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Planks on the Dock: Worthy Destinations for Northeast Ohio Families

Before your kids reach the end of the dock this summer, be sure to hit The Growth Chart's Vacation-Day-Worthy "Planks"

When our children were young, I had the incredible blessing of spending every day of summer with them. Even during the school year, I had the best of both worlds, working just two days a week. There was certainly sacrifice involved in that economic decision, and it put us on a tight entertainment budget, but I’ll never regret that choice.

Those days provided some of our most treasured memories.  

The simplest of pleasures were favorites: snuggling on the porch swing with stacks of books, a blanket and a guitar under a shade tree, chasing each other up and down the slide, or playing “ice-cream stand” in our Little Tykes play house. (We still laugh about the day I was sneaky enough that when they placed their “order” at the window, I handed out REAL ice cream. Their eyes were bigger than the cones!)  

Summers were filled with daily adventures.

Because we live close to a neighboring campground/swim lake — just across the field — I would often load the kids and the water wings and swim noodles and towels and a packed lunch onto our golf cart and head out for the day. Water activities of any kind — especially swimming or spending time on a boat — are my very favorite ways to spend a summer day.   

There are so many wonderful things to do, and it's hard to fit them into a few short months. Now that my kids are older and have their own social agenda, the time seems to fly even faster.  

Once, I was reading a magazine while waiting for an appointment. An advertisement featured a kid running and jumping, mid-air off a long dock. The caption said: “The end of the dock is closer than you think…”

I saw the double meaning and cried, right there in the waiting room. (Go ahead and laugh; I'm really that sappy.)

I’m pretty sure it was an ad about visiting Michigan (of all places for an Ohio person to cry over!) but it was also about “fitting it all in” before your kids grow up.

Where has the time gone?

I have a cousin who, along with her husband, made it a goal to take their daughter to all 50 states before she leaves their home. This has required effort, discipline to save and planning. Right now, they have nine states to go, but in a few short weeks, if all goes as planned, they will have just four left. They have managed both an east coast and a west coast trip, this summer, “from sea to shining sea.” 

For many families, big trips every year aren’t an option because of time or budget, so “stay-cations” and “family fun days” have become a way to experience the best Ohio has to offer in the day-to-day of summer.

Whether you’re an at-home parent or a full-time employed parent, or somewhere in-between, summer is a great time to make time for fun with your kids.

This summer, I plan to do just that! In the coming weeks, my teens and I will visit some Northeast Ohio fun-spots (with some of our favorite little friends in tow!) and let you know what’s “vacation-day-worthy” about these destinations.

Next week, we’ll feature Canal Fulton resident Rachel Anderson's visit with her two young daughters to The Children’s Museum of Cleveland, a great place for the very youngest members of our Patch Family. Be sure to check it out!

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