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Picnics, Playtime and Popsicles! A Bucket List of Summer Fun

'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.

Cool off:

  • 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.

Go shopping:

  • 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. 

Craft time:

  • 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.

Nighttime fun:

  • 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.

Rainy-day fun:

  • 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.

Get silly:

  • 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.


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