I can’t believe it’s August already! I feel like this summer is slipping by before I even became ready to get started with summer fun. My oldest is finishing up his last week at summer camp and will be home for all of August. What better time than now to plan some memorable summer fun?
When I remember the summers of my childhood, I think of riding bikes, playing outside until it was dark, creating baseball teams and small businesses… small businesses? Was that just us? I think our first venture was a friendship bracelet club. We would sit outside on the sidewalk with our inventory for hours waiting to make a sale via some passerby. We even developed a jingle to yell at the top of our lungs repeatedly. I am sure our neighbors loved us!
While we didn’t make riches in the monetary sense, I was left with some rich memories. It is memories like these that I want to help create for my boys. I have been a little… not fun lately and am making it my goal for August to do some wild, crazy and fun things to close out the days of summer.
Are you in for the challenge with me? Here are some of the things I am putting on my list:
- Do a rain dance. As long as there is no lightning, go outside and jump around! As kids, we would go outside and get drenched. Its fun, and a wild and crazy memory kids will be sure to remember.
- Go to the public library. Check out some summer or adventure themed books and read to your kids every night before bed. We read before bed all year long, and its a great way to get some quality time together while winding down from the busy day. It’s also a great time to work on learning to read, but don’t tell my six-year-old that! 🙂
- Make a backyard obstacle course. Get creative with it! I once did a 5k race where we jumped over taxis and buses, climbed over walls, did monkey bars and jumped over fire. I plan on recreating a safe obstacle course with matchbox cars, FAKE fire and other items I find in my garage. This should make for some great video to keep forever too!
- Stay out past dark, catch fireflies and play games like Ghost in the Graveyard. Studies show that playing outside is good at preventing everything from ADHD to nearsightedness. Staying up late and playing past dark is something only the school-free days of summer can offer. Spend some time catching (and releasing) fireflies and playing games such as Ghost in the Graveyard. Not sure how to play? Check out the rules here.
- Go to the pool. No summer is complete without a trip to the pool. My first son used to throw tantrums when I would take him to the pool. For some reason the pool we went to would have adult swim time for 15 minutes every hour throughout the day, no kids allowed in the water. Explain that to a two-year old! It was a bit too much for me, trying to wrestle an angry child while wearing a bikini. Now we live near a new pool so I am ready to take the kids again. (Crossing fingers it goes well.)
- Swim in a lake or ocean. I just read this article from The Healthy Home Economist about how swimming in non-polluted natural water is one of the greatest immune system boosters possible. It also gives us an opportunity to be playful and connect with both nature and each other. There is an amazing website (and an app!) called SwimGuide.org which enables you to look for clean beaches nearby.
- Go fruit picking. Now is a great time to go berry or cherry picking. You may have to drive a few hours, but it is wonderful to get family farmed fruit at reasonable prices. It is also wonderful to show kids where food comes from and how much work goes into growing and picking it. We recently went to a nearby blueberry farm and had a blast. Our toddler spent the entire time eating blueberries right off the bush while our oldest helped pick. One of my proudest moments, ever, was when he thanked the blueberry bush for making us blueberries to eat. These farms frequently offer tractor rides and playgrounds making it a perfect summer experience for kids of all ages.
- Go to the zoo. Sure, its hot. But who doesn’t remember spending a long summer day walking miles upon miles around the zoo. It is really fun to see kids experience seeing animals for the first time, and it can be a very educational experience. Pack a picnic lunch to reduce the expense and make a day of it!
- Sleep in a tent and make s’mores- even if it is in your back yard. Camping out for the first time in the backyard is a great idea because it leaves the option to come inside if the kids get scared or can’t sleep. S’mores are the perfect treat to cook over a campfire or backyard fire pit. Since my kids have allergies, I have found recipes for real food marshmallows and homemade graham crackers. Check out my Pinterest boards to find these recipes:
- Go on a road trip. We try to get in one road trip a year. If you are super adventurous, you can pack your tent and sleep under the stars. We tend to book a cabin or two along the way and make frequent stops to do sightseeing. It can be really fun and relaxing to be able to stop whenever you feel like it and just explore, so I recommend budgeting extra time to do this. Be sure to pack a cooler with snacks and a lunch or two to keep the costs down while on the road. When I was little, my mom had a box of “car toys” which included handheld games like this and puzzles, all of which were non-electronic. They only came out for long car trips and would keep us busy for hours. Now that my kids are getting older and won’t be sleeping in the car as much, I am beginning my own collection of car toys!
While kids have great ability to make every day magical through play and imagination, these activities will be sure to make great memories for the whole family.
Do you have any fun summer traditions? Please share in the comments below!