Ahhhh...the lazy days of summer! No alarm clock, no lunches to pack, no homework to finish. No complaints from the kids, right? Wrong! How long did it take before you heard those dreaded words, "Mom, I'm bored!"? I think we had about three days of summer vacation before one of my kids decided there was nothing to do. Although I can't guarantee you a boredom-free summer, I can share with you some of our favorite (cheap) summer activities.
- Water, water, water! Nothing beats the heat like jumping in a pool. We also take picnics to a local lake that has a swimming beach, play in our sprinkler and find creeks to stomp in. Several places in the Atlanta area also have fountain areas for the kids. We did this a lot when our kids were younger. Toddlers are just fascinated by water shooting up out of the ground!
- Life is always better with a friend. This holds true for all four of my kids, from the nine year old to the 18 year old. Having a friend around is always fun. The younger boys will usually play video games for awhile and then go to the backyard for whiffle ball or basketball. The teens usually watch movies, play frisbee, work out or just "hang out".
- Visit a new park. New playgrounds, walking trails and sports fields are always enticing.
- Make homemade ice cream. This has been a favorite of mine since I was a child. I have, however, gone "hi-tech" and purchased an electric ice cream churn. No more turning the crank by hand! Our biggest decision is whether to go with plain vanilla or try a new flavor.
- Clean out the toy box or a closet. Ok...I know you are thinking that I have lost my mind. However, my younger kids always find lost or forgotten toys that lead to several days worth of entertainment.
- Roast marshmallows. My younger boys love this. We just build a little fire in our charcoal grill and have a good, ole' sticky time.
- **Embrace your inner chef. Depending on their age, turn your kids loose in kitchen. My 15 year old and a few of his friends just made a chocolate fudge cake from scratch. It was messy but quite yummy. Next on their list is a Pake --- a pie baked inside of a cake. I'll let you know how it turns out! (Check out the update at the end of this post for a picture of the Pake!)
- Learn to sew. My younger boys had favorite t-shirts that they refused to give up, even though they had definitely outgrown them. My daughter helped them make pillows out of the shirts and some basic pillow forms. The stitching would not pass Martha Stewart's approval, but the boys had fun and still have the pillows on their beds.
- Get rollin'! Bring out the bikes, wagons, scooters, rollerblades, ripsticks, etc. Put on your helmet and have some adventures.
- Visit your local library and stock up on summer reading materials.
- Teach your kids how to do crossword puzzles, word find puzzles or soduku.
- Free museum days. Check with your local museums to see if there are free admission days. We took our boys to the Federal Reserve in Atlanta last summer.
- Popcorn and Movie Day. We just watched the original Return of the Pink Panther.
- Get back to nature. Plant seeds, make birdfeeders, dig for rocks or hunt for the perfect stick. Yes, my boys will tell you that there is such a thing as the perfect stick. Based upon the collection of sticks in my backyard, I think they are still hunting for perfection.
- Star gazing. My daughter recently discovered that the Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta has free star gazing from their observatory on Thursday and Friday nights. She and a group of her friends did this a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Even if you are not in the Atlanta area, you can let your kids stay up a little bit late and enjoy the stars from your backyard.
|from Ryan Wick's photos on flickr.com|
***Update 6/26/12: My son and his friends made the "pake" today. Cherry pie inside of a chocolate fudge cake with chocolate icing! YUM!