Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer guide for the family

It's a great idea to get input from the entire family when making Summer plans. Find out what each child would love to do. Encourage them to participate and discuss with them your budget constraints. For example, last year my little guy wanted to visit Disney World and we explained to him that it was not in the budget. Next on his list...paddle boating. So my husband and I took him and his cousin out on the Potomac river to enjoy paddle boating and we all had a blast! It's not the activity only, but the time spent together creating wonderful memories.

There are lots of great activities that you can enjoy with your kids this summer
  • Movies~
 Movie theatres have summer specials and matinee are at a discounted price. Some parks offer outdoor movie viewing. Movies under the stars is always a fun family activity.
  • Storytime~
Bookstores and libraries have storytime. Call your local library for information. Also check out Borders, Barnes and Noble or any other bookstore in your neighborhood for a summer schedule.
  • Museums~
Don't limit yourself to Children Museums. Venture out to other museums and learn together. Give your kids a list of museums and ask them to choose one that may interest them. A favorite of ours is the Spy Museum and this summer it is my hope that we'll get to visit the Newseum as a family. Being in the DC Metro area, we have a great deal of choices.
  • Water activities~
Cool down with your kiddies at recreation or neighborhood pools. Some cities have small water parks that are at a fraction of the cost of major amusement parks. Some states also offer lake and river activities like boating, water rafting, sailing, etc.
  • Performing Arts~
Check out your local listings for performances in theatre, music or puppet shows at your local Playhouse. This is a great way to introduce younger children to the arts and help them develop an appreciation for it. You may also find outdoor performances at parks.
  • Bowling and roller skating~
These are always fun activities that even teenagers are fond of.
  • Nature Activities~
Nature centers  have hikes, camping and nature trails. Locate a Farmers' market and peruse with your children. Some farms have 'pick your own' (PYO) produce. You can take home your produce and let the kids help you prepare a wonderful lunch or dinner or bake a pie.
  • Parks and Recreation~
There's an abundance of activities that parks throughout North America offer. They're all specific to the region. You will find playgrounds, camping, mini golf, picnic areas, hiking or walking trails and some even have water parks.  Contact your State's Park and Recreation for details.
  • Animal viewing~
Zoos, petting zoos and aquariums are fun places to visit and learn along with your children.

You are not limited to this list. Do a search for [Parks and Recreation by State] for a list of activities offered in your state.  There are always special events during summertime. Outdoor summer concerts, amusement theme parks, summer camps or vacation bible school (VBS), enrichment classes or workshops, carousels, trains, laser tag, to name a few.  Also search for summer activities for kids or teens in your city. There will be many activities to choose from. So plan wisely and don't over schedule. You want to enjoy the activity and not feel resentment. Make sure your kids are fed and hydrated. That makes a family outing less stressful. Be adventurous, be patient, be encouraging and embrace the journey. Happy planning!

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