Summer and love

We have a ritual around the dinner table, usually initiated nightly by my 5-year-old."Who loves daddy?,” she’ll shout, being careful not to spill her milk because she knows he really hates that. Four hands—mine and the kids’—instantly shoot in the air.

Daddy plays a huge role in our house. In fact, I couldn’t do what I do without him. He is chief chauffeur, laundry doer, dishwasher loader and clutter combatant. Most importantly, though, Bob suffers from weak-in-the-knees love for our kids.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports there are 64.3 million dads out there to celebrate this year. And federal researchers, in taking a statistical glimpse into a child’s day, confirm what many of us already know—dads (whether living in the home or not, whether married to mom or not) play a huge role in kids’ lives and who they become. The Census Bureau reports 63 percent of kids under 6 told researchers they are praised three or more times a day by their dads, 30 percent report eating breakfast with their dads and 63 percent told researchers they were eating dinner with their dads every day.

Summer is a perfect time to celebrate dad.

I don’t know about you, but for me, this summer seems to have taken its own sweet time arriving. Unlike all the summers I’ve wasted over the years, this year I am determined to make the most of summer and have fun with my kids before they decide I’m no fun at all.

I’m amazed when I hear from moms and dads who have summer already planned out, from the last day of school until the beginning. I’m the kind of mom who has grand plans I never seem to execute so I am always looking for ideas beyond the loosely planned activities that revolve around water and the kids’ friends.

We figured you’d be thinking about the lazy (or busy) summer days ahead too, so we spent the past few months thinking about the different things you can do to have fun with your kids. From dripping ice cream to hot festivals to cool swimming pools, this issue is full of ideas to keep your family busy (and learning, but don’t tell them) all summer long.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and a happy, safe summer to all of you.

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