8 fresh family traditions to kick off the summer

It is within family traditions that many happy childhood memories are made—and cherished for a lifetime.

8 fresh family traditions to kick off the summer

Pizza night

So many good traditions revolve around food! It just doesn’tget much better than good food and a happy family.

Having a weekly pizza (ortaco or macaroni and cheese!) night makes meal planning easier.

For even morefun memories, don’t order out! Get the kids in the kitchen and roll out thatdough together! Let everyone add their favorite toppings and enjoy!

Family game night

Scrabble was a staple in my home as a kid. In my currenthome, we have a cabinet filled with classic board games and card games. We alsoenjoy playing random Minute-to-Win-It games and having family tournaments.

Whether you go with the traditional game of Sorry! or get wild by throwing asmany Cheetos as possible on a shaving-cream-covered shower cap before the timerdings, family game night is a fun and easy tradition to uphold.

Now that summer is upon us, there is no better time to kickoff a few fresh family traditions. Whatever new customs you try out with yourfamily, remember to stop worrying about the rest of life, enjoy the presentmoment, and simply be with yourfamily.

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Family movie night

Going to the movie theater has gotten fairly expensive, but Netflix and rentals are affordable alternatives once your child is developmentally ready for a little screen time.

Pop a bigbowl of popcorn, grab an extra-large blanket, and snuggle in for a night offamily fun. Here is alist of recommended family movies from Common Sense Media.

Family night on the town

Take one night a week to break up the hum-drum of the usualroutine and head out on the town for some family fun!

Visit a local go-carttrack, skating rink, or museum. If the budget is tight, just go sightseeing orhead to the playground for a picnic. Sometimes even just a drive around theblock for ice cream is enough to restore good moods and peace.

Read aloud night

This is one of my favorite traditions! We are currentlyreading through The Hobbit, which I recommend adding to your list!

Readingaloud isn’t just for young children; it has benefitsfor older kids as well. The benefits of reading aloud include a largervocabulary, improved speech, improved attention spans and listening skills, andthe experience of entering new worlds and meeting new characters.

Family stroll

After dinner on at least one evening a week, go for aleisurely stroll together.

Make a treasure box to house all the interestingthings you find, such as unique rocks or colorful leaves.

You can evenincorporate a scavenger hunt to keep the little ones occupied. Ilike this printable scavenger hunt from Hands On as We Grow.

Family traditions hold a special place in our hearts. It iswithin them that many happy childhood memories are made—memories that will becherished for a lifetime.

The family traditions we create and uphold help usdefine our family culture, and this is so important because it is theatmosphere in which our children live and grow. They are woven into ourstories, providing us with feelings of belonging and security, strengtheningour bonds and defining us as “family.”

Traditions come in all shapes and sizes, from simple mealsaround the dinner table to extravagant summer vacations, but you don’t have tospend a lot of money or time to enjoy the benefits.

Whether you are looking for unique or classic family traditions, this list of inexpensive,fun, and easy weekly customs should get you started!

Saturday morning pancakes

Mmm, pancakes! Nothing says hello weekend quite like this tasty tradition. It has the addedbenefit of gathering everyone at the table!

If you’re feeling extra ambitious,try turning those boring round pancakes into a doggie, a sun, or a just a bigsmiley face.

Star-gazing night

One of the best memories my family has ever made togetherwas lying on our trampoline under the stars with our pillows and blankets towatch a meteor shower.

The thrill of being up way past bedtime coupled withseeing the beauty of meteors flashing by was a night to remember for sure!Lying still and looking up at the stars slows us down, brings us to the presentmoment, and puts life back in perspective.

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The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

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Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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