Saturday, April 30, 2011

35 Great Summer Fun Ideas

I've been asked recently what fun activities I have in mind for the kids this summer. Instead of just narrowing my answer down to ideas for my small and young family with limited finances and location I have decided to share my ideas in general. Some of my thoughts come from my years as a nanny around the country (Boston, Hawaii, Chicago, and Utah.) Some of them come from my years as a mother. And all of them are fun!

I will also share some things for mothers and parents to do to help them feel the "Summer Recharge" that it is supposed to be.


1. Pull a map out and make a plan to visit several parks that you haven't been to before. Assign each older child a picnic date where they plan and carry out a picnic on those days to the park. Remind them to plan ahead by giving you their shopping list ahead of time. 
2. Tide pools. If your lucky enough to live near the Ocean or a large lake check the tides and plan a trip to explore the tide pools. Don't forget buckets and shovels. You can also bring a book along to help define what you discover. And most important, encourage the children to document what they discover through a notebook with writing and drawings, or a camera which will later be made into a slideshow (they still need a notebook for this method to take notes to be added to the pictures.)
3. Tie dye using natural dyes.
4. Fossils. Go on a fossil hunt. Don't forget your buckets, camera, and notebook.
5. GPS Scavenger Hunt. I think this could be a really neat learning activity, not to mention a lot of fun!
6. Service Project. We are all aware of the many many natural disasters happening around us. This has opened up the door for service projects. Here is a link for LDS Humanitarian Services. They have given several opportunitis for us to serve on a grand scale. You can also do service for each other like chore swaps and secret siblings, or cookies and weed pulling for a neighbor. However you choose to serve is up to you and will bless your family's life!
7. Summer Bloggers. Help your kids set up their own blog where they can post their projects and share their thoughts and experiences.
8. Read-a-thon. Host a read-a-thon. The old-school way seems to get the kids most excited (treats, pillows, and PJ's!) You can also set up a rewards system for the amount of pages read,etc. Here is a link to a Grand Scale read-a-thon service project idea.
9. Summer Book Parties.
10. Decorate eggs with Summer themes and Holiday colors and art. This is helpful for those of us with plenty of eggs to spare from our chickens.
11. Make a Family Flag to celebrate your family as well as Independence Day (4th of July.)
12. Crayon Melts on Rocks. You can also go one step more and make the rocks into the classic Prayer Rocks to help your family remember to say their prayers.
13. 5K Race. Find out when your community is hosting a special walking or race and help your family prepare to participate.
14. Lock up the video games and T.V. and pull out the board games!
15. Give each child a Summer Journal. To help the kids write in their journal you can start your mornings with a Question of the Day.
16. Farmers Market. Sell produce and goods with your family at the local Farmer's Market.
17. Have a Watermelon Carving Party. Carve a watermelon instead of a pumpkin and eat the watermelon that you dig out.
18. Sleep outside under the stars with a constellation guide.
19. Practice your Emergency Prep drills (fire, earthquake, tornado, etc.)
20. Plan, plant, and harvest a family garden. Give out individual garden chores for the Summer.
21. Harvest the garden together! I love the memories I have of harvesting our garden. When we were teenagers my parents would let us bring out our nice sound system and listen to music as we spent the day(s) outside. They would also end a big day with a big treat on occasion. This could be a BBQ, Marshmallow roasts, or a trip out to eat.
22. Drive in Movies. Put up a sheet (or your projector screen) out side and watch a movie. I remember watching the movie Arachnophobia outside under our Willow Tree, -shiver-.
23. Contact your Parks and Recreation Center and find out what local activities they are sponsoring. They will often host Summer Workshops and activities for a very reasonable price.
24. Visit the tourist attractions around you that other people come from far and wide to visit but you have not taken your kids to.
25. Go to an Air Show.
26. Make sand/dirt art pictures.
27. Make a Quilt for the Winter.
28. Make a flower lei.
29. Get a timer for your computer.
30. Buy Summer Passes to a few Museums. (Great for rainy days!)
31. Keep your camper stocked and ready for an occasional camping trip.
32. Go fishing!
33. Purchase a bubble machine.
34. Go swimming.
35. Play in the Mud! Seriously, it's a lot of fun!!

Plan ahead with a friend for "kid swaps" where you watch each others kids for a day every couple weeks or so. This gives you a certain day to look forward to being alone. Do not plan to use that day as your deep cleaning day. Try to keep that day to take yourself out to lunch and read a good book or watch a movie.

Plan ahead. Try to schedule one weekend getaway without the kids. Even if it's just out to the the camper trailer with the two of you, dinner, and a movie or a good book (and don't forget the ice cream!!;). Just one (or more nights) without dinner and bedtime duty.


Tasha said...

Wow what an amazing list. I think I'll have to borrow some of these ideas from you :)

Sandra said...

Lena, thanks so much the list. We are getting together with some moms in the ward to plan out our summer and this will be great input.

Lena Baron said...

My Pleasure! It's been helpful for me as well!

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