I (Kendra) grew up with a singing mom.  My mother seemed to spend the majority of her time in the kitchen and when she was in that room she was singing.  Her other platform for song was the car.  We did not take many vacations when I was growing up, but any trips were an excuse to belt out tunes in the car.

Anytime we drove over a bridge spanning a significant amount of water, we always sang the Illinois state song.  It did not matter what state we were in or what body of water we were crossing.

“By thy rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois,
O’er thy prairies verdant growing, Illinois, Illinois…”

Think of the vocabulary words I learned!  (Ver-dant adj. green with vegetation or foliage)  More than the addition of great words to my vocabulary were the memories those songs created.  I don’t remember the destinations as much as I remember getting there.

John – Kendra followed in her mother’s footsteps when it came to singing, not necessarily in the kitchen where she did not spend an inordinate amount of time, but definitely in the car.  Our kids not only heard their grandmother’s favorite songs, but also learned Kendra’s.

Our family vacations were not exotic when our kids were young, but the car rides to a camping trip or to a day-long excursion were filled with fun and song.  Music was a big part of our sons’ growing up and it was a way we made memories.  Kendra sang to them and with them through the years.

Today we hear our granddaughters singing some of those same tunes.  Your July outings do not have to be expensive in order to create memories. You may not be a songbird or have a heritage of tunes, but you can be intentional about making positive memories with your kids. Something as simple as a summer bike hike or camping in your own back yard may someday become the thing your children choose to share with their children.  And if you happen to cross over a river in Illinois or any other state, feel free to break into the Illinois State song.  Oh yes, and be certain to define the new vocabulary words.

What are  some summer traditions in your family?