Summer is here! The sun is shining, the grass is green and lush, the strawberries are ripe and the picking is good. Remember how exciting it was to look forward to summer vacation?
There isn’t a person out there in their right mind that doesn’t love summer. And lucky for everyone out there, summer is almost here and starting to be in full swing.
Keep up the traditions you remember from childhood. If your family doesn’t have summertime traditions to live up to, establish some. You’ll give your kids memories for a lifetime – and have fun in the process.
There are so many great things that go along with summer, and I hope you are going to be able to experience all of those things this summer.
Ahh…the good old summertime when school is out and carefree days are full of swimming, bike riding, street ball, reading. Then the second week of summer vacation starts and you begin to hear every once in a while the whiny sounds of “I’m bored”.
(I cannot ever remember saying the words, “I’m bored.”) It gradually crescendos so by the third week your ready to pull your hair out wondering how to keep everyone happy, busy and mommy sane.
What do you do in the Summertime? When the world is green? Do you swim in a stream or lazily dream and watch as the clouds go by?? Is that what you do?? So do I.
Hello, Summer! — (A Last Day of School Poem)
You can find me at the beach…
Or in the park or at the pool
Or any place that isn’t school.
Goodbye, homework —
There’s so, so much I wanna do.
I know the school year flew on past…
But please, please summer — last and last.
So, what would you love to do this summer? Let’s decide together to stop making excuses and start intentionally putting family experiences, big and small, in our calendar and doing them.
The summer may seem to stretch out forever when you’re thinking how you’re going to fill those days with restless children underfoot. I hope these simple and inexpensive ideas for keeping kids busy over the summer break and have fun together all summer long.
Things to do in the summertime…..
Make Some Playdough
Get your bicycle out, clean it up, and get it ready for summer.
Start a ‘Childs’ garden, let them pick out what they want in their garden, dig it up and plant it.
Kids love to see watermelons and pumpkins and have a contest who will have the biggest.
**You might also have a flower garden with each child having a different color of flower
Build a clubhouse. Modify an old garden shed or playhouse you no longer use, or convert an unused corner of your garage or attic. (we did that as a child and converted a chicken coop into a COOL PLAYHOUSE)
Go for a bike ride.
Swing. (“Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing ever a child can do.”)
Start a lemonade stand.
Shoot baskets or play tennis
Go on Daddy-Daughter/ Mother-Son date!
Go to an Amusement Park…………….A trip to an amusement park can be a chance for everyone to relax, laugh and play. If you can’t swing a full-fledged vacation trip, a day at an amusement park can make a memorable “stay-cation.”
Rearrange the furniture in your bedroom.
Write a summer journal. Go here for this cute free printable full of prompts to get you started!
With the Olympics this summer, host your own backyard Olympics! Get the kids competing in running and wheelbarrow races, obstacle courses, water balloon tosses and jumping competitions.. Finish off the fun with a mini-Olympic awards ceremony to honor all of the athletes. Buy medals at the local dollar store or make your own.
Arrange a mini-internship. If one of your kids loves animals, ask a veterinarian if your child could observe at the office for an afternoon.
Raining? Don’t hide indoors. Whether you’re 3, 13, 33 or 63, get out there and splash in the puddles. Feel the joy!
Have a Lego Building contest……………
From a local pond or ditch, take a jar of water and set it in a window where it gets some sunlight. Over the weeks watch what happens to it…
Click on this link “How to make huge bubbles” to go to a earlier post of ours about how to have FABULOUS fun making BIG bubbles-Even one so large it can surround a child!
Have a sock puppet show (and make some of these cute puppets!)
We enjoy days of “teddy bear or dolly” picnics. Make a picnic lunch and kids take teddy bear or dolly to it. You can do this weekly – kids love it!
Play in the water – but aside from the everyday play in the sprinkler, kiddie pool – make games with the water – use the water with paint brushes and paint the fence (it dries clear, lol)…put coloring in the water and stretch paper across a fence – fill water guns with this colored water and then they are really painting with water colors.
Check your movie theater for free summer movies (usually morning showings)
Make musical instruments and become a ‘home band’ sensation! (think – pie pan tamborine, paper towel holder rain stick, string and cereal box guitar) – don’t forget to dress the part!
Watching my grandchildren eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the beach.
Take all the cushions off your couch and some blankets from your bed and build a fort.
Read a book. Try one that someone has recommended but that you wouldn’t normally choose for yourself. You might be pleasantly surprised.
These popsicle sets are great for homemade popsicles or smoothies. They even fit into lunch boxes for a refreshing treat on a hot day.
Take the Family Camping
Check with your local library for summer programs.
Start a blog.
Make your own ice cream.
Here are some finger paints that are safe for your kids to eat…..because you know they are going to lick their fingers and possibly eat the pudding rather than paint with it. Safe, fun and delicious. Get the recipes over at Tinker Lab.
How about a Drive-In Movie night? Make a car for everyone out of a cardboard box….let them design the outside. Have your party inside or get a screen and show the movie outside. The concession stand will be open with lots of fun things to eat too. Head on over to Parties and Holidays to see how they planned this fun Drive In Movie Night.
Coloring macaroni these fun rainbow colors is very easy……but will supply hours of fun while girls make necklaces using these colorful macaroni pieces. Great fun for a party or even to send home as a party favor. Get all the instructions over at My Name is Snickerdoodle
Gather some old dry bread crusts and feed the birds. Or go to a lake or pond and feed the ducks.
Volunteer. It’s fun and you’ll get good karma. :o)
Kids Bowl Free is a nationwide program. Families register online, then coupons are mailed once a week. Kids get two free games every day during the summer. You just have to pay for shoe rental.
Morse says, “It keeps them active, keeps them going for the summer away from the video games and out and moving and something they can do with their friends, family together.”
Marshmallow Shooters are a lot of fun. Especially since it’s marshmallows you’re shooting. They don’t hurt and they taste delicious, especially if they are fresh. Sure to be a fun afternoon for all! See how to make these with the photo tutorial. Head on over to Mom’s Crafty Space to get more details.
Explore a Ghost Town
Go Paddling Boating
Make your own car mat.
Have a Backwards Day – Have dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner, etc.
Celebrate Special Days for:
June,(summer solstice, Flag Day, Donut day, Chocolate Ice Cream Day)
July, (Embrace Your Geekness Day, Hammock Day, Chocolate Day)
August (Friendship Day, Watermelon Day, Toasted Marshmallow Day)
Make a Milk Carton Boat – and head to a pond.
Go to the Beach and make a Sand Castle
Go fly a kite (why not make them first).
Volunteer….. Pick a local nursing home a bring the kids once a week to read, play games with, or do crafts with elderly residents. I will admit that my kids didn’t love this idea at first, but as the summer wore on they began looking forward to their visits!
Library-STORY TIME – something about a different setting breaks up the routine for the kids, gives them something to look forward to.
Check out your local hardware store – they offer free kids club building projects. (Home Depot or Lowells)
Assemble a Shoebox Dollhouse.
Buy something from the farmer’s market.
Visit the Zoo
Go To The Fair……Growing up I was involved with the 4h group and we always entered things in the fair. I always got Blue Ribbons for my bread and cookies. (And that is my profession today cooking)
“Start making Christmas gifts. You might not have time later and you’ll just have to buy…as usual.”
“Start a dog-walking business.”
Sit on the back deck and watch the sunset
“Work on your health. Don’t just sit on the couch and watch TV.”
- Keep on hand at ALL TIMES:
- Sidewalk chalk
- Water balloons
- Board games (with all the pieces!!)
- Working sprinkler or kiddie pool (preferably both)
- Art supplies
AND remember if the kids say they are bored they can always help with cleaning. Boredom will be overcome.
For some people, this will be their last summer at home — and they’re feeling a little nostalgic. “Find time for your parents. They might embarrass you, but they’re the only parents you got.”
Finally, it’s important to keep a healthy perspective on things. You may think something will be boring, but keep an open mind and it might not be.
Initially your kids may balk at some of these ideas, but hold your ground. Remember they are only children and often have no clue what they are missing.
More than one child who rolled his eyes at the idea of doing some of these activities looked back at the end of the summer with excitement for what he learned and the memories that were made.
Not to mention the great lessons learned about life and quality time spent together as a family instead of just looking for ways to be entertained.
As you look toward the summer months, I hope these ideas help you plan your family outings. Summer truly is a great time to be with family and friends, and I hope you make fun outings a priority in your schedule. I promise that you’ll be thankful you did.
Whatever your plans are, make sure you take lots of photos along the way.
Find Joy in the Journey!
“The coolest moments and memories are made when you least expect it.”
Have a Great Summer,
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