Life is hectic and if your summer is anything like mine so far, it’s flying by fast! Here are 13 great ways to make those classic childhood memories while the sun is shining (and even if it’s not!).

  1. Go to a baseball game. Whether it is a little league game in town or a big league game in the city, get some peanuts or cracker jacks, chew some bubblegum and bring your glove to catch those foul balls.

  2. Visit a local landmark (for my mom it was Plymouth Rock every summer). Celebrate summer vacation and learn about a local historical place at the same time. Many are free and allow strolling and picnicking.

  3. Amusement park. These can be pricey and rides are size-dependant so choose a park based on what your kids will enjoy.

  4. Water slides, water park or splash pad. Summer means warm weather and warm weather means water, so why not a water park? If you can’t afford a regular water park, try to find a splash pad near you.

  5. Simple lawn games. Challenge your kids to a game of horseshoes or corn hole or chukka ball. My kids made up lawn Olympics one year with those and some of their own, like clothing-change-relay races, obstacle courses and more.

  6. Summer fairs. Kids are usually free admission to these fun fairs, but be prepared to spend a few bucks on games or midway food. We love to join some of the contests too, like pie and cookie baking or flower arranging.

  7. Sleep at grandma’s house. Some of my best childhood memories are at my grandparents’ farm, surrounded by family and activity. Grandma’s or grandpa’s are the best!

  8. Visit the ocean. This only works if you live within an hour or two of the ocean, like me. My kids are very good swimmers, but we still need to take care and beware of the undertow and the powerful waves. If you can’t get to the beach, go to a local swimming hole or a friend’s pool.

  9. Camping, even if it’s the backyard. Set up a tent or just sleep under the stars. My husband and I even slept out with the kids last week. I recommend an air mattress.

  10. Campfire with s’ mores, even if they’re in the microwave. We love to make s’ mores, and your kids will too. Yes, they are messy, but so what? Bring a washcloth or some baby wipes, or just jump in the pool to cool and clean off. Microwave s’ mores aren’t as awesome and be sure not to explode the marshmallow; that stuff is hard to clean off the microwave and is HOT!

  11. Local zoo, children’s museum or aquarium (or all three). Check to see if they have a free day or evening, or check with your local library to get a pass to one of these kid-friendly locations. Kids love to touch stuff and not get yelled at for doing it and kids’ museums are the place!

  12. Go for a train ride. Whether it is a real ride on a big-boy train or a little one at a park, zoo or other place, train rides are fun! If you can’t squeeze in a train ride this summer, it is a ride with a view when the leaves turn in the fall.

  13. Have a barbeque or cook-out. Invite friends and family and make it a pot-luck. All you need is good weather and a yard. Throw in a few yard games and a maybe a water balloon fight and your summer is made! If you don’t have a great yard, find a public park near you and bring chairs, blankets, and games there.

Pick and choose from the list or do the ones you can afford. Maybe you have a teenager or college student who could tag along and help out with the kiddos. Whatever you do, get together with friends and family and have fun! No matter where you live, you still have at least six to ten good weeks left until the dreaded “S” word!