By Kendall Vogts
May is finally here, and it seems like even though there were few April showers to bring May flowers, everything is slowly, but surely budding out and blooming. As I’m writing, it seems that the trees, that just days ago were bare, are green, leafy and blowing in the breeze! Spring, to me, is always a time of life. Winter months bring the death or hibernation of things when it comes to nature, but spring is the start and return of life!
As I’m joyous about all that spring brings, the teacher in me is squirming, itching and wondering if my face could sink anymore; if the bags under my eyes could get any bigger. Let’s face it, by mid April, the students are mentally done. The teachers… oh, that probably hits shortly after, if not by the first of May. The school year goes by so quickly. It seems like we have just started, and then it’s Thanksgiving break. And then before we know it, it’s February. After February, however, it feels as though the school year slows down, and by May, it’s as if time is crawling by.
Needless to say, summer break is a big deal, for students and teachers alike. We busy ourselves teaching and learning a year’s worth of content in nine months, and for students who are any bit behind, they have to work twice as hard with their educators. So as school comes to a close, treat your student to something special, something to reward them for their hard work, something totally un-school related.
Here is a teacher’s list of summer approved activities! As I have gotten to know my eighth grade students, I am pretty confident in saying that most, if not all, of these activities could be student approved!
Take a trip to the Sedgwick County Zoo. I am so impressed with the grounds, the animals and the activities they have at the zoo during the summer!
Make a day of it and go to a water park or a swimming pool different than the ones you and your family frequent.
Go on a walk or a bike ride and stop by a local splash pad or spray park.
Take a picnic lunch and head to the lake. If boating or jet skiing aren’t for you, grab some fishing poles and head to the docs, or take your bathing suits and swim near the beach.
Head to the Cosmosphere or Strataca (the salt museum), both located just up the road in Hutchinson, Kansas. Both have awesome opportunities for families!
Take an afternoon and go paint some pottery at Color Me Mine, right there in Wichita.
Plant a garden at home. Make a goal of using home grown produce during the summer or plant your own pumpkins to prepare for the fall.
To free your mind and unwind during the summer is not the huge task it seems to be. I understand that even after school’s out, kids remain busy, and it might seem that they are even busier. However, as a teacher, I see the benefits of taking a moment, slowing down and reconnecting with family. Make new memories and get to know more about your kids! As they grow, they see, hear and experience more than you would imagine. Take the time and make your own summer to-do list, or use mine and cross off a few of my to-dos. You might just see the editor and I on our trip to the zoo!
Kendall Vogts lives and teaches in Central Kansas. She is married to WFM publisher Todd Vogts.