10 of My Favorite Things About Summer

Summer was always a magical time when I was a kid.

I remember lazy days of riding my banana seat bike around the neighborhood searching for frogs in the mud and sneaking off to the local candy store.

The freedom I experienced as a kid isn’t the same for my own kids.

Neighborhoods don’t feel as safe as they used to. But I can still give my boys the magical feeling I experienced.

Despite some people talking about going back to school already, I’m embracing everything summer here!

My Top 10 Favorite Things About Summer

10 of My Favorite Things About Summer | Mommy Evolution

1. Watermelon

Well, it’s not just watermelon but all of the amazing fruits that come into season — blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe.

The moment they come into season, I’m literally fill up my fridge to the brim.

But watermelon is the most fun to eat.

I loved biting into it with the juices dripping down my arms.

Of course, as a kid you had to eat around all of those black seeds “way back when,” but then you also got to have watermelon seed spitting contests.

2. Bike Rides

There’s nothing like being able to go on a bike ride with the family.

This year, my youngest son was finally big enough to get kicked out the baby bucket seat we had for him and moved him to an attached bike trailer that he “pedals” when he’s feeling like contributing to the ride.

As enthusiastic as my kids are about getting out for a ride, their legs never seem to go as long as they wish.

But they’ll get there when they’re older!

3. 4th of July

This is my favorite holiday only second to Christmas.

For me, 4th of July is about embracing our American heritage and celebrating with our community of friends (including all of our lovely expat friends from across the pond and beyond).

There may be things I want to change about the U.S., but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it just the same.

For my boys, the sense of community has defined 4th of July as well.

Okay, it also includes a lot of glow-in-the-dark sticks, swords and bracelets, but that’s really just an added bonus.

4. Fireworks

Wait, you say. Didn’t you just mention 4th of July?

Well, if you live in Chicago, fireworks have absolutely nothing to do with the 4th of July.

Navy Pier hosts fireworks two times a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

When I was living downtown, even when I couldn’t see them I would hear the booming like clockwork.

Those sounds would transport me to the excitement of the fireworks even when I was stuck inside rocking my newborn.

Now my boys are just as excited about seeing the dazzling fireworks as I am and have their own personal favorite ones.

5. Backyard BBQs

For those of you who don’t live with four seasons, perhaps you have backyard BBQs all year round.

But for those of us fighting our way through the Polar Vortex, the moment it gets warm, we get outside!

Really it’s just an excuse to hang out with friends and let the kids play.

But is there really anything better than a relaxed evening with friends?

6. The Color Green

Speaking of the outdoors, summer in Chicagoland is an explosion of green.

The decades-old elms, oaks and maples create a ceiling of color along the streets.

Last year, our lawn was a lush carpet of green (and I didn’t even water once!)

Want to see the blanket of green in my backyard?

Check out the video I made for a post about Summer’s FunSuckers.

Of course, all of this green also means tons of bugs and mosquitoes, but we’ve got them under control.

7. Outdoor Concerts

We are fortunate enough to live near some pretty amazing outdoor concert venues.

As a teen, I lived in upstate New York near the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

I got to see the New York City Ballet, Yo-Yo Ma and the Red Hot Chili Peppers all perform on the same stage.

Not at the same time, silly! Chicago has Rivinia.

Over the years, I’ve gotten to see James Taylor, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra  and Chris Botti (one of my favorite jazz artists) play.

And that’s not even talking about all of the local events put on by our town.

My boys are a bit too rambunctious to make it through a concert… but perhaps next summer they’ll be ready.

8. The Beach

I didn’t grow up with a beach nearby.

But I am sure thankful to be so close to Lake Michigan now.

Last year we were banned from playing at the beach because of my son’s allergies.

He’s horribly allergic to mold and sand can breed it because of the water table.

But we got the green light this year and am happy to pop down there for a quick afternoon of making sand castles and splashing in the water.

9. Bonfires

Oh my goodness how I love a good fire. Having a roaring fire in the fireplace during the winter is heavenly.

But having an outside bonfire is absolutely define.

As a teen, my family would build a fire down at the lakeside near our lake house.

We would talk the night away.

And when we had guests, it was even better because then we got to hear their entertaining stories as well.

From my boys perspective, bonfires mean only one thing…. s’mores!

10. Fireflies

When I was a little girl, my parents would let us stay up late to capture fireflies.

We would get an empty glass jar (kids were allowed to play with glass back then) and poke holes in the metal top.

(Kids were allowed to play with metal back then, too.)

My brother and I would try to collect as many fireflies as we could.

I always wished I could keep them and read by their light at night.

We would let them go, but there was always one that didn’t fly away.

Now my kids use these fun plastic nature explorer kits from Backyard Safari.

But either way, the magic of those fireflies still remain.



  1. cole marie mckinnon says:

    I love your “live in the moment” perspective about summer. The kids are barely out of school for the summer when the “Back to School” activities begin. We love the backyard cook-outs, picnics and pool.

  2. Dear Jennifer,

    Such a sweet post — really captures the sort of old-fashioned MAGIC of summer!

    Now that my kids are grown, I maybe find myself loving summer in somewhat different ways. Gardening. Pretty clothes. Cocktails at a gorgeous patio bar.

    Thank you for sharing 😉

    1. Absolutely! And yes, the magic of summer has changed over the years. But with my kids being 5 and 7, I am rediscovering the old magic of summer.

  3. I love outdoor concerts at sunset!

  4. Tammy Iler says:

    I love your posts

  5. Watermelon – the fruit that needs no explanation 🙂

  6. Michael Pawlik says:

    Love hiking the trail and camping

  7. Cynthia R says:

    Got three to add, I love to get a summer book and read at the pool, get my nails done (looks so pretty with flip flops/sandals), and making homemade ice cream.

  8. I agree with all of these, although we didn’t live by a beach when I was a kid. You know what else reminds me of summer? Box fans. We didn’t have much money growing up so we didn’t use the air conditioner. We would be super hot and have to get in a cold shower, get our hair wet, and then sit in front of the box fan to cool off before bed.

    True story.

    Do you know that when Matt is gone I turn off the air and do exactly this? I love it and it totally reminds me of being a kid.

    And who doesn’t love July 4th? Okay, anyone who isn’t an American, but whatever.

    Great list.

    1. Lisa — Of course… box fans!!! We used to put them in the windows at night facing outward to pull the hot air out of the house and pull cool air in from the other windows.

  9. Great list! I live an hour from the shore, so that is definitely a favorite of mine. I also love all of the splash parks and wearing sundresses. I’ll be sharing this on pinterest!

    1. Of course — splash parks! We’re actually loving that they boys are a bit older now and we’re going to the bigger water parks as well 😀

  10. Mary Withrow says:

    I love the smell of fresh cut grass, working in the garden with the children, camping with the family, relaxing on the porch reading a book. I love everything about summer!

    1. I really love everything about summer. Well, except all of the mosquitoes!!!

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