Harrison with a face of pure joy

Writer Kate Harlow wants to enjoy summer as much as her son, Harrison, does. Look at that face of pure joy. 

Summer, when you're a kid, is hands-down the best season of the year.

There’s no school. There are endless days of exploring outside in the sunny weather. And, to top it off, you have a chance to do some of the most fun activities that are exclusive to the summer months.

With my rambunctious and adventurous 2-year-old son, I am re-discovering the joys of doing summer like a kid.

Here’s a list of the top things I’m loving about summer as a kid again.

1. Picnics

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Kate Harlow's family loves picnics and it seems that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are usually on the menu.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Cheetos. Strawberries. Kool-Aid.

Not an adventurous menu, granted, but for a toddler, this menu is like manna from heaven. Throwing some things in the cooler and walking or biking to a local park to play and eat has quickly become one of our favorite things to do so far this summer.

2. Swings

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Speaking of parks, I have fallen in love with the swings — for the second time. My son loves to swing. He’s always shouting for us to “Go high!” A few days ago, when my husband was pushing my son on the swing I sat down on one next to them and pushed off. I pushed off and traveled back in time to re-discover the freedom that is swinging.

3. Cloud watching

Prior to a few days ago, I couldn't remember the last time I spread out a blanket and just watched the clouds float by. In an attempt to start quieting down my son before bedtime, I lured him on to a blanket in our backyard with some comfy pillows and a blanket. We snuggled and gazed up at the periwinkle sky and found giraffes, elephants and a sheep in the shape of the clouds.

4. Building sandcastles

Building sandcastles

Digging in the sand to build a sand castle is one of the best things about doing summer as a kid.

As a teen and an adult, I don’t stereotypically bring my bucket to the beach, but I do now. Our beach bag now includes swimsuits, towels, sunscreen, water bottles and some beach toys  bucket included. With our bucket and little shovel, we have built castles and houses and farms. Digging in the sand might be messy, but it sure is fun.