Written by Pam Molnar; Photo: Fotolia.com
'What I did over summer vacation’ is a classic back-to-school assignment. Faced with a blank page, kids often only remember the big moments of their summer like a vacation or a visit from family. As adults, we know that life is made up of thousands of small moments. This summer let those small moments fill your child’s back-to-school essay and the memories of summertime will fill their hearts.
- Have a water balloon relay race.
- Head to an indoor ice rink and play a pick-up hockey game.
- Set up a bicycle washing station for your friends.
- Wade in a creek and skip stones.
- Start a battle of the water guns - kids vs. parents.
- Beat the heat at the library and join the summer reading club.
Get some exercise:
- Run in a Fun Run (try out the Color Vibe 5K for a great family experience).
- Learn how to perfect your cartwheel.
- Rent a tandem bike and enjoy the benefits of teamwork.
- Run with the dogs at the park - even if you don’t have a dog.
- Bargain hunt at garage sales. You never know what you might find.
- Head to a bargain store and play: ‘How much can you buy with $5?’
- Peruse the aisles of your favorite bookstore for great summer reads to lounge in a hammock together afterward and enjoy the summer breeze.
Take in the sights:
- Go for a C-Train ride from the suburbs to the inner city and watch how the buildings change.
- Watch a parade from the sidewalk or watch the spectators while walking in the parade.
- See an outdoor summer concert or play.
- Hit the trails on horseback and let someone else do the walking.
Foods of summer:
- Sample fresh produce at a Farmer’s Market.
- Host a Potluck BBQ. Everyone brings their own meat to cook and a scrumptious side dish.
- Enjoy curly fries, a corndog and freshly squeezed lemonade at the annual fair.
- Invite the neighborhood kids to participate in a watermelon-eating contest.
- Make your own snow cones with Kool-Aid and shaved ice.
- Go to a U-pick farm for fresh off of the vine delights.
- Roast hotdogs over the fire for dinner and make s’mores for dessert.
- Fold paper airplanes and test out the best designs.
- Make colorful candles with leftover crayons.
- Enhance your wardrobe with custom-made tie-dye shirts.
- Design your own fireworks T-shirts with glue lines and glitter.
- Show off your artistic skills by wearing DIY face painting designs.
- Sit on the porch and watch the sun set while cooling down with popsicles.
- Play glow in the dark bowling in the back yard by placing glow sticks in empty two-litre bottles to knock over.
- Grab those flashlights and play hide-and-seek.
Enjoy the outdoors:
- Rent a canoe and have a picnic on the shore.
- Hunt for nearby treasures by geocaching in your hometown.
- Play classic back yard games like Sharks and Minnows or Kick the Can.
- Go camping in a yurt.
- Race rubber ducks down a flowing stream or small river.
- Set up a photo scavenger hunt at the mall.
- Go roller-skating or head to a family entertainment centre.
- Make a maze or fort using cardboard boxes.
- Start a summer fun journal or scrapbook.
Give back to others:
- Make a meal for an elderly neighbor.
- Spend the day performing random acts of kindness.
- Help find a forever home for animals by fostering kittens or puppies.
- Take forced perspective photos to make objects appear larger or smaller than normal.
- Have a paint war with goggles and non-toxic paints.
- Check out what really happens when you mix Coke and Mentos (with supervision).
Beyond the back yard:
- Cheer on the home team at a football game.
- Ride the Ferris wheel at the carnival.
- Feed the goats at a petting zoo.
Pam is a freelance writer, and a mother of three. She and her family hope to cherish these small moments together this summer.