Picnics, Play Time, & Popsicles
By Pam Molnar
“What I did over summer vacation” is a classic back to school assignment. Faced with a blank page, kids often only remember the big moments of their summer like a vacation or a visit from family. As adults, we know that life is made up of thousands of small moments. This summer, let those small moments fill your child’s back to school essay and the memories of this summer will fill their hearts.
• Have a water balloon relay race.
• Head to the indoor ice rink and play a pick up hockey game.
• Set up a bicycle washing station for your friends.
• Wade in a creek and skip stones.
• Start a battle of the water guns–kids vs. parents
• Beat the heat at the library and join the summer reading club.
Get some Exercise:
• Run in a Fun Run (Try out Color Vibe 5K for a great family experience.)
• Learn how to perfect your cartwheel.
• Rent a tandem bike and enjoy the benefits of teamwork.
• Run with the dogs at the dog park–even if you don’t have a dog.
• Bargain hunt at garage sales. You never know what you might find.
• Head to Walgreens or Rite Aid and play “How much can you buy with $5”.
• Rummage through the booths at outdoor flea markets.
Take in the sights:
• Go for a train ride from the suburbs to the city and watch how the buildings change.
• Watch a parade from the sidewalk or watch the spectators while walking in the parade.
• See an outdoor summer concert or play.
• Take a cruise on a guided river float and pick out shapes in the clouds.
• Hit the trails on horseback and let someone else do the walking.
Foods of Summer:
• Sample fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market.
• Host a Pot Luck BBQ. Everyone brings their own meat and a side dish to pass.
• Enjoy curly fries, a corndog fresh and squeezed lemonade at the County Fair.
• Invite the neighborhood kids to participate in a watermelon eating contest.
• Make your own Snow cones with Kool Aid and shaved ice.
• Go to a U-pick farm for fresh off of vine delights.
• Roast hotdogs over the fire for dinner and make s’mores for dessert.
• Fold paper airplanes and test the best designs.
• Make colorful candles with leftover crayons.
• Enhance your wardrobe with custom made tie-dye shirts
• Design your own fireworks t-shirts with glue lines and glitter
• Show off your artistic skills by wearing DIY face painting designs.
Night Time Fun:
• Go to a Drive In movie–Check out
driveintheater.com for one in your area
• Catch fireflies in a jar, but let them get back to their families when the night is over.
• Sit on the porch and watch the sun set
• Play glow in the dark bowling by placing glow sticks in empty two liter bottles.
• Write your name in the dark with sparklers.
Enjoy the outdoors:
• Rent a canoe and have a picnic on the shore.
• Hunt for nearby treasures by geocaching in your hometown.
• Play classic backyard games like Sharks and Minnows or Kick the Can.
• Go camping in a yurt.
• Race rubber ducks down a flowing stream or small river.
• Set up a photo scavenger hunt at the mall.
• Go roller-skating or head to the arcade.
• Make a maze or fort using cardboard boxes.
• Start a summer fun journal or scrapbook.
Give back to others:
• Support childhood cancer research and set up a lemonade stand for Alexslemonade.org.
• Make a meal for families at Ronald McDonald House.
• Spend the day performing random acts of kindness.
• Help find a forever home for animals by fostering kittens or puppies.
• Take forced perspective photos to make objects appear larger or smaller than normal.
• Have a paint war with goggles and non-toxic paints.
• Check out what really happens when you mix Coke and Menthos (with supervision).
Beyond the Backyard:
• Cheer for the home team at a baseball or soccer game.
• Ride the Ferris wheel at the carnival.
• Milk a cow at the State Fair.
• Feed the goats at the petting zoo.
• Win a prize at the fishing derby.
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