By Tracy Lane
The longer days and growing warmer weather bring many excited thoughts of summer ahead. We’re playing in the backyard with neighbors every night. We’ve gotten smoothies, iced coffee, and frozen custard 4 times in the past week, which isn’t going to be good for my summer waistline. And apparently I’m the last one to Airbnb search options for a mini vacation to our nearby beach towns because only the pink carpeted 1 bedroom studios are left.
So PSA, if you thought you had more time to summer plan, I’m here to tell you: you better get on it!
And if all the summer planning overachievers took you by surprise: choose the newer, airy offbeach Airbnb option that comes with cute little bikes for the half mile trek to the sand.
Here are ideas for planning now to create some appropriate anticipation with your family. Use these to start marking a few fun dates on your June-August calendars and schedule memory making summer plans for the long sunny days ahead.
1. Go to your local park. Sometimes we invite a friend. Sometimes we go alone and plan to make a friend. We also like to pack a picnic lunch to stretch our outdoor time.
2. Walk your city. Maybe you live in a bustling metropolitan that’s easily walkable and entertaining over and over. Point out buildings. Explore the architecture. Sit and people watch. Maybe you live in a smaller community but you likely still have a center of town to stroll. If your area is more outdoorsy, check out designated walking or hiking trails throughout the summer, one a week.
3. RSVP for a local VBS. If your church is hosting a Vacation Bible School, you’ll be sure to attend. But did you know that most churches make their week of VBS open to the public, and generally free. There’s no shame in church hopping to get in several weeks of song and craft fun at Vacation Bible Schools in your area.
4. Dress up like a cow. And get free chicken of course! Chick-fil-A’s free chicken day has become quite the mid summer trend for families with kids and even working professionals on lunch break. It’s scheduled for July 9 this year. It’s easy. You can even print a free template for DIY cow masks.
5. Join your library. Many libraries offer summer reading programs to keep your little ones learning over break. The big perk of these programs is the passes your kids earn for turning in read books. In the past, our girls have earned free baseball game tickets, zoo passes, museum passes, personal pizzas, and more. See what your library has to offer. It’ll be free and it’ll be fun to take your kids on outings as a reward for reading.
Fun That’s Worth the Money
1. Take a family vacation. Vacations don’t have to be big to be memorable. Sure saving up to go to Disney is great. But it’s also fun to camp at a nearby national park for one night. Plan a visit to the biggest city near you that you can drive to. As long as you’re at a hotel with a swimming pool, your kids will be happy! Don’t limit yourself by requiring your trip to be better than your neighbor’s. Just getaway anywhere with your family to make memories together.
2. Visit out of town family. I know flights are expensive! But keeping close relationships with faraway family is invaluable. Plan now to get the best price on airline tickets. Your family members will feel loved. And you’ll teach your children the priority of family relationships.
3. Buy the membership. You know what your family likes. A summer pool membership is an excellent way to spend hot days. And if you get several friends to join the neighborhood pool too, you’ll be set for a summer of fun. Other memberships to consider are zoos and local museums.
It’ll be fun to start planning for summer now. And it’ll give you a hard start on the prevention of the “I’m bored” refrain you’re bound to hear. You don’t have to keep your kids entertained all summer, but a few activities here and there will keep the summer fun going.