The Challenge: Fostering a Peaceful Summer

Summer is here at last, the days have warmed and lengthened, and students are enjoying their first few days without school. These months are the perfect time to foster peace in our communities and in our children. This summer, our Board of Directors has a challenge for you: When you engage in a peaceful activity with your family, please post a picture to our Facebook page, captioned with a description. You may also post the picture yourself and tag the Peace Study Center in the photo. It will be exciting to see peace shared and strengthened in our families and communities this summer.

Looking for inspiration? We compiled a list of our favorite peaceful activities for the summer months. Check out our suggestions below:

  1. Volunteer – Summer is the perfect time to engage in community service with your family and spread peace and compassion:
    1. Reading and bringing ice water to residents of a local nursing home.
    2. Spending time with animals at a shelter is a fun way to teach kids how to be peaceful and kind. The ASPCA has many ways to get involved with animals in need, or for our local friends, the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) is always in need of volunteers.
    3. Cleaning up a local park, or completing some yard work for an elderly neighbor. Encourage the children in your life to pick up litter. Make it a game to see who can find the most.
    4. Check out for more ideas on volunteering.  Talk to your children about how they are interested in helping and then find a way.
  2. Enjoy Nature –  Take advantage of the longer hours of sunlight to engage with the outdoors and teach your children to be stewards of our earth:
    1. Garden: Plant sunflower seeds in a sunny spot in a yard or a big pot, or try your hand at growing some tomatoes or other summer veggies for your family. Talk about how things grow and how we can take care of our environment.
    2. Hike! Summer is the perfect time to check out National Parks.  Baltimore suggestions include the Oregon Ridge Nature Center, Gunpowder Falls State Park, and the Gwynns Falls Trail.
    3. Practice peace through the sense of smell: Visit the Druid Hill Botanical Garden, the Sculpture Garden at the Baltimore Museum of Art, US Botanic Garden, or Sherwood Garden.
    4. Walk a Labyrinth: Practice and model peaceful contemplation for your family by walking a Labyrinth. Find one Here or visit one near us at Govans Presbyterian Church.
    5. Visit a local Farmers’ Market. Teach children about local produce and healthy food. Visit the one at Govans Church every Wednesday from 3-7pm, or the Hereford Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 9am-12pm.
    6. Walk, ride a bike, or use public transportation rather than a car whenever possible.
  3. Read: We publish a list of excellent picture books on peace on our website. You can access the list Here.
    1. Read a peaceful book to your child. Picking out a book on peace is a wonderful activity to do together at your local public library.
    2. Read to your child about a famous peacemaker.
    3. Visit the Peace Studies Center!
  4.  Teach Kindness. 
    1.  Spread peace and compassion in your home and community: Teach your children what a “random act of kindness” is, and then challenge your family members to each complete a random act of kindness every week this summer. For younger children, help them plan their acts of kindness, and for older children, give them the resources to plan and execute their own!

We hope that our list of ideas has inspired you to pursue a peaceful summer with your family! We look forward to seeing photos of your peaceful activities and service on our Facebook page very soon!

Laura Williams joined the PSC Board in 2012. She is a middle school English and Literature teacher in the greater Baltimore area. Laura graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in English and Secondary Education. Her senior thesis, “From Entitlement to Stewardship: Children’s and Young Adult Literature of the Chesapeake Bay” explored the didactic quality of environmental children’s literature in the region. Laura combines her passion for literature, education, and environmentalism on the PSC Board and works to incorporate peace studies into her English curriculum as well as developing service-learning projects for her students that address the importance of peace in our modern schools and world.
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