As the days of summer vacation come to an end and the start of a new school year approaches, there is still time to take advantage of the longer days and lack of homework. Fit in a few more summer activities or day trips to round out the summer vacation and add to your family memories. At the very least, it will give your children something to write about in their "what I did over summer vacation" essays!
1. Go to the beach
No matter where you live, chances are you are within driving distance to a lake, pond, river, or ocean. Check the internet or your GPS for directions, pack a cooler and your beach gear, and head out for a day in the sun. No summer vacation should be complete without a few sand castles and fun in the water.
Pick a charity or a cause you or the children are passionate about, and find a way to volunteer or help out. Maybe you will visit the local animal shelter and take the dogs for a walk; maybe you will work at the local soup kitchen or organize a fundraiser for a charitable cause.
3. Play in the Rain
Previous generations of kids would often play outside in the rain, enjoying stomping in mud puddles and finding frogs and worms. Modern families tend to call the kids indoors when the weather is less than ideal. Before the summer ends, get outside and play in the warm summer rain at least once!
4. Make Your Own Ice Cream
A favorite treat for many during the hot summer months is a cold ice cream cone. Did you know you can make your own ice cream in a freezer bag? Here's a recipe for homemade ice cream that is not only tasty and fun to make, but also an educational experiment in chemistry.
5. Reconnect with Nature
A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that kids between the ages of 8 and 18 spend about 7.5 hours PER DAY connected to the internet, watching TV, playing video games, or using cell phones. Despite the increase in screen time, there are numerous studies that indicate a strong correlation between children's health and happiness and the amount of time they spend in nature. Take a walk or hike in the woods, send the children outdoors daily to play and visit national parks — find ways to spend more time outdoors and experience more nature and less electronics.
6. Reinstate Family Game Night
Another activity that seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle of busy schedules is the traditional family game night. When was the last time you and your kids gathered around the dining room table or sat on the floor in the living room with a board game? If it's not too windy, you can even enjoy a game on the picnic table outside. It's a great after-dinner activity or fun way to pass the time on a day that you can't get outdoors.