a peek inside the fishbowl

25 Aug, 2008

Summer fun: keeping track of it all

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Ottawa|parenting

I really should have posted this at the beginning of the summer and not at the tail end, but I am in love with this idea and really wanted to share it with you.

At the beginning of the summer the girls and I got out the biggest blank piece of paper we could find and brainstormed Great Ideas For Summer Fun. There were four rules:

  1. – Some of the G.I.F.S.F. had to be things we could do around the house.
  2. – Some of the G.I.F.S.F. had to be things that the girls could do without supervision (In case of boredom I wanted to be able to tell the girls to go look at the list and find something to do.)
  3. – G.I.F.S.F. had to be somewhat realistic (no trips to the moon or flights to Japan).
  4. – G.I.F.S.F. had to be fun.

It was really interesting to dwell on the fun things we have done as a family, and talk about what other kinds of things, and places, we’d like to explore. Ottawa is a very family friendly city. There are a lot of things to do here – and I have a List of Things to Do With Kids in my head –  but what I like about this particular list is that it was directed by them, not me.

It took awhile to complete our list. I discovered that this isn’t the kind of project that can be done in one sitting. We kept our list lying around the house for a few days so we could add things as we thought of them, which happened a lot.

Now that the end of the summer is nigh, I occasionally glance over to the GIFSF to see what we’ve done, and I notice a few things on our list that we have left to do … but I’m not feeling any pressure to mark things off the list. It isn’t a “must do” kind of list, it’s a “can do.”

Here’s a detail (have I explained worm hunting?) …

 Great big list of summer fun: a detail

… to view the list in its entirely you’ll have to click over to my flickr.

4 Responses to "Summer fun: keeping track of it all"

1 | J.

August 25th, 2008 at 6:37 pm


Very cool idea. I think that may be something I could try with A. next year. That way we can both do fun summer things.

2 | porter

August 25th, 2008 at 10:21 pm


I love this idea, yet another fantastic idea I plan on borrowing from your family! It’s also an amazing item to tuck away for the family to reflect on in years to come. There’s nothing stopping anyone from making one for the Fall, Winter, Spring….neat.

3 | SAJ

August 26th, 2008 at 10:00 am


I’m saving this! What a great idea!!!

4 | Do you have a summer bucket list? >> a peek inside the fishbowl

June 8th, 2013 at 11:40 am


[…] is something we started doing a few years ago and just can’t let go, in fact, I’ve written about this family tradition here before. This crafty activity does a whole bunch of […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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