To me, summer is the best. Maybe because my birthday lands near Memorial Day or because the solar rays are a mood lifter.  Now I check the calendar and school is back in session.  What happened?!?  So (I use that word a lot), here are a few things to do to secure your summer of 2016 memories.

Go to an outdoor pool. Sit on a lounge chair. Play Marco Polo.  Eat nachos from the snack bar. Many pools stay open to 9 pm so go at twilight and the underwater lights will pop on.

Try an outdoor movie. It is hot and maybe there are bugs. But a blanket and a picnic with any icy water or Slurpee??? Most outdoor movies are family friendly and good for the heart.

Okay, another outdoor idea – a concert in the park. Daytime concerts at City of Gaithersburg (Tuesday morning), a big production at Merriweather Post, something at Strathmore or Fort Reno or a Rockville City Park or Fridays on Town Square.  Do you play an instrument or sing? Considering playing outdoors and letting those around you share your gift.  This is my nephew and his crew on Virginia Beach doing the Bee Gees:

Fresh delicious peaches. Homemade ice cream. A juicy ripe tomato, mayo and white bread sandwich. Crisp buttery summer corn on the cob. What’s your favorite summer flavor?  Have a bite. Yumm.

Play cards or Parchessi or Monopoly. Remember when you could spend a whole afternoon or evening sitting around a table just playing a game, shooting the breeze and having fun?  Maybe Poke’mon Go is all the rage but consider teaching a child how to play a board game.  Such fun to be together.

Take a nap. In a hammock. On a beach blanket. With a child or a friend.  Sleeping during the day is an amazing treat.  Think of a siesta as a gift to yourself. No time for a nap? Then you really need one!

Quiet your mind try 2-3 minutes of meditation or a few sets of Cat and Cow yoga poses. Lying on your back with your feet in the air or against a wall increase blood flow to your brain. A few minutes of focused breathing triggers your parasympathetic nervous system – this says to your brain and body – RELAX.

Blow bubbles. Run through a sprinkler. Shoot a water gun. Find a slip & slide. Play hide and seek. Free fun for all ages. How to make a homemade slip & slide: 1 grassy slope,  1 sheet plastic from hardware store (unrolled), a few squirts dishwashing liquid, a hose. Lay out plastic, squirt detergent, add running water = fun!

Read. Read. Read. Read aloud. Read to a child. Read to an elderly person. Read Harry Potter or some other story you always meant to get to.  Read poetry to some one you love.  Read Stephen King to scare yourself.  Read chick-lit or a vampire series.  Read an old favorite like Ramona The Spy.  Just read or listen to a book on tape.

I am going for 10 so this is it – buy new school supplies. You might not be going back to class but a fresh new notebook, a nice pen or some coloring pencils are suitable for all ages.  For $1 there are cute journals at AC Moore.  Only 50 cents for a composition book at Staples. Most stores are selling a set of crayons, markers or colored pencils for $1-2. Treat yourself to something new, fresh and fun that won’t break the bank – cheaper than coffee!

Go ahead and get started. Its not too late to have a great summer. Post your photos and fun times to us on our Facebook page.

Post by Dr. Catherine McAlpine of Recovery Partners Montgomery.