Written by Kate Tietje of Modern Alternative Mama.
It’s summer. Time for lazy days and cricket-filled nights. It’s the beauty of summer, really – not having so many activities, getting to move at a slower pace, and spending your time doing what you really enjoy.
As you’re focusing on the wonderful laziness, though, there are some moments that only the summer brings that you definitely don’t want to miss. These are the moments that will make memories for your children…that may have made memories for you growing up. Savor them, enjoy them, and make the most of them. This time, especially with young children, doesn’t last.
1. Visit the ice cream shop
Something about summer – probably the occasionally intense heat – just screams ice cream. Just like that old saying: “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” And believe me, my children do.
At least once this summer, take a trip to a local ice cream shop and get a cone. Take it outside and wander around while you eat it, enjoying the sunny warmth. It won’t seem so hot with the cool deliciousness in your mouth. If you like to eat ice cream more often (we do), try making homemade ice cream that’s lower in sugar.
2. Swim in a “real” pool
There are indoor pools and bathtubs in the winter and those are okay. Maybe pretty good if you have a really nice bathtub, like a whirlpool tub (I wish). But still, a real, outdoor pool is just part of summer.
Take your kids and enjoy frolicking in the water together. If they’re really little, seek out of those neat zero-depth-entry pools so they’re safer, and bring some water wings.
3. Hike through the woods
There’s something so peaceful about the quiet, green leaves surrounding you as you walk through the woods – even if your children get a little excited, like mine. Learn to identify some plants while you’re out there, if that’s your thing – my kids love that they can recognize several!
Soak up the peace, quiet, and cool breezes, and enjoy the light exercise. Take some homemade bug spray with you if you’re worried about getting bitten. Bring your first aid kit, too, just in case.
4. Sleep under the stars
Remember when “camping” meant pulling a sleeping bag into the backyard? Do it again now! Introduce your children to the wonders of sleeping right on the ground (preferably on a soft blanket though) and staring up at the gorgeous, twinkling stars above. Enjoy the night air and the crickets chirping you to sleep. Just tell your kids (if they’re anything like mine) not to talk about spiders all night!
Photo by Robert Banh
5. Walk barefoot on hot concrete
The sidewalk can get so hot in the summer that it actually burns your feet a little bit. Somehow, hopping around on the hot concrete and feeling the heat is a part of summer.
Close your eyes and take a barefoot walk across the concrete and briefly enjoy the heat. Avoid the black top if it’s really hot, though! (I also wouldn’t suggest this for the littlest ones!)
6. Run through the sprinkler
Who cares if you’re grown up? On a hot day, set up the sprinkler in the yard, put your bathing suit on, and jump through it with your kids. It’s cheap entertainment, and a great way to stay cool.
Plus for children, there are endless games that can be created, especially with a sprinkler that shoots in a partial circle and then comes back around. It’s so fun to try to “avoid” it before jumping in completely!
7. Build a sand castle
If you’re lucky enough to have a beach near you, take advantage of it. Get some cheap sand toys from a dollar store and head to the beach. Build a beautiful sand castle…and then destroy it. (If you have kids they will like this part the best!)
Remember that even if you’re not near the coast, you can still look for lake beaches. I have one near me in Ohio. If you don’t have any beaches, try a sand box instead. It’s a different kind of awesome.
Photo by The Sean & Lauren Spectacular
8. Roast some marshmallows
Hunt in the woods for a good “roasting” stick and pop a marshmallow on it. Toast it over the fire until it’s lightly golden brown and melty inside…or burn it black. Whichever way you prefer. Introduce your children to the fun of this, too.
If you’re looking for a healthier treat, try using homemade marshmallows instead of store-bought. All that matters is that you get to eat the fire-roasted sugary goodness at the end. This wonderful tradition might follow a cookout with delicious summer picnic food…yet another don’t-miss tradition.
9. Catch some fireflies
How else are you supposed to see in the dark? Take a clear glass mason jar outside and catch some fireflies carefully, then put them inside. Cap the jar and watch them glow. Be sure to let them out before you go in for the night, though!
Summer fun is awesome.
And don’t worry about the mess that some of these activities will make. Who cares about getting hot, dirty, sweaty, muddy, or sandy? That’s part of the experience! Enjoy it and embrace it for what it is, and have a bath tub ready at the end of the day.
What are your can’t-miss summer experiences? What are your best memories?