It shouldn’t be expensive to have fun with your kids during the summer. There are options in your own home and neighbourhood where you can have a great summer. Make this summer vacation a summer vacation they will remember.
If the heat of the summer is too much to take, try setting up a kiddie pool, a slip and slide or let your kids run around in the sprinklers. Invite their friends over to join in the fun and give them popcicles and cold drinks. You can even buy some pavement chalk and decorate your driveway, then wash it away and start all over. Squirt guns and spray bottles are another way to stay cool on hot summer days. So are water balloon fights and blowing bubbles, or making mud pies. If it rains, get outside and run around on the lawn and let the rain soak you. Let the kids help you wash the car and, when they least expect them, spray them with the hose. Cut loose and have fun.
Before the sun is high in the sky, or as the sun is setting, get outdoors and enjoy nature. In the cool of morning, evening or on moderate weather days, have a day to enjoy nature. Take your kids on a walk in the neighbourhood. If you happen to have a wooded area nearby, explore the trees and leaves and critters there. Use your imaginations. Make a game of it. Ask your kids to tell you what tree a leaf came from or name a flower or bug. They will have fun looking for things and they will be learning too. When you get home, check the flowers and bugs names online. You can even brin a camera along to take pictures of the things you find. Take your kids somewhere with a lot of scenery and bring some paint and paper so they can draw what they see. If you live near a beach or a lake, pack a picnic lunch, some sunscreen and some water and toys and make a day of it. Spend the day digging in the sand and making castles or look for sea shells. There are several ways to take in the nature that is around you. It’s fun and you could end up learning about things you didn’t know before.
You can enlist the help of your kids and plant flowers or vegetables. You could even visit a “pick-your-own” fruit farm. Try having a picnic at sunset instead of the middle of the day. Or, get up early and have a breakfast picnic. Talk a barefoot walk in the grass or in the sand. Pick flowers. Cook outside on the grill and let your kids help, with supervision. If there is a place close by, you could even consider a camp fire and making s’mores. Pitch a tent in the backyard and have a camp out. Remember that the moon and stars are part of nature as well.
You can even play games and sports with your kids this summer. You don’t even have to join a team, just take them to a park and start a game of your own of soccer, touch football, frisbee, whatever. If you can, and your children are interested, you can certainly go the route of putting them on a sports team. But summertime is the best time to try new things without being tied down. It’s a time for fun. Go for a bike ride around the neighbourhood. Teach your kids some new jump rope rhymes from when you were a kid. Play hopscotch. Make up a scavenger or treasure hunt. With a scavenger hunt, all you need is a list of twenty or so items that can be found in nature. Give a list to the kids and let them go for it. The winner could get an ice cream party where everyone enjoys the ice cream. For a treasure hunt, leave clues around the house or the yard. Each clue leads to the next clue, and so on, until they find the treasure – a small prize of whatever you decide. It can be anything.
There are even more summertime outdoor sports and games, such as kick ball with the kids in the neighbourhood. You can take them to fly kites. You can hold a three-legged race or an obstacle course, even freeze tag is fun. You could build paper airplanes and have a contest with them.
With ideas from your kids, you can come up with something fun to do every day of the summer if you think about it. Try thinking of free or relatively inexpensive activities like water, nature and sports and games. Being outdoors in the summer is exactly what your kids want, but don’t forget the sunscreen and hats and try to limit the time in the heat of the sun. If you have older children, some of these activities can be done after the sun goes down. Have a fun summer with your kids!