It’s summer – finally! My kids are so excited for later mornings, time at the pool, and no homework. As a mom, I’m happily saying goodbye to packed lunches, early bedtimes, and school projects. The thrill and anticipation of summer vacation is tangible right now at our house.
I know from many, many years of experience, though, that the novelty of summer vacation will wear off quickly, and before I know it, my kids will be telling me how bored they are. Although I’m not a fan of overplanned summers, I am an advocate of having some fun ideas up my sleeve both to ward off boredom and to help my family create some awesome memories.
If your kids are already experiencing the summer doldrums, try some of these ideas for family fun and adventure!
Even if you live in a small town, there are probably plenty of parks and playgrounds that you rarely or never visit. Spend a day hopping from park to park, checking out new and different equipment. Don’t forget that local schools and churches often have great playgrounds that are open to the public during certain hours. At the end of the day, vote as a family on which playground had the fastest slide, best swings, or most awesome play structure.
If you’re like me, summer can easily slip away without any fun if you aren’t careful. One thing my family likes to do is set aside a day each week (or every other week) to have a new adventure. If it’s on the calendar, and I’ve planned for it, I’m much more likely to get out and explore. Adventure days could be something simple like a bike ride in a new part of town or checking out a local swimming pool. Sometimes adventure days are more elaborate – a museum in a nearby city or a day trip to a state park. Even if you’re only semi-faithful about having summer adventures, you’ll have many new family memories by the time school starts again.
One of my family’s favorite summer traditions is having a campfire in the backyard. For some reason, a fire pit and some firewood can create magic for our kids. If phones are left in the house, the campfire is one place our kids will willingly linger and talk with us and each other. I try to keep hot dogs and the ingredients for s’mores on hand so that we’re always ready to relax around the fire at night. Campfires are also a great way to connect with our neighbors; invite another family or two to join you for a super low-key opportunity to connect.
There are literally a hundred other ideas I could mention to create fun for our families this summer. In the end, though, it really comes down to one thing – being intentional. It’s so easy to let the short weeks of summer slide by without any purposeful family time. However, if we intentionally set aside days and times to laugh and explore and bond with our kids, memories will be made that our kids will never forget.