Those who don’t have children may not quite understand why the prospect of summer break causes some of us to break out in a nervous sweat. Parents in DC who choose to send their kids to camp for the entire summer are looking at spending a small fortune even if they choose the most affordable camps and are somehow able to forego aftercare services. Most parents try to carve out a mixture of camp, vacation time, grandparent duty, play dates and whatever else they can come up with. The flexibility of my job is helpful during this time, but I certainly can’t stay home all summer so there’s always some creativity involved in figuring it all out.
This year, I’m staying home with my kids for the first two weeks of summer and then they will start camp at their school. I will attempt to work while they are home, relying on friends and neighbors to watch them during appointments. While this is stressful, the other difficult piece is trying to keep them entertained and away from screens for at least a decent portion of the day. It’s been exactly one week since the boys’ summer break started and they’re bored. Frankly, so is mom. I love being out and about too and so I’ve been brushing up on our favorite summertime places to visit.
Now, I try to take advantage of all that DC offers and I spend a good amount of time exploring, but I, too, lament how there’s still so much that we haven’t done. I haven’t taken a nighttime tour of the monuments, haven’t taken a tour of the Capitol building or the White House, haven’t climbed to the top of the Washington Monument. I could go on, but the list of things to do in this area is seemingly endless, so why not try to check off a few during summer? We recently spent the afternoon at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home in Virginia. We hadn’t been in years. Neither kid really remembered it. Mount Vernon has spectacular views of the Potomac, gorgeous gardens and details that absolutely fascinated my children like an outhouse with multiple seats for group bathroom trips.
Though I enjoy exploring new spots, there are a few tried and true places that always please and one of those is Yards Park. I’m going to admit here that it’s really me who loves Yards Park the most. My kids always ending up having a good time, but sometimes they want to go to a real pool. But the wading pool here is SO much easier for me. I don’t have to get in (which means I don’t have to get into a bathing suit and get wet!) if I don’t want to; I can supervise from the cool shade. The park is gorgeous with beautiful river views. There are clean bathrooms close by. There’s a lot of kid-friendly food options like Nando’s Peri Peri, Potbelly’s and sometimes food trucks. And I can bribe them to get out of the pool with a cone from Ice Cream Jubilee.
Another popular summertime option is sporting events. A baseball game at Nats Park is an absolute must! Even non-sports people like myself enjoy the beautiful setting and killer food. We have tickets to see DC United this weekend as well. I’ll be looking forward to future soccer games at what is sure to be the gorgeous new stadium at Buzzard Point.
Even though summertime can be expensive and stressful, it’s still a great time to chill out, sleep in a bit and explore. It’s an opportunity to connect with my kids and let them decompress from the craziness of the school year. I am so grateful to live in an area with a plethora of fun activities at our fingertips. I vow to relax myself, forget my to-do list for the time being and try to create some unforgettable summer memories for my kids.