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10 Ways to Create Lasting Memories this Summer (Without Breaking the Bank!)

Summer is a perfect time to do things with your kids that just might make some lasting memories. These times will never present themselves again, because next summer your child will be one year older (you will, too) and they may not appreciate the family experience as much as they would this year.

Here are some suggestions. This isn't a mandatory list, so there's no need to become compulsive and do everything. In fact, one or more of these might give you your own ideas. It may be one of the things that bring a smile to your child's face long after they become an adult.


  1. Plan a fall garden with your child. Let them help decide what goes in the garden.
  2. Re-decorate one aspect of your child's room. Whether it's painting their wall, buying new curtains or a bedspread, let them be a part of it.

  3. Have a picnic at night with your whole family. Everyone is responsible for making one dish.

  4. Take the family ice-skating at an indoor rink if there is one in your area.

  5. Get the family up early and drive to the lake to watch the sunrise. Pack small snacks for the humans and food for the birds the night before. Helping with this part can mean a lot to a child, and add excitement to the trip.

  6. Make the World's Largest Ice Cream Sundae and let your child help add the toppings. Let them invite three of their best friends to share the sundae.
  7. Plan a short weekend getaway that involves camping and a hike. Kids really love the idea of getting away, and they like to see mom and dad relaxing and playing with them. A bonfire is a wonderful way to end the perfect family day.

  8. Make bubbles, and invite the neighborhood kids (and their parents) over. Parents enjoy relaxing with other parents, and kids like blowing bubbles. Something about seeing kids blowing bubbles and parents relaxing makes me feel happy... it will do the same for you (be sure to keep this activity outside).

  9. Have a movie day at home when the rain keeps you indoors. Serving popcorn and hot dogs adds to the overall event.

  10. Go out in the evening and catch fireflies with your child. Let your child keep them in a jar overnight and then free them in the morning.

Have a wonderful summer building memories!

Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl's Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever. Read more about the book at and more about Rapini at


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