Have you ever been asked a question or gone through an experience that inevitably made you recall your ultimate memories as a child?
My best memories as a kid not only involves growing up with my cousins, but all the fun we had together during the summer. In fact, just the other day, I was recalling a time I made a remark to my best cousin. We were only about 6 or 7 at the time and I said something about her family being “rich”.
“WE’RE rich?” she replied giving me a “yeah right” kind of look.
Looking back, it wasn’t that they were financially rich. They just showed lots of love, affection and made every effort to build fun and memories along the way. It didn’t take tons of money to feel like I had an amazing childhood when I was with them! There were times they saved up for theme park trips and such, but ultimately, it was the simple pleasures that far outweighed those experiences!
Inspired by the good memories I was left with as a child as well as the fun I now try to carry out with my own children, I have compiled a list of free as well as low cost activities that will make yours and your kiddos summers just as memorable!
Always have outdoor water play available. It does not have to be some large expensive piece of equipment. I once had nothing but a water hose to let water trickle from so my babies can enjoy it in the mud. It literally was the best!
Take morning walks. I find no other types of mornings as blissful as the summer ones. You can get out as early as you want and you won’t feel cold, yet it won’t be warm either. The morning freshness is just right. My daughter really enjoyed some tea we had outback one early morning while we just sat with our German Shepard and chatted.
Plan pool play dates. This is one of those summer plans I loved as a kid! It makes me not only reminisce on that particular factor but on the amazing grilled meat we got to eat after coming out super hungry from the pool!
Give your backyard a touch up! I know how much I literally love spending summer nights out back. So we, for example, cleaned up good, bought chairs, hung some commercial led lights, made a bench, bought a grill and have fire pit nights and some good music.
Visit local park splash pads. When it just burns to play on the playground and the kiddos need some outdoor fun, the splash pad is our go to, especially on a week day. You can also always text a friend to join you guys.
Plan a picnic. To go hand in hand with my previous idea, when it’s too hot too use outdoor play equipment, you can always look for an appealing place to hang out outdoors, that has plenty enough shade for you to settle down for a nice picnic.
Go to the beach or lake. I live in the central valley of California which means that within only 2 hrs of commute or less, i can have any trip to the beach, lake, city, country or mountains. Get informed of what is close enough for you to visit for a picnic day or even camping or lodging for the weekend!
Ride on a bike trail. I ran in to a friend once on the street while the fam and I were on our bikes and she was in her SUV. She thought it was so cool how we each just had our own bike and how fun it looked. She mentioned never having thought of that and that she would start looking for her own so that even we can go together sometime. Biking as a family literally is one the most fun things the kids enjoy! Our best biking memory was just made in Lake Tahoe (quite an amusing and memorable story there, haha).
Camp out back. I have yet to try this with my kiddos. They got super excited to play in the tent once in our living room so I can’t wait to plan a fun night out one of these weekends after a good cook out!
Go fishing. This is literally one of those things that if hubby comes home from work and we have nothing to do, we will go out fishing if we feel like it. Week days can really lack creativity when evenings get bored, yet you can’t go big on a week night. We just pack real quick, stop for some snacks and proceed to enjoy ourselves for a couple hours just about a half hour from where we live.
Go sight seeing. This can involve anything nature, big city, or small town. Where I live, we can either make the drive to take a stroll through San Francisco, for example, or go for an ice cream while window shopping in little ol’ Sutter Creek, or we can go rowing a boat through Pine Crest.
Watch a baseball game. Sometimes there are parks with baseball fields that have kids teams out playing. This always appeals to my kids and it’s literally an effortless fun thing to do.
Look for free local events. Depending on where you live, stay informed on family friendly activities that are being held for the general community. Things I have personally seen are movie nights out, outdoor concerts, parades, vendor/pop ups event, food truck fest, etc.
Have a water balloon fight. I will never forget the first time I bought this for my kids. My daughter, who was 3 at the time, literally jumped, clapped and squealed saying “Thank you Mommy!”, as her eyes smiled with her. And still, I don’t know how I’m shocked at the most apparently insignificant details that bring them genuine joy!
Host family and friends over. Cookouts re the best. But whether it’s a barbeque, a movie night or a simple chat over lemonade, having guests to share memories with, triples the fun!
Hang out, out front in the evenings. You know, I feel like front porch lounging is becoming a lost art. We are losing the practice of engaging with humans; our fellow neighborhood dwellers. Courteous and friendly interactions are healthy social factors we should embody (not avoid) and that we should cultivate in our own children. My toddlers just love it when they exchange a nice “Hi” and friendly wave with a neighbor, and elderly or a passerby. They like it when we talk with them to and like to be a part of it.
At the end of the day, keep in mind the simple pleasures that really make a child’s day. You’ll have days that may just consist of having a bubble blowing session outside. Also remember the things you enjoyed as a child during this particular season and go from there.
Let your child lead you. Allow creativity to flow inspired by the areas you are noticing your kiddos show more interest in. Overall, enjoy this stage in your life no matter what. It is moment in your lifetime that can’t be recovered once it’s gone. Make the most with what you can, while you can!
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