10 Summer Serve and Learn Activities

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

10 Summer Serve and Learn

Summer is the BEST time of the year, but sometimes it can be a challenge IF:

You are a parent

You are a caregiver

You are the older sibling babysitting younger brothers or sisters

I’m kidding…well kind of….

See, it’s about that time of the summer when ‘what are we going to do’? is heard about every 5 or 10 minutes.

And the ‘screen-time’ arguments have begun, such as: how long they get/want/deserve/need.

Have you gotten to the point yet when you think you will scream, or run far away, when you hear the words “I’m bored” one more time….

Guess what?  I have THE perfect solution!

It’s more than just keeping busy, though that is a good thing.

THIS teaches important life skills in such a fun and engaging way, they won’t even realize that they are learning and doing things that are useful and helpful!

WHAT is the key and answer here?  

It is my 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activities!


TELL me more!

My 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn is more than just keeping the kids out of trouble, busy and time fillers.  

These are activities that will teach them:

  • They will Learn and Practice life skills that will last their whole life.
  • How to be kind and compassionate to others.
  • Many of the activities are educational in a very entertaining way, and enjoyed so much, they will not guess at all of the lessons they are learning.
  • They will learn to interact with others, a HUGE skill that is needed today.
  • All of these activities are free or very inexpensive.
  • Provide great lasting memories of a wonderful and unique summer.
  • Help them become better for what they will accomplish as they do any or all of these Serve and Learn Activities.


HOW do you go about implementing this extraordinary much-more-than-a-boredom-buster-list-of-activities? 

1- If your children are young, you could take one activity a week, say on a given night as a planned family time, and do one idea in each of the 10 activities.

2- If your kids are older and you are trying to keep them busy so you can get some things done.  Or another concern of busy and working parents, is to find worthwhile activities that keep the older kids from so much screen time and video games.  This is a fantastic way to accomplish that purpose also.  You could have the kid(s) do everything listed in the 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn.

3- Here is where you have to decide how important this is to you, as a family and for your children/kids/teens.  I personally like a reward system that is modest and small.  We all work for something.  A paycheck, a thank you, something, until we reach the point of real charity.  But the kids are usually still growing into that.  So, may I suggest that either a vote is taken, or you give the value you are willing to pay when the designated number of Serve and Learn Activities are done. 

For example:  If you must leave older kids at home during the day, it could be very useful to consider that each day or every few days, one of the activities would be done.  Again, for example, on Tuesday, they made the Cherrio Bird Feeder together, cleaned it all up and had a good time as a family without arguments; maybe  donuts would be the reward.  

You could tell them that when all 10 Serve and Learn Activities were done, again without contention, having fun and leaving it clean, the reward could be a night of family bowling, swimming at the local pool (watch for coupons) or hiking with a picnic.  

Let us know how you chose to implement these 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activities by yourself, or as a family in the comments, in the Instagram feed or FB posts.  Pictures would be awesome!

I created an terrific checklist that you can download for free so you can easily keep track of each 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activity as it’s completed, click HERE



            10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activities

1- It all about the BIRDS

Kids Can Serve & Care:


Kids Can Learn: We live in a beautiful and special world.  By keeping it clean we can appreciate miracles all around us even more. By feeding the birds, we can watch them close up and enjoy their amazing colors and how they fly.



2- Invite someone, or a family, over for a game night

  • Try choosing from the old fashioned games like these: 

Old Time Game of Kick The Can

How To Play Old Fashioned Hop Scotch

Make up a batch of THE BEST Homemade Bubbles

This game of 100 is AWESOME for ALL ages


Learn: Playing is important at any age and we need to make sure we take time to have some fun!

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” -Mr. Rogers

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -George Bernard Shaw



3- Plant a garden or flowers 

  • With your family, or yourself, plant some vegetables or herbs to use in preparing your own food this summer.  See my post HERE for some ideas on gardening
  • Plant flowers to make your home look more attractive to you and others.  A planter or window box will make a big difference if you are limited in space or resources.

Learn:  It is incredibly empowering and therapeutic to actually plant, raise and harvest your own food and blooms.    The effort and energy put forth to teach your family this skill is some of the most well-spent and important you can do.  Again, see my post HERE




4- Visit or help someone

  • Weed the garden or flower beds, or do other yard work for someone who is unable.
  • If someone has recently had surgery, ask what you can do to help them.
  • Make posters for your local care center or facility to cheer them up. See this post HERE for ideas
  • Someone who might be overwhelmed with family or their life’s situation could use a hand. 
  • One of my amazing readers makes the baby bibs from my post to give to the new moms in her church.  You can see the easy to make tutorial HERE

Learn:  By visiting those who are elderly, have a young family, or unable to get out on their own, we are showing compassion and kindness.  Looking outside of our self to other’s needs and doing something to ease their burden are some of the most important skills we can learn, practice often to become a better person.




5- Welcome Someone To The Neighborhood, or Take A Treat to Those You Already Know

  • You will find lots of ideas of how to Welcome new neighbors to your neighborhood in THIS post.
  • THIS treat is always popular to take to anyone of any age:)
  • OR take a treat to a neighbor you want to get to know better.  This SWEET Tag HERE is one you might want to use. 


Learn: It’s hard to move to a new place and then meet people sometimes.  When we reach out to others we are making new friends as well as helping them feel comfortable in their new neighborhood.

By taking a treat to those you already know, but haven’t talked to in a while, makes your neighborhood and community stronger, you feel more included surprisingly and the friendships develop.



6- Serve At Home

  • Eat dinner together and have a conversation without technology. You’ll find the post HERE about dinner conversations, how to do them easily and with some FUN! 

Learn: Technology is a great thing, but too often it gets in the way and we don’t take the time to talk to each other, even in our own family.  This is a perfect way to learn new things about each other in a natural and creative approach.



7- Learn About Your Family 

  • I have a post on how how and why to do a Family Tree HERE
  • Get to know a family member better by visiting in person, or skype.

Learn: With your child learn who their family tree members are as they fill out one, or both of the styles of Family Tree’s in THIS POST. Fill one out yourself if you haven’t before and ask living family members in your Family Tree to share an inspiring experience they had, or one they learned a valuable lesson from that you may not have known. 

Knowing our family and their life is so important because it connects us to our past and helps us understand our self also.




8- Love the Animals

  • Shelters are in need of many supplies all the time, and have lots of animals to care for.  Did you know that some shelters have other animals besides just dogs and cats they need items for too?  See my post on Service to our local Animal Shelter HERE

Learn:  Compassion and kindness for all of God’s creatures




9- There Are Those In Need ALL year long

  • Have you ever thought of helping your local MEALS ON WHEELS?  In my area they are in need of general greeting cards all year long.  You can find our more HERE
  • Donate to a local food bank. It’s natural to think of those less fortunate at Christmas and other holidays, but the need is there all year long.  

Learn:  Serving others is how we learn about ourselves. 




10- Say Thank you!

  • We appreciate a ‘thank you’ and should express gratitude often.  But when do we actually sit down and write a note of thanks to someone?  
  • It also teaches our family members volumes we cannot speak as we act by doing.
  • See my post HERE for all the how’s, why’s, when’s and what to write in a thank you card.

Learn:  It only takes a couple of minutes to do this simple task, but the effects on us as the sender, and those who receive it are priceless.



I can’t wait to hear what you and your family are LEARNING, PRACTICING and BECOMING this summer!

Please share in the comments on in this post, on my FaceBook comments and Instagram feed, so we can learn from each other, be encouraged and get awesome ideas. 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2019

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

You knew what I was….

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Many years ago I heard a fable which has stayed with me as a guide in many instances for myself, as well as a powerful teaching tool for my children.

 I have retold this parable in my own words for you, illustrating the crucial decisions that should be taken into account when making choices; particularly those that have the potential to alter our life – markedly in a detrimental way.

 A few ideas are worth our consideration before we begin our metaphor:

• Do I ever feel superior, unique and that nothing can harm me that will/does others.

• Do I allow myself to be influenced even when I know it is not sensible or reasonable in order to be accepted (peer pressure is not just for the young, it rears its ugly head continually until we are no longer on this earth).

• Is it an easier path, emotionally or physically then to resist, even though that path could (and most likely will) lead to an uphill climb, possibly for the rest of my life?

Do I allow, or even promote some people or a certain person to be intimately or too personally involved in my life, simply to avoid loneliness or fear of being alone? Maybe I am anxious that a desired relationship will not come, though I know, deep down inside, that this one is not in my best interest.  In honest moments, I realize that my potential, and the mission I am on this planet to accomplish, will not happen if I continue the association.

• Curiosity, pride, boredom, insecurity, life’s monotony, feelings of low self worth, the idea that others do not appreciate me, the opinion I have little, or nothing to offer – all of these can tease and entice for vices such as drugs, alcohol, subtle and stark pornography, infidelity, dishonesty, abuse in all its insidious forms; actually any behavior in action or thought, that would tempt me toward immoral and corrupt behavior.

I hope this little tale I fashioned for you, will be of a benefit and help when  faced with a decision that could affect you, or your loved ones, as it has me countless times along the way.

You Knew What I Was

Long ago, a young man named woke with a start. He sat up, wide awake now. The long awaited time was finally here. There had been many changes of seasons and much training for this very special and highly anticipated day.

“Mapuche, Mapuche, come for breakfast”. He smiled when he heard his mother’s voice.

“Coming”, he said as he stuffed his blanket, food, knife, extra pair of moccasins and a few other supplies in his pouch.

The family sat looking at Mapuche, marveling how quickly he could eat when their food seemed to stick in their throats, refusing to move, though mother had prepared delicious food.

Mapuche didn’t seem to notice and in between bites, he told of the wonderful adventures he was going to have. This was the day that he would leave his family, his friends, all he knew in order to demonstrate his maturity and ability to sit with the elders of the tribe. He must go miles from home, alone, with few supplies and climb the high mountain. In order to prove his manhood, he had to bring back a branch from the tree that only grew at such lofty heights.

“Mapuche” mother softly said.

“Yes” he answered.

“Your name means ‘burning torch’. You are to be a light, a guide, a leader to all who watch you now and will follow your steps in life. Remember your noble character, your ability and do not go after foolishness.” Her eyes seemed to penetrate to his very soul, as well as pleading that he would remember her words.

“I won’t forget and I will be careful. I will see you before the moon has set five times.” He embraced his family and turned to being his journey.

As he walked he smiled at the ease of the journey. The meadow with its bright flowers seemed to sing with the birds in the trees for joy of their own beauty.

That night he camped. Feeling free and almost liberated he knew this would be an easy journey for such a strong, well-liked young man as he was.

The next day he had to begin the climb up the summit of the mountain. The air was chill and snow drifts even poked their heads from spots that the sun could not reach them due to the denseness of the trees.

Walking on, the air was a bit thinner, causing him to breathe heavy and with more effort.

No matter, it was nothing for such a prepared man as he. He would be praised for how quickly he was making the journey. What was that noise?

“Over here”.

“Who is there?” asked Mapuche, wondering who else would be so far from any village.

“I am over here” replied the voice.

Mapuche left the path, though he had been warned multiple times in the past few weeks as he prepared for this journey; actually all his life he had been told to stay on the true path, but he would be fine and he was curious of what, or who, was calling to him.

“Here I am”

“Why you are a snake!” Mapuche could hardly believe his eyes, or his ears.

“I am so cold here in the shade and I can barely move. I am very hungry and surely about to die. Will you please carry me with you to a sunny rock so I may revive myself?”

“But you are a deadly and poisonous snake. Why ever would I touch you?”

“I promise not to harm you. I just need you to carry me with you to the crest on the other side of this hill top.”

“But, you have surely bitten others and they have died. Why wouldn’t you hurt me?”

“Do I look deadly to you? I promise not to hurt YOU in any way” pleaded the snake.

“Well, your skin is of such beauty that how could you be dangerous. I am sure that my parents and the old ones were mistaken when they called you a threat.” Mapuche thought to himself, they could not know of his generation, they are old fashioned in their ways. I will put the snake down before he can warm too much to be risk to my safety. I can handle myself.

Mapuche gingerly picked up the snake and put it in his shirt to warm the creature; he did feel some empathy as it was a living thing.

They traveled together all that day, to which Mapuche found the serpent quite good company and easy to talk to, interesting actually.

Night fell. He made camp, ate his dried meat and went to sleep with the snake coiled next to his warm body.

Dawn came and Mapuche was up at the first rays of the sun. This was his glory day. He would be to the designated tree, cut off a branch and be able to start for home before the sun raised high in the sky.

The snake still where they had slept, began to stretch as the beams of light came through the sky.

“Well my friend, it is time for us to part and I will travel home today.” He happily said as he bent down to retrieve his pouch.

Without a word, without warning, the snake coiled, rattled and seemed to fly . . . biting him on the neck.

Mapuche knew in an instant it was deadly. Desperately he asked, “Why did you do that? Why do you want to destroy me? You said you were my friend. I helped you and asked for nothing. Now I will die alone, without loved ones, why did you do this to me?”

The snake, very calmly and without concern replied, “You knew what I was when you picked me up” and slithered away.

Mapuche’s fearful mother, family and friends waited, prayed and hoped. After twelve moons, the braves of the village went to the mountain only to find his lifeless body.

The tale is still told of how close he had come to the desired tree, which would have secured his praise, earned him proper respect and set him the right  direction for a truly happy life.


My dear friends, we have a conscience.  A God-given gift to guide each one of us through dangers and hazards that could harm us, our family, our loved ones and even generations of our own posterity. Whether it be a person, a circumstance, a habit, really anything that will take us off the true path is dangerous and playing with fire.  Remember, we each have the innate tools to avoid tragedy, as well as the help needed to change for the better.

Remember the words, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”

Copyright by Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.