When my son was little, I planned my work so that I'd be finished with whatever new manuscript I was working on by the end of school. Sent it off. Took the summer off and enjoyed Oliver's company.
At the risk of stating a cliche, they're gone in a minute.
Besides, I need deadlines. I impose them on myself. I know myself well enough to know that any story that isn't forcing its way out of me, demanding to be written, stumbling along in spite of all setbacks, is a story I don't really need to tell.
Not that deep down need. I'm not interested in the inauthentic.
I also believe in the idea of looking at something by not looking at it. Staring leads to madness.
Try this: Put the tips of your index fingers together in front of your face. Stare. What do you see?
A stumpy finger with two nails.
Summer's are meant for all the things everyone has said here. Let me just add spying. Eavesdropping. Observing. If you have a house full of children, get your notebook and start jotting it all down. The annoying, the amazing, the touching, the hilarious. Especially the dialogue. I can still remember the summer day when I was cracking down on my really annoying eighth grader son by yelling up at him, "And change the sheets on your bed!"
Oliver yelled back: "Which ones are the sheets?"
It's in a book kids are reading today.
When they're back in school, you can start writing again.
Truly: go live. You never know what you may learn.