Summer should be remembered with nostalgia, wouldn’t you agree?
I don’t know about you, but I remember my summers filled with late nights of rollerblading with the neighbor kids, eating fruit by the foot, & playing Uno.
There’s something about summer that makes it so nostalgic. Suddenly it hit me. Why not create a retro summer for my kids? You know, give them a taste of what it felt like to grow up as a kid in the 1950’s all the way up to the 1990’s. Prime summer nostalgia in those years.
I think you’ll find that creating a retro summer is not only incredibly fun, it’s also educational. Get those kids of yours a-learnin’! I’m a big believer in providing activities that inspire kids, not just entertain. As much as I love my kids, it’s not my job to keep their days filled with activities so they don’t get bored. Being bored is a great motivator for creativity, and c’mon, weren’t your childhood summers filled with a good dose of boredom (& creativity)?
Top 10 Ways to give your kids a Retro Summer!
- Pick a decade, any decade. You can do one decade a week like we did, or you can just pick your favorite. We chose 1950s to the 1990s. I was tempted to go back to the 1930s, feed my kids cabbage soup and let them play with rocks for a week, but I figured The Great Depression was kinda… harsh. Maybe I’ll save that one in my back pocket when these kids complain of milking the goats.
- Let your kids watch as much TV as they want, but they can only watch the TV Shows of that time period. Whether it’s Leave it to Beaver, The Partridge Family, The Brady Bunch, The Cosby Show, Boy Meets World or Full House, you can be sure your kids are going to get a good dose of mischievous shenanigans followed up with a solid moral lesson. Bonus points for shows that provide some good violin playing during the parent lecture.
- Ease up on those food rules for a bit and let your kids try some of the classics we were raised on. I’m thinkin’ letting them try some Tang & a Bologna sandwich won’t kill ’em. Hopefully. I can’t believe I just said that. Even though we’re all about eating real food and focusing on whole, nutrient-dense meals, we still abide by the 80/20 Rule, which gives us some leeway when we want to slide a bit on the ‘ol diet.
- Share with your kids some of the events & political issues during that decade. Did you know that in 1967, Kathrine Switzer attempted to run in the Boston Marathon, but because women weren’t allowed to run in marathons at that time, she was attacked by men who were running in the race? Crazy! There are loads of interesting events that happened in the last 5 or 6 decades! Check out my favorite books on America’s History here, here, & here.
- Introduce your kids to technology (or lack thereof) of that time period. Put away the iPads & video games for a week. Let the kids play with Walkmans and kaleidoscopes (the new Walkman doesn’t count!). Have your kids take a picture with an camera that uses film and actually take it to the photo lab to be developed! Play the retro version of Mario Bros. and chuckle as they have to “take turns” playing. Hehe.
- Watch movies that focus on a specific time period. Some examples I love: October Sky, Walk the Line, Heart & Souls, Iron Giant, Andre, Disney’s The Kid, The Sandlot, Grease, Hairspray, Apollo 13, My Girl (not My Girl 2, that one was lame), Adventures in Babysitting, Goonies, Back to the Future, Forrest Gump.
- Play games from that decade. Sorry, The Game of Life, Mouse Trap, Risk, Twister, Battleship, Trouble, Jacks, Double Dutch, Hand Clap Games, etc.
- Get those kids of yours OUTSIDE. Building a fort, climbing a tree, & playing with the hose are just a few. You could also encourage camping in the backyard, playing hide n’ seek at night, & catching bugs. The point is to get your kids outside. Yes, even if you need to force them, it needs to happen. Don’t worry, when they’re adults, they’ll thank you.
- Music baby! No matter which decade of music you choose, definitely start things off right with The Evolution of Music by Pentatonix. After that, it’s whatever your heart desires. We had a blast this week rocking out to Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, & Britney Spears. When I say “we had a blast”, I mean Kevin & I had a blast while the kids had a puzzled look on their face. They just don’t get it, those kids.
- Slang. Isn’t it totally far out how much slang has changed over time? I think your kids will have a gay time trying out different slang terms from each decade. Check out this list!
–1910s: Ripping, jazz.
–1920s: Bee’s knees, cat’s pajamas.
–1930s: Bananas, gas, solid.
–1940s: Hot damn, nuts, hepcat.
–1950s: Keen, neato, boss.
–1960s: Far-out, groovy, choice.
–1970s: Gnarly, copasetic, dig it.
–1980s: Awesome, tubular, rad.
–1990s: Fresh, phat, all that, tight.
–2000s: Crunk, beast, hot.
This sounds like a day in the life of a homeschooler. I love that you are spreading the ideas that are widely used in homeschool. It’s fantastic and a great way to spend summer for those who do and do not homeschool. I have not homeschooled in over 10 years. Everyday is learning, let us not forget. Thanks.
Becky Hubbard says
We do so many of these fun things already! Just the other day, we watched Leave it to Beaver. And yesterday, my two older kiddos were on YouTube watching old episodes of Pink Panther. They have “binged” on The Jetsons, Pink Panther, Punky Brewster, Full House, and my favorite, The Muppet Show (and every Muppet movie in existence- in fact, my seven year old is OBSESSED with all things Muppet, and I’m sure he’s memorized all of Muppet Wiki and could tell you anything you ever wanted to know about any Muppet or Muppet Performer past, present or future- okay, maybe not future, but I’m sure he could be one…lol!) The other awesome thing about the Muppet Show is that he has become familiar with every guest star for I think all five seasons. This has gotten him interested in old-school Elton John (he is anxiously waiting for Elton John’s greatest hits to be returned to the library) and a few other celebrities.
Also, I totally plan to have them use the portable CD player (my husband keeps taking the ear buds, lol), and at some point will dig up my old Walkman for them to use. (My seven year old told me he wanted a phone so that he could listen to his music on it, and I was like “um. No.” Ha ha). The library (ours in AJ, anyway) actually has some older technology to borrow- I think books on CD for sure, maybe even cassette. They have some children’s picture book/cassette combos for sure. I guess we kind of have a “retro inspired” life. Lol!
DaNelle Wolford says
I love this!!