So I came across this post and I have pretty much done all these things apart from Geocaching, which is on my list now and it also reminded me to sign-up for VBS vacation school which always provides much enjoyment for the kids.
So all in all, I will just list some ideas for you as these next busy weeks fall upon us and hope they serve as a reminder of the fun things to do that don’t rob the bank and provide good memories to hold on to as they grow up.
Try creating a Summer Adventure Journal:
As your kids have new experiences, have them create a Summer Adventure Journal. They will be able to write about their experiences and post photos and drawings. This keepsake journal of memories will help them to appreciate the simple pleasures of life.
1. Master an Outdoor Skill – Challenge your kids to master a new outdoor skill this summer: dribbling a basketball, jumping rope, playing bocce ball, throw a baseball, flying a kite, croquet, throwing a frisbee, etc. Have them note what skill they want to master at the beginning of the summer and then remind them to go outside as often as they can to learn.
2. Have a DIY Treat of the Week – Learn (right along with your kids) how to make DIY summer treats and make them together on a certain day each week: popsicles, homemade ice cream, sorbet, ice cream sandwiches, frozen drinks, soda floats, etc. Have your kids rate each treat so they can say which one is the best.
3. Play a Board Game of the Week – Start a family game night. Pick a new game every week. Have your kids keep a written record of who wins the most over the summer (in our house, that would be mom, she is master of the board games).
4. Start a Garden – It doesn’t have to be huge. Have your children pick just one or two vegetables or herbs they would like to grow this summer and pick a spot in your yard, flower bed, or large pots for these veggies to grow. Make sure you mark your calendar for days they need to go outside to weed, water, and tend their plants. Have your kids take pictures of each stage of their garden and the growth of their plants.
5. Plan a Water Battle – Find as many squirt guns as you can and plan an epic battle in your yard. Get our the sprinkler for maximum wetness. Have your kids form teams and get the neighbor kids involved. Don’t forget to take pictures to remember the day.
6. Become a Missionary Kid Pen Pal – Find out what missionary families your church or denomination supports and find out if those families have kids. Have your kids write letter to those children to encourage them over the summer. Keep the returned letters in a folder for safe keeping.
7. Catch Bugs – Challenge your kids to catch one new species of bug every day for a couple weeks. Have them look up the bugs online or in a field guide. (It gets really fun during lightning bug season.) Have them take pictures of each bug they catch.
8. Read Books to Earn Rewards – Contact your local library. Many of them have summer reading programs that earn kids rewards. Have your kids complete a Barnes & Noble reading journal (after they read 8 books), and they can earn a free book. Half Price Books also has a summer reading program where kids can earn “Bookworm Bucks.” Chuck E. Cheese’s offers $10 of free tokens to kids who read every day for two weeks. Keep a record of each book your child reads to show them how much they have read through the summer.
9. Create a Music Video – If you know a thing or two about video software, teach your kids to make their own music video to a song they all love.
10. Do a Crazy Car Wash – Get the kids into their swimsuits and go outside to wash the car. Getting soaked is a requirement.
11. Camp in the Yard – Pick a night or series of nights you plan to camp outside under the stars. Fill your evening and morning with fun outdoor activities like a campfire or outdoor games. Take photos of the experience to remember it.
12. Become a Screever – As Bert from Mary Poppins said, “Today I’m a screever, and as you can see, a screever’s an artist of highest degree.” A screever is an artist who draws pictures on sidewalks with colored chalk. Give your kids each a large section of your sidewalk or driveway and tell them it is their canvas to create the biggest, most elaborate drawing they can think of.
13. Make a Time Capsule – Have your kids think about 50 or 100 years into the future. What would they want people in that time to know about. Create a time capsule and bury it somewhere in your yard. Bonus points if they create a treasure map to find the capsule.
14. Stargaze – Pick a late night you’re going to keep the kids up to look for constellations. Sign up for the free online course that starts in June at Experience Astronomy. Use staratlas.com to see what the constellations will look like in your local area the evening you plan to go out.