I would like to apologize for the lack of pictures, for some reason I have not been able to download them (error every time I try) and I did not want to keep putting off posting because of pics, so I hope you find the information informative and not judge me to harshly for the lack of photos.
School starts back for many youngsters within the next couple of weeks, but it is not to late to get in a few more summer fun activities. Myself, like many working households have not had an opportunity to take a nice long vacation with the family, but with a little preparation and great attitude you can make some summer memories before school starts back.
Here are my top five things to do with your kids before the summer ends.
Water Day In the Backyard
Get out the sprinklers, water balloons, water accessories, water table, and have some good old fashion water play. Fill six buckets with water and have the children try to throw objects that will create a big splash into the buckets. Play games like “Red Rover” with the water sprinkler as the border that you have to run through. Play “Tug of War” over a small water pool. You can also use the water pool as a spot for the kids to relax and sit in some water safely. Make you own slip and slide (if you don’t already own one) or have a contest to see who can stand under the water sprinkler the longest (safely). Have rubber duck races or small boats that you have to blow across the pool. There is much fun to be had in the backyard with water. Let your imagination run wild and prepare for hours of fun.
A Day of Hiking
This is one thing my family loves to do, and it can be accomplished in one day, but with memories that will last a life time. Find a state park that is less than three hours from your home. Pack food, water, bug spray, sunscreen, sun visors, and a change of clothing. Choose a challenging hike, a scenic hike, or both. Plan to spend the entire day appreciating nature. Allow your children to be the photographers to see things from their point of view. Take nature breaks and enjoy your surroundings. See who can find the most unusual bugs (but don’t touch), How many plants they can identify, or make up names for the plants and bugs that you see. Bring a notebook so that the family can document this time spent among fresh air and living creatures. You can research the parks online before you visit, to plan your trip according to your family skill level.
This may take a little more preparation than the previous two suggestions, if you don’t have a bike. You want this to be a family activity so make sure everyone has a bike they can be comfortable riding for a short or long period of time. Plan to ride through the neighborhood or find a local bike trail to explore. When my family bike rides we put the youngest in a bike trailer, and everyone else has a bike to ride with or without training wheels. I always choose a trail that has hills and beautiful scenery (like the lake front, the pier, or through the botanical gardens). Make sure to pack healthy snacks and plenty of liquids, although the more you drink the more you pee and that means the more stopping you will do. Take plenty of pictures and stop to smell the roses. Also you don’t have to bike during the day, you can take a night time ride (if you have older children) through the neighborhood.
This can be as small as you like or as grand as your pockets will allow. I have known families to go as far as having a petting zoo. I have also known families to collectively host a carnival for the children in the neighborhood. I have done this on a much smaller scale. I order everything I need through Oriental Trading and set up games and fun booths in my backyard. I do backyard games like bean bag toss, the Bozo game, ring toss, knock down the cans with a ball. I invite family and I allow my children to invite two friends and we just let them have run of the place. The adults act as the game attendants. We also do races like sack racing, egg on a spoon racing, and leg tied to a partner racing. There are prizes and the menu is similar to a menu you would find at the carnival; popcorn, hotdogs, pizza, cotton candy, and funnel cake. You can also take a healthy approach and not serve sweets at all and replace them with fruit shish kabob and smoothies. We always end our night with a movie on the big projector outside. This is the best part, you can use a sheet, a screen, a wall, whatever but keep the party going with a kid appropriate movie and more popcorn. We also have tried ending the night with a bonfire, which are always nice.
This creates the best memories. We do this every year and compare our times and results with the previous year. This takes about a week to prepare, but it is worth every minute. Try to include as many olympic games as possible; track and field, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and the list goes on. Most subdivisions have a clubhouse with the use of a swimming pool and tennis courts. Also I have each family member over the age of ten pick their team players and we compete in all the sports. This is so much fun and it can get quite competitive. I order some medals from Oriental Trading and we use a huge dry erase board to keep up with all the activities. Each team is a winner in some way, because we want everyone to come out a winner. We create posters and t-shirts for our teams and we invite family members and friends to cheer for the teams. This sounds like work, but it is awesome and the memories are the best. Your family will be talking about this far into the school year.
These are just some of the ways we try to hold on to the summer. With school starting soon you just want that extra time with the kids, because as a working parent I know time gets away from us all and we are often feeling like we didn’t spend enough time with our children. My mom has always told me it is not about the quantity but the quality of time you spend with your love ones.
If you would like to share how you spend your final days of summer break please add to the conversation in the comments section.