Last-Minute Summer Fun for Kids

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I won’t lie to you, I’ve started my countdown for the first day of school and I’m already planning my own personal celebration for that day. At the same time, I’m aware that summer is rapidly coming to an end, and there are a few fun summer activities that we haven’t yet completed as a family.

If you also feel some pressure to achieve last-minute memories of summer fun, here are some ideas to help!

Head to the Library

If your kids participated in summer reading, it's time to turn in those calendars for prizes! Usually when kids turn in a completed summer reading calendar, they get to choose a free book and they receive a packet of prizes that include coupons to local businesses – a sample of ours is a coupon for a free ice cream cone at McDonald’s, a coupon for free admission to the local aquatic park, and a free lunch at a pizza place in town.

Once you dig through the prizes, schedule when you’ll go out and use them during the last couple of weeks of summer for some free fun with your kids!

Host a Play Date

We haven’t had nearly the amount of play dates that I had intended when the summer started. Take these last few weeks and schedule a couple with friends and their kids. The parents can use the adult conversation while the kids burn off their energy!

Get Wet at a Splash Park

There’s a reason why these last days of summer are called “the dog days” – it’s hot! You may want to take your play date out on the town to one of your local splash parks. Schedule the time and place with friends and take a picnic full of snacks and water. Many times there are play structures nearby that the kids can also play on, alternating between heating up and cooling down. Don’t forget to bring a comfortable chair for lounging in the shade.

Shop for Christmas Ideas

Hanging out in a nearby store is a nice air-conditioned break from the heat. Explain to your kids that you're not going to buy anything AT ALL, and this is an opportunity to shop for fun. Have them bring along notebook paper to write their Christmas lists, and take your own notes of what your kids like along with prices of each item. Use that list to start your Christmas shopping, hunting for the best deals!

Head to the Fair

In our little corner of the world, we still have a county fair as well as the State Fair before school starts. This might cost a bit of money, but it’s probably a fun break that you all need. Search around for discount admission tickets, and plan on packing food and water for the day.

Go Camping

Reservations for camping at State Parks are made months in advance, but often have to be let go for a variety of reasons. This means last-minute open camping spots! If you want to go camping, keep a daily tab on the State Parks you’re interested in, and nab an open spot as it becomes available. Your kids can play, ride bikes, hike and participate in the activities sponsored by the park while you relax with a good book. Pack plenty of food and water, and you’re good to go for less than $20 a night.

A Day Trip

No matter where you live, there are summertime hot spots to hit before school starts. For us, it's the beach and the lake. We generally aren’t able to afford an overnight stay in a hotel, so we leave fairly early in the morning and take a fun day trip. With enough food, my kids will go anywhere. Don’t forget the sand and water toys, towels, a blanket and – most important – your camera to capture these last-minute summer memories!

Kelly Wilson is an editor for Teaching Resource Center, a Teacher Store providing families and classrooms with high-quality, low-cost Teacher Supplies.

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