Under the Stars

The hot weather has sent people scurrying indoors to the AC. It’s just been too uncomfortable to enjoy many of the usual outdoor family fun activities. The temps normally cool down in the evenings so maybe we could look for some fun under the stars.

I remember my mother talking about when she was a child back in the 1930s. It was so unbearably hot in the house that at night they pulled mattresses outside to sleep, hoping for a cool breeze. When our girls were young we laid blankets in the front yard. Then we would stretch out for some rest punctuated by lots of giggles and interesting conversations.

This is a family fun activity that parents and kids of all ages can enjoy. Grab some blankets, cool drinks (maybe even a snack), and head outside. Allow everyone to get situated and then see what happens.

Use this as a chance to talk about the stars. Don’t worry if you’re not up on what is where – there’s an app for that on your computer or smartphone or stop by the library for a book.

As the mood quiets and the night grows deeper, just be present and allow the conversations to go where they may. There is something almost magical about a beautiful summer night that allows people to share their thoughts and feelings.

When was the last time your family spent time under the stars? Why not tonight?

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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