Somewhere around end of July, my kids are tired of the pool, video games and each other. I use these seven simple memory-making activities to replace the ho-hum of summer with fun.
Read a book.
Go to the library or dig out the great books hiding on your shelves. After a month away from the usual routine, children look forward to journeying to other worlds through the vehicle of reading. Our family has journeyed to Narnia with the Pevensies, trekked across America with the Ingalls family, and wondered what unfortunate event would happen next to the Baudelaire children.
Ride a bike.
Check your city map and locate the nearest bike trail. A few hours riding bikes burns energy for the kids and works the tired muscles of adults. We recently took a sixteen-mile bike trip. We put the three-year-old and the six-year-old on tag-alongs behind mom and dad and pedaled our way through a lovely afternoon while the “big” kids led the way. In many cities, the bike trail is a well-kept secret. Scenic and peaceful, the bike path offers a natural getaway in an urban setting.
Rotate the toys.
Children can get in a rut playing repeatedly with one or two toys. Pull out toys they haven’t played with recently. Eventually their imaginations will take off and they will have all “new” toys to occupy their time. Last week, we pulled out the building sets and soldiers and the kids have been defending the castle ever since.
Pitch a tent.
While we rarely go camping these days, we still own a tent. We pitch it in the backyard, and let the kids “camp out” a few nights each summer with their friends. The novelty of planning and playing in the tent entertains our kids for days. If you don’t have a tent, use a few kitchen chairs and a blanket and let your little ones “camp out” on the deck, in the backyard, or in the living room.
Visit a zoo.
We often overlook the simple pleasures in our own city. To little children, the world is an interesting and exciting place. Everything is larger than life when you’re under four feet tall. A park, children’s museum, butterfly house, or creek provide hours of excitement for children of all ages.
Summer days can last forever and nights seem long in coming, but keep the kids up past their bedtime and let them run through the grass to capture these flashes of light. Fireflies in glass jars make fun nightlights, as long as you remember to put holes in the top of the jar.
Picnic in the park.
Today’s convenience foods make picnics a breeze. Grab some juice boxes, a few sandwiches, individual cups of fruit, yogurt or pudding and you have an easy to eat picnic ready to go in minutes. Fresh air stimulates the appetite and new surroundings turn the food we eat every day into a meal to remember.
Plan a memory-making activity for your children this week: reading, riding, playing, camping, catching, visiting, or picnicking. Childhood is shorter than a summer night in Alaska so turn the ho-hum to summer fun with simple activities your children will remember for a lifetime.