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It's back to school time!
Summer flew by and I have school and after school fun on my mind. After the girls are done with their school work, it feels like the day is just starting to me. That can be a really good thing and also an exhausting thought all at once.
Right now, more than half of our after school time during the week is spent driving to and from different activities, and on the other days, we try to keep things fun and mellow at home.
My thinking is that the days spent at home after school are just as important as the days we are rushing between activities… maybe even more, so I make sure to make that time count.
One thing I've learned when I make these plans for the kids is to go easy on the actual planning. My goal is to keep them moving after sitting during the day doing school work. Beyond that, I keep the activities loose. I present a handful of things for them to do, and then I let them pick and choose which things to do.
I used to keep notecards with ideas, but these days I just rattle off ideas based on the weather. Being in Southern California, we can get away with outdoor activities for almost the whole year, give or take any rainy days. However, even sprinkles for us means moving everything back indoors. For the most part, we really are weather wimps!
One of our current favorite after-school activities is hiking in our grove. We are so in love with our property and all the exploring we can do on it. We have some hiking trails down our hill that are perfect for imaginative play and looking for wildlife. With a plethora of squirrels, bunnies, roadrunners, snakes, coyotes, raccoons, and more… there is always something to see or at least animal tracks to hunt down.
We also love to grow our own food. I'm not talking enough to feed us completely, more like a hobby garden, but we try to grow something year-round. Right now we have a good size grape harvest happening and soon our pumpkin plants will be ready to pick. In the winter, it is lettuce time. I love that there are little indoor greenhouses that can help those with colder climates grow year-round too! There is something so satisfying and relaxing about tending to a garden and I love that my girls can benefit from the time they spend with their gardens after school.
Speaking of snacks, food played a big part in the energy level I had as a kid after school and it still does for my own kids. A great after-school snack to keep my kids fueled up are Jif® Power Ups™ chewy granola bars and Jif® Power Ups™ creamy clusters!
Both delicious products have absolutely no corn syrup, and 5g of protein, 2g of fiber, good fats and most importantly, peanuts are #1 ingredient. WE LOVE PEANUTS so I know my girls will be asking for these at the end of every school day!
I can't forget the old school after school activities.
The girls love biking, riding their scooters, playing on the swing set, swimming and tossing a ball around too. Sometimes less is more, especially when it comes to after-school time. I remember my favorite thing to do was to just hang out with the neighborhood kids. I want that kind of fun for my kids too. We would grab a snack right after school and then have no idea what we were going to do for the afternoon, yet we always ended up back home for dinner totally exhausted from all the activities. I remember one time we even tried to dig a moat that connected all the neighboring homes.
Whether we’re driving the girls around to their different after-school activities, staying at home exploring our own backyard, or heading out for a bike ride, it seems like we are always on the go! It’s easy to forget that these after school hours are memory makers just like summertime and vacation can be.
What’s your favorite way to make memories after the school day is done?