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10 Ways to Say Goodbye to Summer Before Going Back to School

10 Ways to Say Goodbye to Summer Before Going Back to School

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Transitioning from summer holiday mode to the daily and weekly routines of school days can be a challenge for kids and adults alike. Who hasn’t balked at the idea of going back to work on the first Monday after your summer vacation? Marking the change of seasons with an end-of-summer celebration can be a fun family tradition that helps everyone say goodbye to everything summer. Here are some ideas to celebrate what’s left of summer in Vancouver:

Celebrate Summer in Vancouver

1. Spend a day at the beach. Pack everything up and get out to the sand first thing in the morning, and stay as long as you possibly can. Build sand castles. Eat concession hot dogs for lunch. Drip melting ice cream down your arms and wash it off in the ocean. Don’t forget the sunscreen, of course, but soak up as much of the last days of summer sun as you possibly can.

2. Throw a block party. For those who want to plan ahead for next summer, each spring the Vancouver Foundation takes applications for neighbourhood small grants. These grants can be used to cover up to $500 of the costs involved in throwing a block party, such as providing food, music and decorations. Even if you haven’t got a neighbourhood small grant to cover the cost of this year’s party, it’s totally possible to rally your neighbours and potluck an end-of-summer party together.

3. Go camping one more time. What better antidote to the approaching dark and days spent indoors than to go out and spend a night in the forest? Sure, it’s lots of work to get the camping gear together, but waking up to the dawn light filtering through the trees is a sweet way to say farewell to the summer.

4. Take a day trip. Vancouverites are spoiled for choice when it comes to short, easily accessible outdoor day trips. Whether you spend an afternoon hiking and picking wild blueberries on Mount Seymour or cycling along the trail at Colony Farms, there are lots of places to get outside and get active together. Check out Jack Christie’s book, 52 Best Day Trips From Vancouver for more ideas.

5. Create a local feast. There is no better time to eat local than late August and early September. Tomatoes are ripe and abundant, potatoes are ready to be dug and everything is fresh and at the peak of flavour. Start the day with a trip to the farmers’ market to pick up your locally grown supplies, then head home to prepare your meal.

6. Eat popsicles while sitting on your sidewalk. It’s simple, but essentially summer. Kick back in a lawn chair with your popsicle while the kids ride bikes, run around or draw with sidewalk chalk in your driveway. Say hi to your neighbours. Enjoy an unscheduled afternoon with no need to rush anywhere or do anything. Ahhhh.

7. Play at a spray park or outdoor pool. Get in your last day at the spray parks before they shut the water off after the Labour Day long weekend. Check out the new spray park and outdoor pool at the Hillcrest Aquatic Centre, or hit an old Vancouver favourite like the Granville Island spray park, the outdoor pool at Kits Beach or the splash pad at Confederation Park in Burnaby.

8. Gather far-flung friends and family. Summer is the perfect time for reunions and re-connecting with folks you don’t get to see all the time – even if they don’t really live all that far away. Having a big gathering is a great way to honour all the kids who are moving up to the next grade and re-connect with the people who really matter to you.

9. Go berry picking. Blueberry and blackberry season extends into late August in the Vancouver area, so grab your sun hat and head out into the fields for one last chance to take home the summer’s harvest. Freezing berries for the winter is easy – just wash them, shake off the water and spread them out on a cookie sheet. When they’re frozen, pick them off, put them in a freezer bag and pop them back in the freezer.

10. Create your own family summer tradition. Maybe you like to go boating, or drive to a cabin for the weekend? Maybe you love going on the ferry to Bowen Island, climbing The Chief in Squamish or riding the roller coaster at the PNE? Whatever it is you love to do in the summer, make sure to include it in your family’s end of summer celebration.

It’s so easy to get caught up in looking forwards and preparing for the things that are yet to come, especially during the back-to-school rush of shopping, planning and making arrangements for classes and after-school care. Those things need to be done, but taking a day or two to really just enjoy these last days of summer fills up the soul and gives kids and adults one more chance to soak up the summer in Vancouver.

What’s your favourite way to celebrate summer in Vancouver?

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