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Design your summer

GGC - Design your summer

“Every man makes his own summer. The season has no character of its own, unless one is a farmer with a professional concern for the weather.”

Robertson Davies (“Three Worlds, Three Summers”)

One of my favorite authors, Gretchen Rubin, discusses "designing your summer". The idea is to plan something special so the weeks (or, in some countries, months) that your kids are home don't just float by and aren't being spent on devices and social media platforms… Robertson Davies adds that “adventures make a good summer," and I would agree. Big adventures are not always possible, but small ones are. Most of all, it is what you call an adventure because not everyone can climb Pachu Pichu, visit New York, or swim in the Caribbean Sea. 

Here are 10 ideas and suggestions for you and your family:

  1. Make it “a summer of…”  Reading for example. You could focus on a special topic or author you want to dedicate some time to. Maybe you'd like to explore a new genre or reread some books?

  2. Learn something new This may involve drawing on your iPad, designing a rose garden, or making tomato sauce. In-person courses would be best, as there is a social aspect as well, but online courses are second best.

  3. Plan family and friend visits If you’re traveling “home” or to a place where you have friends, plan these visits beforehand. Wanting to meet up spontaneously can lead to frustration if, in the end, dates don’t match up. Call or message your family and friends with your dates and ask for theirs in return. Do you already have an itinerary? Then, suggest some days and times from the beginning. Can you group some of the people you want to see together? This would free up your calendar. Pro tip: don’t schedule anything for the last two days so you have some wriggle room.  

  4. Don’t only plan your kid’s summer but yours as well Of course, you organize your children’s summer courses, camps, and play dates or get-togethers, depending on their age. But what about you? Your daily activities will change because your kid(s) will be at home, and you’ll also need to plan. If you try to push ahead like on a normal day, it might feel very frustrating. If you work from home, you’ll need to set aside working hours and “publish” them to your family. Consider what you need/want to do and try to fit that in.  

  5. Get your kids involved  If they're teens, they might be reluctant to travel with you. If they get to plan something special, on the other hand, they might be much more excited about it. My daughter's always in charge of restaurants, and, yes, she was the one who found our very successful food truck in Maui, where we went six nights in a row…!

  6. Plan family activities Again, do this ahead of time. If you have kids in summer camp or are moving, some weeks might be off the list already. Often, trying to get tickets to an event, park, or festival spontaneously can lead to disappointment. Check out special summer festivals that will only happen on a certain weekend and block that weekend for that.  

  7. Explore your city/place if you’re not traveling Be a tourist in your own area. Check out ideas for outside travelers and see if there is something new near where you live or something you want to repeat. Think about what is easily reachable. What is your maximum traveling time? 1 hour or 1 ½? Get the map out and check it out.

  8. Do a typical summer activity

For some reason, picnics and camping are often on summer lists. These activities don’t have to be in the woods. They can happen in your garden or balcony and will be equally memorable.

9.     Watch or listen to something together

Choose a Netflix show to watch together as a family. Select a podcast you’ll all listen to when you’re in the car. You could also make a list of movies or suggest that all family members suggest 1 -2 movies to put onto the list.


10.     Choose a summer color

You could wear this color, decorate a room/desk, or try foods in this color.


11.     Try out “…” this summer

This is about exploring. You could try out all the ice cream flavors in your favorite ice cream parlor, check out all the castles in your area, or visit all the shoe stores in the nearby town.


“Every man makes his own summer. The season has no character of its own, unless one is a farmer with a professional concern for the weather.”

Robertson Davies (“Three Worlds, Three Summers”)


The idea is that the summer of 2024 will be memorable. In a few years, you might remember this summer and think, “Oh, 2024 was the summer I wore light blue, we camped on our balcony, and we watched 10 Christmas movies.” 


Enjoy your summer,





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