We are 25 minutes away from finishing the last Monday of the 2011/2012 school year. As always, it seems that the first day of school was simultaneously eons ago and yesterday. Our children have learned a lot, grown a lot, met new people, discovered new talents, and explored new ideas. It is a bittersweet time for most people I talk to – especially for my 5th grader leaving behind his elementary school and his king of the hill status and some of his friends who are scattering to different middle school this year. It’s definitely a sunrise, sunset kind of moment. Bittersweet for our homeschooled daughter too as the siblings are about to be around a lot more than before!

But here we are. Ready for one last week of school. Ready for the piles of half-filled notebooks and boxes of broken crayons and other detritus from the classrooms. And ready for summer and it’s long stretching days filled with long stretching shadows.

The kids can sleep in. Fill their time with activities of their own creation. Play. Read. Swim. Craft. Skate. Play. And sleep in some more. It is a time they all look forward to. Us too. Although admittedly there is a bit of a learning curve to filling all that time.

I’ve started what I call a “summer fun box”. It’s got random things in it that can be accessed when they’re seeking something to do. There are some craft books. Some word games. A wood burning kit and lots of little wood scraps. Cook books. A bag of marbles. That’s it so far. As I find other things that I think might spark the creativity I’ll throw them in there too.

Of course I’ll encourage a little idle downtime too. But too much of that only works for some of the members in our household.

How do you spark imaginations in your house? How do you let the days fall and fill? Do you have some tools of inspiring your kids onto creativity and exploration? Does idle time work for you and your kids?

I love summer. Even here in Texas. And I love the possibilities it presents for dreaming, creating and¬†slowing down too.¬†And I’m curious to hear how others walk this walk.