Skip to main content

Summertime Do’s: Getting the Most From Your Summer Months

May 18, 2015 05:08PM ● Published by Laurie Fox

We spend all year yearning for the warmth and longer days of summer. Time to make the annual bucket list: family trips, kid’s camps that foster new hobbies, downtime spent with sidewalk chalk, water guns and popsicles. But before we know it, those three months that we looked forward to have evaporated before we even stopped to enjoy them. If we’re not careful, our best summer intentions can give way to doing the same things year after year.

So how do we maximize those precious few months to make sure we’re fitting in our summer priorities? It takes a game plan that involves the whole family, some research and an open mind.

The good news is, some of the best summer plans don’t always have to involve trips to Walt Disney World. Catching up with extended family, taking a weekend road trip or making homemade ice cream doesn’t require much money, just some forethought.

“We think that things are just going to happen, but we have to be intentional,” says Suzanne Stevenson, the family life education program manager at The Parenting Center in Fort Worth. “If you’re not intentional about what you want to do in the summer, the days fly by and before you know it, it’s August.”

Stevenson advises holding a family meeting before summer begins and ask everyone about what they want to do. Some things, like trips, should be organized and budgeted for. Keep some time open for things like at-home science experiments or growing a container herb garden, she recommends.

Stevenson says her kids enjoyed visiting family in Louisiana where they could catch crawfish and swing their feet from the side of the fishing dock. One summer, she says, she and her children made it their mission to visit every park in Arlington. So they packed a lunch and set out, even developing a rating system for each one. Busy working families can set aside time together by turning off the television at night and playing games or going to the library on the weekends.

“It’s not always about the season pass to Six Flags or Hurricane Harbor,” she says. “Some of the best memories come from the simple things. Just time spent together is really important.”

Get The Kids Involved

Dan Dipert, who built his Arlington travel agency into a local institution, says summer is the ideal time to set out with his grandchildren to explore different parts of the country. He started the tradition with his wife years ago and now his grandchildren, ages 10 and 14, get in on the act by helping to plan.

“The most important thing is involving the kids in it,” he says. “They need choices because that gives them buy-in.”

To further encourage their involvement, he gives his grandchildren spending money each day that is equal to their age. They can spend it or save it as they go, he says. The family also camps out and prepares meals together, too, on some trips.

The group has explored Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia together as part of an American Revolution-themed trip. Last year, they flew to Las Vegas, rented a recreational vehicle and drove through national parks in Arizona and Utah. It’s all about making it an adventure, he says.

“The key to travel that people don’t realize is that it keeps you from having tunnel vision,” says Dipert. “It helps kids understand that people are like them and they can fit in based on their attitude. It teaches them that something else exists besides them.”

Don’t Break the Bank

Tom Parsons has made exploring through travel his life’s work. The CEO of Bestfares.com says that summer is a popular time to travel and that can mean more expensive flights. But he says families shouldn’t be deterred because with a little tenacity, flexible dates and planning ahead, they can put together memorable trips.

“Most of us have cabin fever from one of the weirdest winters I’ve seen in a long time,” Parsons says. “Summer is a great time to get out together as a family and travel.”

To avoid some of the high cost of travel, Parsons recommends booking trips as soon as you know your available vacation dates. If your dates are variable and you have your heart set on a particular destination, he suggests checking back often on flights because they often can change with little notice.

“You have to keep watching,” says Parsons. “Check back and change the days that you’re flying, especially in the middle of the week. Stay after it.”

Being a resourceful travel planner means considering all the options of summer travel, he says. For popular destinations like Florida, he suggests flying one-way into the state and renting a car. Some rental car companies in June are offering low-cost deals when you rent a car in one state and drop it off in another.

Mid-June also is a good time to keep an eye out for Southwest Airlines’ anniversary fare sale. Now that the Love Field-based carrier can fly non-stop due to the Wright Amendment repeal last fall, fares across the board have become more competitive, says Parsons.

International travel to Canada and Europe still is pricey thanks to landing fees and fuel surcharges. But fares to China, Hong Kong and Central America recently have become more reasonable, he says.

For short-haul flights within 300-400 miles of Dallas, Parsons recommends driving, especially with the current low fuel costs.

Parsons also urges families to be aware of additional fees on many airlines for booking seats together and for sending minor children unaccompanied on airline trips. Some of these fees can add up to hundreds of dollars. 

Summer Camp

Summer also is an ideal time to indulge your kids’ desire for independence or for them to develop new skills. Summer camps throughout North Texas offer everything from robotics to theater, horseback riding to jewelry making. Some are nostalgic - think canoeing, campfires and cabins - while others are cutting edge and offered on college campuses.

Tarrant County College has been staging its College For Kids enrichment program for decades. Local campuses offer students in grades 1-8 half-day camps and classes that run for several weeks. They bolster academic subjects like math, reading and foreign languages and teach other skills like music and arts and crafts.

“There’s no stress, no tests,” says Terry Aaron, director of continuing education for the Tarrant County College Southeast campus in Arlington. “We want them to come and learn something new and have fun while they’re doing it.”

Aaron says taking classes on a real college campus gets younger students comfortable with higher education and boosts their self-esteem and self-efficacy as well.

“It builds confidence and helps them know that they can do whatever they want to do in life,” she says.

Summer will be here - and gone - before you know it. So take some time to consider what you and your family want to remember about it. Then jump right in. 

Our 2015 Summer Activities Guide has a few good DFW-area camps to enjoy, such as the Dallas Zoo and Music Place Mansfield. See the guide here.

Read More

Web Extra SpringSummer Activities and Events - May 18 2015 0506PM

Web Extra: Spring/Summer Activities and Events

Plan your staycation right here in the Metroplex with these things to do. Read More » 

 

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Mansfield Magazine's free newsletter to get regular updates



Embed this content on your website

Embed
Home+Garden, In Print in this issue spring 2015 summer opinion
  • Holiday Sip & Shop

    10/18/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Need to get ahead in your holiday shopping or maybe just need some retail therapy? Stop by the bi...


  • 2017 Mansfield Farmers Market

    10/21/2017
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    In continuous operation since 2004, the Mansfield Farmers Market has experienced a renaissance in...


  • Mini Bio Blitz

    10/21/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Nature lovers, join us for a Fall mini Bio Blitz where we will document the organisms at Oliver ...


  • LARGEST Fall Festival in Ellis County Presented by: Methodist Mansfield Medical Center Start...


  • Get Growing Mansfield

    10/21/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Mansfield Water Utilities has partnered with the Mansfield Farmer's Market to present Get Growing...


  • Brunch Time!

    10/21/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Watch our resident critters enjoy their Brunch every Saturday at 10am! Our arachnids and amphibia...


  • Fall Scavenger Hunt

    10/21/2017
    01:00PM — 02:30PM

    Come see Oliver Nature Park during fall to explore how nature changes with the seasons. Enjoy a ...


  • Pumpkin Help-Create Events at Vetro

    10/21/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Are you "pumped" up for pumpkin season? Join us at Vetro Glassblowing Studio & Gallery during the...


  • Trunk-or-Treat + Pumpkin Palooza

    10/21/2017
    05:00PM — 09:00PM

    Any family, business, or community group is welcome to participate. This is a great opportunity t...


  • Maverick Home Volleyball Game

    10/21/2017
    06:30PM — 08:30PM

    Volleyball match being hosted at The College Park Center by the UT Arlington Mavericks Collegiate...


  • Hip Hop Cowboys

    10/21/2017
    07:00PM

    Hip Hop Cowboys, the nation’s first event to combine the extreme sport of rodeo with a celebratio...


  • Oleg Larshin, Violin

    10/21/2017
    08:00PM — 10:30PM

    Join the LCSO for it's 2017-18 Season Premiere of "Vienna, City of Music!" The LCSO will feature ...


  • The Addams Family

    10/22/2017
    02:00PM

    Join us this October for an award-winning family musical full of love, laughter, and spooky, kook...


  • Junior Angler

    10/22/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Junior Angler classes introduce youth ages 6 – 16 to the life‐long sport of fishing. Classes fol...


  • DFW Solar Awareness Day

    10/23/2017
    12:00AM

    Hello! We are putting together a day for solar awareness in the DFW area! Talk to your friends...


  • Mansfield Sunrise Toastmasters

    10/23/2017
    07:00AM — 08:00AM

    Want to be better at negotiating your salary with your boss? Networking at business functions? Pi...


  • Third Thursday - Haunt the Block

    10/19/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Let the kids (and adults) put their costumes on early and come out to trick or treat, take ghost ...


  • Mansfield Ghost Tours 2017

    10/19/2017
    06:00PM — 08:25PM

    Come join us for haunted history and ghostly tales from all around Mansfield! This year we will h...


  • Mansfield Ghost Tours 2017

    10/20/2017
    06:00PM — 08:25PM

    Come join us for haunted history and ghostly tales from all around Mansfield! This year we will h...


  • LARGEST Fall Festival in Ellis County Presented by: Methodist Mansfield Medical Center Start...


  • Fall Scavenger Hunt

    10/21/2017
    01:00PM — 02:30PM

    Come see Oliver Nature Park during fall to explore how nature changes with the seasons. Enjoy a ...


  • Trunk-or-Treat + Pumpkin Palooza

    10/21/2017
    05:00PM — 09:00PM

    Any family, business, or community group is welcome to participate. This is a great opportunity t...


  • Hip Hop Cowboys

    10/21/2017
    07:00PM

    Hip Hop Cowboys, the nation’s first event to combine the extreme sport of rodeo with a celebratio...


  • At the Warmack Library on Wednesday, October 25 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. All ages welcome. Join us...


  • Creep Fest 2017

    10/27/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Love the feeling you get watching a scary movie? Want to find friends who like horror films and b...


  • Public Safety Open House

    10/28/2017
    10:00AM

    Join us at the Fire Station (at 100 Cloverlane Drive) for: • Free Hotdogs & Drinks • Bounce Hou...


  • Drug Take-Back Day

    10/28/2017
    10:00AM — 02:00PM

    This program is a partnership with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and cities to allow resident...


  • Japanese Garden Fall Festival

    10/28/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Stroll along the meandering paths of the beautifully- landscaped Japanese Garden as you listen t...


  • TSO 10th Anniversary Trunk Show

    10/28/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Join TSO Mansfield for our first ever Trunk Show featuring brands John Varvatos and Carolina Herr...


  • Pumpkin Swim

    10/28/2017
    01:15PM — 03:15PM

    Pumpkin Swim Saturday, October 28 1:15-3:15 p.m., Kirby Creek Natatorium, 3201 Corn Valley Road...


 

Image title
Mansfield Area High School Sports

Community Champions