We’re already into the second week of August, and I cannot believe how quickly this summer has flown by. As a child I remember feeling like summer time stretched on forever. As an adult, it seems like you’re just breaking out the sandals and shorts and it’s Fall again. Since summer is one of my favourite seasons and I look back fondly on my summers as a child, I want to make sure Tatum can look back at her summers and have good memories of them.
Summer is such a great time of year to focus on your relationship with your children and your family. There’s plenty to do that requires little to no money, the sun is out for an extra few hours, and you can enjoy the fact that you don’t have school or extra curricular obligations for a little while. So, now that it’s August and our precious summer time is dwindling, we must make sure that we soak up as much summer as we can. My list of things you must-do in the summer are all simple things, but I find the simple things are what we remember the most. Here’s my top ten favourites!
- Camp out in your back yard. My brother and I used to set up our tents on the deck during the summer every once in a while and pretend that we were camping. We had so much fun! I plan to drag out our tent before summer ends this year and set it up in our back yard. If you aren’t able to get away on a camping trip, this is almost as good as the real thing! Make sure you don’t bring out your electronics and spend time really connecting as a family.
- Go for a nightly bike ride or walk. Almost every evening this summer, David, Tatum and I have been going for a walk after our supper. Tatum usually rides her bike and we walk, but if you all have bikes this is a great family activity! It’s a nice way for us to wind down the evening, enjoy each others company, and Tatum can blow off a bit of four-year-old energy before bedtime.
- Hit the lake or the beach. Nothing says summer more than spending time by the water! Whether you have beach access or can head out to the lake, a day trip to spend some time soaking up the sun and splashing in the water is a must during the summer. Pack a picnic lunch and you have a cheap family friendly outing.
- Go park-hopping. Tatum LOVES to go to the park. But going to the same park down the street from us can get boring (for both of us!) so try to find parks each week that we haven’t gone to before or haven’t been to in a long time. At least a few times a week Tatum and I take trips to the park, so finding a new one each time has kind of become a game for us and we have discovered many little parks we didn’t know about. Try taking a drive or a walk tonight with your kids and see if you can find a new park where your kids can blow off some steam!
- Go for a drive. I love when all of us get in the car, get some tunes going, and go for a drive without a destination in mind. Some of my best childhood memories are of my parents and my brother and I in the car, singing along to songs and driving wherever we felt like it. So pack everyone in the vehicle and see where the road takes you!
- Have a picnic. This is another essential summer time activity. Sometimes we keep it simple and have a picnic in the back yard, other times we head to the park. Either way, a picnic is always fun for kids and sometimes it can be helpful in getting them to eat food they otherwise wouldn’t. A change in location can do wonders! Spice up your weekday lunch routine and head out for a picnic!
- Pick wildflowers. When Tatum and I are out for a walk or a bike ride, we always head down ways we know have wildflowers growing and we pick a bunch for our kitchen table and for Tatum’s vase she has in her room. Sometimes we find the most beautiful flowers in unexpected places. We are literally stopping to smell the flowers Instead of buying flowers from the store that can be expensive, pick a bunch of wildflowers with your kids for a summery and unique centerpiece for your table.
- Catch bugs. There are a ton of cool bug catchers out there to purchase, but we like to make our own for a more hands-on (and cheaper) approach. I am the queen of not throwing things out, so I normally have at least ten or so glass jars lying around. To make our own bug catcher, we put some grass, leaves, rocks etc. on the bottom of the jar, then we poke holes in the lid. Once Tatum catches all of the bugs she wants, we screw the lid on and ta-da! We have an easy homemade bug catcher. To learn more about the bugs you catch, find a magnifying lens to get a closer look at the bugs and see if you can look them up online!
- Star gaze. If your kids are interested in planets/stars (and even if they’re not), stargazing can be a relaxing, fun and educational night time activity. Find a nice open spot (back yard, a field, park, etc) spread out a blanket, lay down and enjoy the stars! Tatum received a telescope for her fourth birthday from David’s mom, and this has been the perfect tool to use to learn more about the stars and planets. Even a cheapie telescope can be fun to use to get a closer look. Telescope or no telescope, stargazing is something you have to try with your family this summer.
- Check out some free local activities for families/kids. Here in Moose Jaw, the local library has all kinds of kids library programs running all summer. We attend weekly story time, where the kids can listen to some great books, sing some songs, and do a craft. There’s also kids movies being played in the library’s theatre for free, themed story times (we’ve been to “Funny Fairytales” and “Talking Animals,” both really fun!), and tons more. Most libraries offer these type of things during the summer for little or no charge. The museum also has a lot of hands-on children’s activities, and entry to the museum is a small donation! A quick Google search or some calling around will point you in the direction of some awesome (and usually free!) local programs.
What are your must-do simple summer activities to create summer memories with your kids? Share them in the comments below!