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10 simple ( and mostly free) summer activities to do with the kids
I’m a summer person and I will say straight out that NOTHING compares to a barefoot-on-the-beach-sun-setting-firefly-chasing-marshmallow-toasting summer night under the stars. Nothing.
So even though we love to take the kids to amusement parks and water parks and city tours, road trips and camps, it’s nice to balance all that with simple family time. And I mean the simpler the better. These are most likely times your family will cherish more then any amount your wallet can offer them.
Here are 10 summer activities to create some special family memories this summer:
1-Rainy Day Fun
Not every day can be sunny (oh bummer) and as much as I don’t like rain, isn’t there something so awesome about summer rain? Especially summer thunderstorms? So designate summer rain-days as build a fort day. Grab the cushions off the couches, or use sheets over tables and let the kids go wild. Of course, grown ups MUST join in the fun, so grab a deck of cards and a bag of popcorn big enough for many hands and be part of your own secret club. And p.s- thunder sounds WICKED good when you’re in a fort!
2- Make your own
Make your own WHAT you ask? Anything. Now that you are on “summer time,” take some time to “go homemade” and make sure the kids get involved. Make homemade ice cream, ice pops, homemade lemonade, home made muffins, potato salad, pasta salad, layered parfait sundaes with ice cream or pudding or yogurt. You get the picture. Get messy! Kids of all ages love helping cook. They can measure and pour and mix. They love choosing toppings and experimenting. Be creative and plan a once a week do-it-yourself meal start to finish.
Oh what fun this can be for everyone. I still do it myself come to think of it. And get the baby food or mason jars ready with holes in the lids or try a piece of mesh over a jar held on by rubber bands. Kids absolutely love this so don’t shoo them to bed too early. Fireflies are fun to catch, and kids really get excited about taking the jar into their bedroom. just try to release them before you hit the bed yourself.
5- Get wet with them
Yep. In the sprinkler or with the water pistols. Have one for each family member and go for a good old fashioned water fight. I am the MOMINATOR in my house and I can get my kids and their friends shrieking and screaming like banshees as I hide and then pop out from behind a bush as they run past and give them a good blast of water in the face (woops, I meant, in the arm).
6-What’s ooey and gooey and tastes like a marshmallow?
Why , it’s a roasted toasted marshmallow.But you knew that. And quite simply, while I can’t stand the taste and they are one of the most unhealthy “foods” around, I do indulge with the kids, simply because a fire pit and marshmallows is MANDATORY in summer isn’t it? I grew up on the beach toasting marshmallows with groups of family friends, and there’s just something so cool about a beach fire. Even if it’s not allowed in public places anymore, have a pit in the backyard ( my friend uses an old wheelbarrow) and let the kids toast and lick their fingers until the bag is empty. Hey why not?
7- Have an old fashioned picnic
Find a local park and hike or walk with the family to a nice spot under a shady tree and with NO phones (ok, you can keep one in your pocket as an emergency, but that’s it). Just enjoy the scenery, the food and each other. Walking in nature can be not only therapeutic but it’s a great time to talk and bond with the family. Bird watching and searching for small animals is fun for every kid.
8- Walk a boardwalk
One of my personal favorites. And no, you don’t need a ton of cash. Just enough for a hot dog or ice cream. The real fun is in the people watching and browsing store windows and displays. Often you’ll run into performers singing, juggling or putting on a magic show. Boardwalks are true American summer staples. Try to get to one and experience it. Or just take a walk to no where. Cross a bridge. Walk in the woods. Walk the city.
9- Read a book together
Even if it’s above -level for your kids, they will love the time together and get caught up in the story, especially if you do a little acting it out with crazy voices and expressions. A few to try:
I have done this several times and they absolutely went wild for it. If you can do it indoors and outside, it’s even better. Make up clues (and if they can rhyme even better) that lead them around the house and of course, at the end, have a nice surprise for them (a new toy or DVD or a voucher to go out and have an ice cream). It takes a little time and creativity but it’s loads of fun and can keep them busy for quite a while. If the age difference in your children is large, make separate treasure hunts so the little ones don’t feel left out.