Six ways to make summer linger longer

Have you had a good holiday? Many people say this the best summer they can remember (apart from farmers who are looking at brown fields) and parents have loved the wonderful family times they enjoyed on vacation. Are there ways to preserve some of that holiday flavour as we sink back into duller, workaday part of the calendar?

Make the most of daylight saving

There is still time for bike rides, treasure hunts, swims and cricket matches after tea. The challenge will be to switch off from ‘work-mode’ and to switch on to ‘family time’ without switching on the iPad or TV in between. The challenge for your kids will be to knock off their homework earlier so there is time for some fun.

Eat like it is still summer

I don’t just mean slightly burning everything like dad does on the barbecue. The three things that define holiday dining for me are (a) everyone contributing ideas on what to eat (b) everyone helping to get it ready (c) everyone eating together. The main sauce is ‘everyone’. It is more than a way of shovelling nutrition into bodies, it is an unhurried fun time without distractions.

Pickle the past

Holiday memories can fade faster than tans but you can keep the holiday mode when you preserve and relive your holiday memories. You probably took hundreds of snaps so print off loads of them from your phone (it’s now easy and cheap-as-chips at many electronics shops) and stick them up all over the house. It’s amazing how good they look on paper compared with squinting them on a small screen Pick one or two of your best holiday snaps and get them blown to huge size and put them on the wall. Tell the stories and make plans for next year. Recalling sun and sand is a great antidote to the darker-day ‘blahs’.

Sleep out with your kids in a tent

Brilliant fun, and a real adventure, even if it’s just on your back lawn. There are enough nocturnal squeaks and scufflings around our compost heap to satisfy the biggest thirst for adventure.

Sleep marae-style in the lounge

Drag the mattresses into the lounge and tell stories in the dark. Memories of the discomfort and insomnia will fade faster than the recollections of giggling, midnight snacks and torch-beam sword-fights.

Breakfast barbecues

Though I love to linger late in the sack, I must admit that parks and beaches are beautiful in the early a.m. The kids love the novelty and having the whole place to themselves. The last time we did it, two pigs came running out of the bushes to scrounge our scraps. Only in New Zealand