With the end of school comes summer break and time for families to spend quality time together. Even if your family cannot take an extended trip together, there are still many activities you can enjoy.
Here are some ideas to think about when you start making plans for your summer break.
1. Enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Summer means warmer weather. Warmer weather means outdoors activities. Consider planning weekend picnics in the park. Head as a family to the local swimming pool. Take a hike or ride a bike. The idea is that the weather will make you want to get outside and get active.
2. Many communities have creative opportunities, many of which are free or low cost. Summer art in the park, or arts camps and arts fairs are common activities families can enjoy. You may also be able to find summer theater or concert series that will give your family something to share and an opportunity to be creative at the same time.
3. Plan and plant a summer garden. Think of the joy on your child’s face when they eat the first ripe tomato from your own garden! Of course, there is plenty of hard work to keep families busy leading up to harvest, but keeping a family garden is a great summer activity for the family to share. If you have a bumper crop, you may even want to consider selling your produce at a road-side booth or stall at the local farmer’s market. This would be a great learning experience for one and all.
4. Plan a family read-aloud for the cooler summer nights. Invite extended family members and friends over to join you. You can even have the adults read a story and let the children act them out. This could become one of the activities they remember most from the summer.
5. Set up a picnic table and chairs underneath a big shade tree or umbrella. Put together a basket of board games the family would like to learn or has enjoyed in the past. Take the games outside and enjoy the fresh air while you play Monopoly or Candyland.
6. Plan to have a water balloon war. You could also buy water guns for everyone in the family and see who can stay dry the longest. Not only will this get the family involved in an activity together, it will keep them active and hopefully cool them off at the same time.
7. Your family may enjoy camping out but circumstances simply forbid you from taking a camping trip. Don’t let circumstances stop you! Pitch your tent in the backyard and enjoy the same fun just a little closer to home.
8. Plan a “good Samaritan” act each month. Think of a family that has fallen on hard times or charity that could use some help. Do random acts of kindness for people in your neighborhood – weed an elderly neighbor’s flower garden, mow a single mom’s lawn, gather canned goods from your neighbors and take them to the local battered women’s shelter or food bank. There are so many good things your family could do if you just put your minds to it.
These are just a few ideas of things your family can do together during the summer. Take some time to sit down together and talk about things you would like to do. Obviously, everyone will want to do their “own thing” as much as possible during the summer, but think of the benefit of spending time together as a family. Children grow up so fast, make this summer a summer of family memories that will last a lifetime.