own independent research.

IMG_22581)  GET IN THE WATER. This one comes first because, Florida. And it mixes great with temperatures in the 90s, which kicked off at the start of this month. Gather some friends and hit the pool or the beach. We are fortunate to have some incredible neighborhood pools in the area, complete with kid splash zones and bathrooms. This option is great if you’re up for a more low-maintenance day that doesn’t require much planning above some snacks, swim diapers, and towels.  

IMG_2257We’re also fortunate to have some great beaches in the area. On a weekday, the local beach accesses in and around Neptune Beach and South Jax Beach offer some great spots to park (for free) with some fun tide pools where the kids can play. Bonus tip: keep it low key and go in the afternoon when the condo buildings offer some shade so you don’t have to lug the umbrella!

2) JUMP AROUND. Okay, this one costs a bit of money, but I’ve found it to be well worth the expense (read: longer nap time forIMG_2261 the little ones). Indoor trampoline parks like Rebounderz and Velocity Air Sports are a super fun way to wear out the kids and get some exercise for yourself, too. Our family typically goes to Velocity, and they have a little kids jump time every Monday through Friday from 9 – 10am where kids (6 and under) jump for $10 and caregivers jump for free. For my fellow non-morning people (we don’t get anywhere by 9), you just have to enter by 10am and the deal is still good. Please note: kids over age 6 can’t jump until 10am, so if you’ve got older kids, keep that in mind. Visit the Velocity website for more information.

3) STORY TIME. Jump in on a story time at one of many locations throughout Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Public Library has numerous branches throughout our city that offer story time for all ages. The main branch downtown has the added perk of Sweet Pete’s being nearby, which has three floors of sugary fun.  

Story times are also available at Barnes and Noble and Pottery Barn Kids. If you’ve got older ones, let them play on the nook tablets in the Barnes and Noble or try their hand at adult coloring in the store.

4) GET MESSY. Spray some shaving cream on a table and let the little ones draw in it. They think you’re the coolest and it wipes off easily when they’re done. Bonus! It smells like you cleaned your house (and your kids). Other suggested messes include water balloons, sidewalk chalk (or sidewalk paint!). For friends with kids who like to explore new things by tasting them, add some food coloring to plain yogurt to make some yogurt finger paint!

IMG_2281 (1)

5) WORK IT OUT. Check out local gym options. Ideas for the younger ones include TNT, My Gym, Bay and Bee, and Gymboree. If you’re a YMCA member, take advantage of the childcare and summer camps for the kids and get in a workout for yourself. That option not for you? Check out Strong Fit that meets at Chets Creek Church or Jax Stroller Strength, which offers fun exercise classes at the Beaches, Riverside, San Marco, Mandarin, and Nocatee.


My secret workout plan? Youtube. There are TONS of channels that offer fun, high-quality workouts of all types for all levels. I’m currently hooked on Yoga with Adriene, which has added a a nice element of exercise to my day.  My son also enjoys doing “down dog” with me, since I told him he gets to pretend that he’s a pup from Nickelodeon’s “Paw Patrol”.

6) Keep an eye on Jax Moms Blog. No need for me to reinvent the wheel here with a comprehensive list. Jacksonville Moms Blog has numerous resources for summer fun. They’ve also got neighborhood groups (i.e. Southside Moms, Beaches Intracoastal Moms, etc.), so be sure to join your respective group or groups on Facebook.

A few tips on top of the above suggestions:

  • Don’t forget the SPF. It is already HOT out there and the bright sun is beautiful, but can do a number on your skin. We remember our kiddos, but are we lathering ourselves, too?
  • Strength in numbers. Beach with 3 kids sound like a chore? Text a few friends or put a shout out on the Chets Women Facebook page to encourage others to join you.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you put on real pants to go to the store, that’s a win, but you can’t always be a winner, you know? And, let’s be honest, sometimes a trip to Target in my yoga pants is all the energy I’ve got for the day, and that’s okay. The children will live.

Hope you kick off your summer with a lot of fun!  Add to the conversation and share your own tips in the comments and/or on our Chets Women Facebook page. Cheers!

12014987_10106673537993213_9060993253906575158_o{This post was written by Laura Wilson. Laura is wife to Aaron, mommy of two cutie pies, and a speech language pathologist at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. She serves on the Chets Women Communications team. As a mom, she carries an artillery of goldfish and toys everywhere she goes. She loves learning more about the Lord from his word, her family, and Starbucks.}

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