Summer is almost over, but there is still lots of fun to be had. What activities are most important to you and your family? It’s time to sit down together and make a bucket list – what do you want to achieve before the end of summer? Here are the top five in the top five categories!
What? I put fun and work together? You bet I did! Some of our favorite summer activities are fun work. Things we have a blast doing but are kind of work.
- Go berry picking. Some of our best stories revolve around picking berries. We would often take the dog because her job was to protect us from the bears. The problem was, she would eat the berries out of our buckets!
- Be a secret agent. Decide as a family something to do in secret that will change someone’s day. Maybe mow their lawn while they’re gone.
- Have you ever volunteered to offer service? There are so many places that can always use some extra help and you will be building great values at the same time. If you have some kids who are too small to be helpful, there are some places that offer childcare, like us! We’re happy to have you help us out and we’ll help watch the little kids while you do. Be sure to involve those children who are old enough to help so that they learn the value of service.
- Visit a Senior’s home. While it may not sound like “work” it is something that scares a lot of people. Just visit and spend some time with these lonely people. If you’re afraid you won’t have anything to talk about, you can always bring some children’s books and children. You’ll delight everyone as you read the books together!
- Visit JustServe.org and you can get lots of ideas for ways to help out. Some are crafting, others are going out and working with people, and some are taking photos of gravestones or labeling them on the computer. There’s something for everyone.
Combining science with family fun is learning fun.
- Learn to make giant bubbles. It’s easy, mix some water and dish soap, and then the fun begins as you figure out what items will make bubbles, how fast you need to run to make a bubble, and more. Here’s a link to get you started: This Homemade Bubble Recipe Makes the Best Giant Bubbles Ever! (happyhooligans.ca)
- What things can be used to have a water fight? My mom and her friends always used wet tennis balls as kids. I don’t recommend it, that smarts when you get hit! You can use sponges, buckets, plastic or paper cups (I don’t recommend glass, things can get a little wild and they may get broken), the hose, and more. See where your creativity takes you.
- Have a nature scavenger hunt. Look for things like different colored flowers, leaves, insects, rocks, and more. Take your treasures home and look them up on the web to learn more (or use an app on your phone, I like Seek Seek by iNaturalist · iNaturalist, it identifies plants, animals, birds, and bugs.
- Find a neighbor or friend who knows something about rocks (or plants or something else that interests you) and go on a walk/hike with them and have them explain different things to you. Maybe you will find some arrowheads, fossils, or crystals.
- What is something you all enjoy doing? Singing, dancing, painting, etc? Create a family how-to video. You will learn how to script, produce, edit, and more while creating a long-lasting memory.
We all have our favorite family games, the ones we pull out of the closet over and over. When was the last time you tried a new one?
- Play five new card games all in one weekend! Playing new games keeps the mind learning and active and makes for lots of giggles as you mess up. You don’t have to buy a bunch of new games, you can use many card games in various ways. A quick Google search for “games to play with Uno cards” found lots of links with 15+ games!
- Put a new spin on the memory game. There are cards you can buy with questions, but you can also create questions that are designed for your family, questions about what you did last summer, or this summer, or that mom and dad did when they were kids, or grandma and grandpa.
- Get a package of sidewalk chalk and rediscover old games: hopscotch, tic-tac-toe, and more. I saw a video the other day where they set up a camera to record their hopscotch drawn on the sidewalk, just to see how many people would play as they went by.
- Paint kindness rocks and leave them in various places or create a kindness rock garden where you leave a bunch together along the sidewalk or someplace people walk with a sign that says they can take one or leave one. Learn more here: The Kindness Rocks Project®
- When was the last time you built a blanket fort? There’s just something irresistible to everyone about them. I noticed the other day when I hung a blanket between a couple of chairs to finish drying that it didn’t take long for my cat to start hanging out in the blanket fort. Everyone loves them, human and animal.
School is approaching, what are your goals for the year? What extracurriculars do you want to do? How do you want to spend the holidays?
- Create a family calendar. Everyone pitch in and help design the pages, it will need to be large to keep everyone’s schedules on it. This is a fun craft, but it will also save a lot of stress once school starts because it will help prevent scheduling snags.
- Extracurriculars aren’t just for kids, they are simply an activity that falls outside of normal education. As parents you are constantly getting new training. Plan some time to learn something new that appeals to you. Maybe you have been thinking of learning Pickleball. Take some classes and the kids can come to support you when you compete!
- The holidays will be upon us before we know it. Start simplifying now. Get together as a family and discuss options – travel, gifts, budgets, secret Santa, etc. To make it a fun planning session you might want to make some ornaments or watch your favorite holiday movie after.
- Have a fashion show. Clean out your closets, create new outfits, find what doesn’t fit and give it to someone who needs a wardrobe boost. Discover what you need for the new school year and once you have it all put together, have a family fashion show. You’ll be ready for school and have your closets cleaned out as a bonus!
- Plan the last summer blast. Plan one last party to honor the end of summer. You might want to host a barbeque or show a movie outside. Create your own invitations, involve others in food and games or plan it all yourself. You will learn a life skill as you pull it all together and have fun at the same time.
Simple Summer Fun
Summer is a time to go outside, get sunburned, melt some ice cream, splash in the water, and more. Have you done your favorite family activities together yet? If not, let’s get going!
- Go camping. I’ve camped in a tent, a trailer, and slept in or under the pickup. All you need is a dirt road and a little bit of space. There’s something about it that just fills the soul with strength for whatever is next.
- Get wet! You don’t need a swimming pool, you can use the hose, take off your shoes and wade in the creek, or grab some water guns.
- Look at the stars. Maybe you will luck out and see shooting stars. Do you live where there are lightning bugs? Have you ever heard an owl hoot?
- Eat something before it melts – or try to. What is summer without ice cream and popsicles, snow cones, milkshakes, or iced hot chocolate? See who gets a brain freeze first!
- Catch some bugs. Who remembers having a jar with a caterpillar that they watched spin its cocoon and then become a butterfly? Have you caught your own grasshoppers to go fishing with? Dug your own worms? Maybe you found a pretty butterfly or moth.
These are the things memories are made of. Stories to tell to keep your heart warm in later years. What did you do in the summer with your family? Have you shared those adventures with your kids? The real key is that we are spending time together, that is what truly matters.