Photo: Nicola

 

If you’re like me, summer is both fun and daunting. I love the more relaxed pace (and not having to pack school lunches everyday yay!). But I also know that the days can get a bit long if we don’t have plans for activities. I am not against letting my kids get a little bored and figuring out their own things to do and play. But I also want summer to be a time for us to have fun together. I came up with 15 things that I am going to try doing this summer. I would love to hear your ideas as well.

1. Map Your City – Get a paper map of your city and some push pins. Hang the map up in your child’s room. With the kids, plan places in your city to visit like parks, museums, hiking trails, the beach etc. After you visit a location, the kids can pin the locations you visited. At the end of the summer you will have a picture of all the places you went and the things you did together.

2. Service Project – Teach your children the value of giving back. There are lots of opportunities like volunteering in a food bank, collecting canned goods, or making cards for soldiers and wounded and recovering veterans.

3. Backyard Campout – No need for a campsite, use your backyard! Set up a tent, use sleeping bags and tell stories under the stars. If you don’t have a backyard, no problem, use your living room!

4. Friday Food Day – make cooking interactive and fun! Every Friday pick a fun summer recipe you can do with the kids, such as skewers, healthy muffins, mini pizzas etc.

5. Weekly Friend Swap – Talk to the parents of five of your kid’s best friends and arrange a weekly 2-3 hour swap where all this kids rotate playing at each other’s houses. It will be fun for the kids and give you a few hours to get some errands done!

6. Retro Board Game Nights – Break out some old favorites like Monopoly, Clue, Twister and Life. They were fun for you as a kid and your kids will love them too!

7. Outdoor Movie Nights – Hang a sheet on the wall or your garage door and use a projector. to show a family-friendly movie I found some projectors that connect to a laptop on Amazon for under $50.  You could even make it a neighborhood affair and invite all the neighbors to join. Make popcorn, lay out sleeping bags and enjoy the show!

8. Go on a Nature Walk – But don’t just walk. Use the walk to learn more about your area’s flora and fauna and insects. Bring some baggies to collect samples and when you get home do some research to find out the names of the things you found.

9. Good old-Fashioned Lemonade Stand – Teaching children about the value of hard work and earning money is always a great thing. Help your kids put together a Lemonade stand, make some cookies and have fun greeting all the neighbors and watch the dimes roll in!

10. Park Picnics – Make park days a family affair with a picnic. Bring a blanket, sandwiches, fruit and chips. Invite friends to join.

11. Museum Monday – Most cities have museums. Use the summer to introduce your children to art and culture. In San Diego, we have a lot of great art museums. We even have a museum aboard the Midway, an Aircraft carrier permanently docked in San Diego that I plan to bring my kids to this summer.

12. Pinterest Crafts – Let your kids go on Pinterest with you and pick out some crafts that they want to do. My kids love looking for fun new things to try and I find they are much more engaged when they have had a hand in selecting the craft,

13. Visit Thrift Shops – Thrift shops are a treasure trove of gently used toys, games, books and more. We love to visit thrift stores where the kids always find lots of fun stuff for very little money.

14. Read a Classic Book Aloud – Use the summer to stay up a little later at night and read together. Series of books (depending on your children’s ages) such as the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe Series by CS Lewis, The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, the Anne of Green Gables series and so many more are great series for both you and your kids.

15. Observing the Stars – Check out a book from the library on stars and constellations or do some research online. Drive out to a location that’s away from city lights and look for constellations that you and the kids have learned about.

I hope you enjoyed these 15 ideas for the summer. Please let me know what you think by commenting below!