1. Equine Vaulting - Sophia and Olivia started learning this sport in early May, and both thoroughly enjoy it. (Equine vaulting combines gymnastics and dance on a moving horse. There's a national organization that has some interesting videos and links.)
2. Homeschooling - I homeschool Sophia and Olivia throughout the year, though the summer is a bit more relaxed than the "traditional" school year of September-May. There are some subjects and activities that I want them to complete before officially beginning fourth and sixth grade this fall (e.g., third and fifth grade math).
We also tend to do more field trips and hands-on learning. For example, visiting the Raptor Center is one place that we plan to visit.
3. Camping - The girls have asked to go camping in a camper cabin again this summer. There are many cabins throughout the state, and I'd like to pick an area that they (and I) have not been to in the past - like the southwestern part of Minnesota. There's Lake Shetek State Park which looks like it would be an interesting place to visit.
Some of the pelicans at Lake Shetek
in southwestern Minnesota.
Part of camping will be cooking over a fire which they enjoyed last time I took them camping. This time...there's a surprise dessert: campfire cones. With absolutely no nutritional value or health-redeeming quality...they'll be thrilled.
4. Trying New Recipes with Fresh Produce - With a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit available from farmers' markets and pick-your-own berry patches, we will be trying new recipes each week. Having the girls pick the produce and help make a meal, makes them more invested in trying new food.
5. Seeing Where the Mississippi River Begins - When I was a child, my parents took me to walk across the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park. This is such a positive memory I have, that I would like Sophia and Olivia to experience the same thing.
The place where the Mississippi River begins.
6. Doing the I Can! Programs through the DNR - There are I Can! Programs that teach children and adults how to rock climb, canoe, fish, and do other outdoor activities. There also is a calendar of activities that are held at the different state parks throughout the state. It would be good to aim for at least four activities per month.
7. Participating in 2 County Fairs (4-H and Open Class) - As the girls have done for several years now, they will do and then show 4-H projects at one county fair; and then do other projects and show those through the open class division at another county fair. Both Sophia and Olivia enjoy competing, and earning ribbons and money for the projects they do.
8. Doing as Many of the Items on the 50 Things to Do Before You're 12 List - The list includes 50 fun outdoor activities that every child should do before s/he turns 12.
Many of the things on the list, the girls have already done. However, there are still quite a few ideas on the list that will be done this summer - like geocaching and fossil hunting - that they haven't yet done.
9. Making a Photography Alphabet Memory Book - Have each of the girls take a picture on their digital cameras of something they saw or did that begins with a different letter of the alphabet. For example, letter d (Dairy Queen), letter s (sculpture park), or letter m (miniature golfing). At the end of the summer, print the pictures and have the girls create an alphabet memory book.
10. Do Some of the Things Sophia and Olivia Suggest - When asked what they wanted to do this summer, they came up with these ideas: horseback riding; playing lots of board games; swimming (pool and lake); rock climbing; seeing elk and caribou; going to the library; going to the science museum; seeing some movies; going to Canada; seeing Mt. Rushmore; and going to the Waterpark of America.
Some of these things are feasible (e.g., swimming, playing board games, going to the science museum), while others will have to wait (e.g., seeing Mt. Rushmore). It would be nice to take a fall trip to see Mt. Rushmore.