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Back to school day coming too soon? Seven tips to extend your summer

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AP Photo/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Greg Lehman

(Read caption) Summer doesn't have to end so fast. In the shade of old trees, two friends pedal their bikes to adventures unknown along the main sidewalk of Pioneer Park in Walla Walla, Wash., Aug 12.

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While many of us are preparing our kids to go back to school, the calendar and weather still signal summer. The days are longer, our to-do lists are less crowded.

Even if you never let go of frenzy for summer, or you’re feeling it now as you gear up for fall, there are a few small shifts that can really help you lighten up to match the remaining summer season, while also helping squeeze more true pleasure from this joyous time of year.

Make a Summer Bucket List

For many, summer conjures beach days, county fairs, gazing at the stars, planting flowers, playing flashlight tag, or making simple crafts. What else would you and your family really like to have done by the time Labor Day comes around?

Make a summer bucket list of ideas and hang it where you can see it, or write each idea on a piece of paper or a popsicle stick and place those in a bucket. Have one family member choose an activity once or more per week for the rest of summer.

Don’t feel like you have to do everything on the list – you can do many of your favorites another time.

Watch the Sun Rise or Set

The day naturally slows when we take the time to witness a dramatic and beautiful sunrise or sunset.

Get comfortable, pay attention to the changing colors and light, and make a point to either greet or say goodbye to the day.

This small act can be very grounding and gratifying to people of all ages, as it truly takes us out of the artificial time of clocks, calendars, emails and to-do lists, and into the rhythms of nature and the comforting, yet awe-inspiring, turning of the Earth.

Make Time for Down Time

Many of us are uncomfortable with empty spaces on the calendar. As difficult as it may be, and as enriching as many choices are, try to resist the urge to schedule every moment of summer.

Kids actually need play time, down time and family time in order not only to recharge, but also to fully thrive. In addition, they don’t need to be constantly entertained.

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