This summer families everywhere will make the most of the beautiful weather while celebrating the Fourth of July, but after all the good times on this special day have passed, there is still a lot of summer left to enjoy. In fact, when you really get down to it, by the time Independence Day has passed, summer is in full swing and there are still plenty of chances to take advantage of the long summer days. Why not make the most of it and make time to be with your family?

This may sound like a simple and straightforward proposition, but spending quality time with your spouse and kids can be a constant challenge. In the modern world, it is not uncommon for children to be over-scheduled throughout the year. Parents, meanwhile, are pushed to the limit in an effort to simply make a living. Factor in transporting their kids to all the places they need to be while shopping for food, cooking meals, cleaning the house and yard, and maintaining some semblance of a social life, and it's abundantly clear that something has to give.

Unfortunately, this something is usually ends up being the time that we spend with our family, which is a shame when you really get down to it because nobody is more deserving of our time, and nobody benefits more from our presence. So after all the festivities of Independence Day, why not make sure to set aside time spend with them? It will bring your family closer together, and will create a lifetime of memories. 

1. Make Mealtime Interesting

Families should make a point of sharing at least one meal together, and during that time, make it engaging interesting. Have someone choose a topic of interest to discuss, and have everyone chime in with their opinion. Talk about current events or take suggestions and plan your next vacation. Be in the moment and not distracted by the TV or smartphones. Let everyone have some say in what's on the menu.

2. Get Some Exercise

Exercise is good for us, and when it's done with family and friends, it is always more enjoyable. So take a walk or ride your bike with your spouse and kids. Sharing time while engaging in healthy pursuits is a win-win situation. Not only do you get to be with the people most important to you, but having others to inspire and motivate will help to make it happen.

3. Do Some Gardening

Spend time with your spouse and kids planning, planting, and tending a garden. Even weeding can be fun when you're in the right company, and having a garden is a great way to teach kids about where food comes from and to provide healthy foods.

4. Organize Neighborhood Fun

When I was a young child, we played regularly with the neighborhood kids well into the evening, often making things up as we went along. That never seems to happen today, but that doesn't mean you can't organize activities with your family and friends. Throw a ball around or organize some ultimate Frisbee. Even hide-and-go seek can be a blast, just use your imagination and include everyone.

5. Get Everyone Out of the House

Being outside is a great way to get away from the distractions that divide our attention, and it usually entails being active and getting some fresh air. Plan a picnic when the weather is nice, or go for a hike that ends with a picnic. Exercise in the form of walking or riding bikes is a great excuse to get outside.

6. Make Meals Together

Cooking meals can be stressful, especially when the family is sitting around the table waiting to be served (this can lead to mountains of resentment). By getting everyone involved, it makes eating a family event that everyone is invested in. It also helps parents to lighten up and accept a little healthy chaos in their lives, and every person should have some minimal level of competency in the kitchen.

7. Play a Board/Card Game

Board games and card games seem antiquated and out of date, but that's the point. Modern high-tech gadgets have succeeded in isolating us from our friends and family, so ditch the smartphone, turn off the TV/computer, and spend some time teaching your kids your favorite games. Parents will be surprised how much fun they'll have, and it will give them a chance to be nostalgic about their simpler childhoods, which every parent loves to do.

8. Set Aside Alone-Time With Your Spouse

As much as family time is important, it is also important that parents have some time to themselves to be adults. Make sure to set aside time on a regular basis to be with your significant other free from distractions to do the things that you enjoy doing together… whatever that may be.

There is no limit to the number of fun things you can do with your family this summer and it doesn't take a special occasion like holidays to make it happen. Do it as often as possible throughout the year. Remember, there is always an excuse not to do it, the key is to just do it.