Our Special Needs Friendly Summer Bucket List

This summer in a lot of ways give me a deep sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. After reading this article about how we only get 18 summers with our kids, I feel more driven then ever to make sure we make lasting summer memories as a family not only this summer, but every summer to come. Most of the deep pitting feelings stem from the fact that come this fall, both of my babies will be in school for half of the day. Em has preschool at the public school from 7:20am-12:00pm, and then Jay will be in a young 5's preschool class at a nearby church from 9:00am-1:00pm. They won't be gone all day long, but they will be gone, and that does bring me sadness. Sadness that they're getting older and will start to have these lives apart from me, and sadness for feeling like there was so much time wasted, that I could have been a better mom. I think all parents probably feel this way at some point, but I'm totally having all the school feels lately.


I often feel like there are so many things that aren't doable for our family because of Em's physical limitations, but this year  I came up with a solid summer game plan to make sure we still have fun that's inclusive for her, and fun for Jay at the same time. Plus she's sitting this summer, which changes things so so much. I also feel like it's one thing to make a list of the things that you want to do, but execution is an entirely different thing. Once I made a list of all the things we wanted to do, I actually blocked out days on our calendar and wrote in when we were going to do each thing. That way we have a game plan, and know that we can actually stick to it! So if you're in the market for activities that are special needs friendly for a two year old, and still fun for an almost five year old, here you go:


Atlanta Children's Museum: We have yet to go here, but I've heard they have a lot of awesome things for kids of all abilities. We take the kids on a fun adventure each year for their birthday, so when Jay turns five in August, we'll finally be going!

Atlanta Braves Game: Now that the Braves have moved their stadium to Cobb County and we're paying the hefty taxes for it, it seems only appropriate for us to go to at least one game.

Morgan Falls Overlook Park: This park has a ton of fun hiking trails, playgrounds, and waterfalls, so we're looking forward to throwing Em in the baby carrier and to get exploring!

Hike Sope Creek State Park: Another hiking outing that Em will get tossed in the carrier for.

Duck Donuts: We crossed this off the list earlier this week, and it was totally worth it. They're our favorite donut shop, and they just opened a location in Georgia about an hour from our house.

Drive-in Movies: Derek just bought a new pick up truck a few weeks ago, so we're excited to load the kids, and all our pillows and blankets into the truck and watch a movie this summer. I'm so excited about it!

Camping: We want to go camping one night in our backyard, and then one night some where else for real. I'll let you know if this is special needs friendly after we actually do it ;)

Swim Lessons: An old swim coach at the local high school lives in our neighborhood and does swim lessons throughout the summer. The goal is to get Jay swimming without a float, and Em with a float!

Lake Acworth: We've gone here a few times each summer that we've lived here. They have a fun beach and a couple playgrounds and it's a lot of fun! I'm excited for Em to play in the sand and splash by the shore this year!

Make S'mores: We just got a fire pit for our backyard, so we're hoping to do this several times throughout the summer.

Go on a Picnic: I'm not a fun mom, and haven't done this often, but if I go outside to eat a meal with our kids at least once this summer, I'll feel like a good parent.

Watch Fireworks: The fourth of July.

Bike Rides: Derek and I are planning on getting bikes this summer and a trailer for Em in the back, and possibly this bike for her birthday. Jay can either ride with her in the carrier, or his own bike alongside us.

Slip n Slide: We bought at $12 slip n slide from Walmart, and are hoping that Em enjoys playing with toys at the bottom and that Jay will potentially consider actually using it the right way.

Berry Picking: There is a place close to our house where we can pick blueberries, and are planning on doing that in July sometime.

Storytime: I have only taken our kids to the library once for storytime this entire year. I figure one time over the summer won't kill me.

Make Ice Cream: A summer tradition, am I right?

Splash Pad: Our neighborhood just redid the amenities area by resurfacing our pool, and adding a splash pad, so I'm sure we'll be there a  lot this summer.

Grill Outside: We have plans of buying a grill, and then using it.

Water Balloons: We bought these water balloons and are super excited to see how they work... and then chuck them at our children.

Beach Trip: This one is still a question mark for right now, but we would love to go to the ocean, even if it was only for a night or two.

Make Real Lemonade: Derek and I both realized the other night that neither one of us have ever made real lemonade from lemons... So we're going to fix that.

Summer Movies: Most theaters do free or cheap movies over the summer, so the goal is to find where that's happening here, and then go.

1 comment

  1. I always feel like a tired mom. Not necessarily a bad mom, but a tired mom. I have a baby who wakes up about 3 times a night and I my first child was the same. I also have two kids under 4. I always like to tell myself there is room for improvement and tomorrow is another day, especially on those days that the tired mama in me makes me very impatient and not so cool of a mom. You are doing fine. Being a mom is hard and I think we all get it. I think your kids are lucky to have you.

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