My favorite thing about summer is the unscheduled days with my kids. We don’t have to get dressed for school or pack lunches, and our days are wide open for any adventure we choose. As a work-at-home mom, my weekdays are flexible during the summer, but we save the big family excursions for the weekends when my husband can join us.
This summer, we’re looking forward to trying new things and creating new family memories. If you’re looking for out-of-the-box summer ideas, here are 10 fun experiences for you and your kids to check off your bucket lists:
Pick your own food. Visit a local farm to pluck fresh blueberries right off the bush, or pull juicy red beets right out of the ground. My kids still talk about how they cut huge heads of broccoli right from the fields. Not only is it fun, kids will learn where their food comes from and might even sample a new vegetable when they harvest it themselves.
Go geocaching. Geocaching is the modern day treasure hunt. Use a GPS enabled device (like your smartphone) to search for a waterproof container filled with “prizes.” After you’ve tracked it down, you add your name to the log book, take a treasure from the box, and leave your own. Be warned, geocaching can be addicting! To find more about geocaches in your area, do a web search for “your town + geocaching.”
Host movie night in your backyard. Nothing beats watching a movie with your family on the big screen the comfort of your backyard. Hang a sheet or pull your television outside to watch something out of this world like Dreamworks’ Home. In the year’s hit comedy, a lovable misfit from another planet named Oh meets a girl named Tip. Join these two unlikely friends as they embark on a hilarious worldwide journey to make it home. My kids still quote lines from the movie and crack themselves up.
Start planning now so you’ll be ready to for the best movie family night ever when Home becomes available on Digital HD on Friday, June 26. For done-for-you party planning, download Home party printables, which includes menu suggestions, invites, and games. Don’t tell the kids, but I’m planning on surprising them with our own copy of the movie!
If you’re unable to have friends and family over for a backyard party, it’s ok—you can still join thousands of fellow fans for a party on Twitter. Just press PLAY on Friday at 4PM PT and head over to @DWAnimation.
Join the circus. I have a friend who sends her son to circus school every summer. The kids learn how to be a clown, juggling, acrobatic feats and other circus disciplines. The classes culminate in a circus performance so kids can show off their new-found skills. As a bonus, your kids can now say that they’ve run off with the circus.
Live in the past. Visit a living history museum or a Renaissance Faire to learn how people lived during those times. Last summer I took my kids to Vermilionville, Louisiana where they learned how yarn was spun, sat in a one-room schoolhouse, and watched an artisan make dolls out of corn husks. They enjoyed seeing history in action and learned to appreciate modern conveniences like indoor toilets!
image: Getty/Schon & Probst
Shake up your ice cream social. Instead of buying different flavors of ice cream for your next ice cream social, make small batches of ice cream at home. Using simple ingredients, ice, and plastic bags, kids can shake their way to customized ice cream flavors in just a few minutes. Human powered ice cream makers are more fun than electric ones. For detailed instructions, check out this video.
Become a backyard Olympian. Create an obstacle course in your backyard (or head to your local park) and challenge friends to complete it. Jump over boxes, dive through a hula hoop, and climb over the monkey bars right to the finish line. Award all finishers with medals made of cardboard and ribbon in a ceremony afterwards.
Attend an outdoor concert or play. There’s something about eating a picnic lunch or dinner on the grass while enjoying live music that just screams summer. Many towns offer free concerts or plays, so it’s a low-investment way to expose kids to new types of music or even Shakespeare in the park. Bonus points if the event is held at night under the stars.
Star in your own movie. I don’t know about your kids, but mine love making videos on my smartphone. Take the adventure up a notch by encouraging your kids to write a script, creating props, and filming their own movie.
image: Getty/Hill Street Studios/Eric Raptosh
Volunteer for a non-profit. There is no greater adventure than helping others in need. Kids can spend a day at an animal shelter, food pantry or arts organization. Your kids can learn new skills and be of service to their community. Not sure where to volunteer? Here’s a list of family volunteer opportunities to get you started.
No matter how many adventures your family crosses off this list, you’ll create unforgettable memories.
What family adventures do you have planned this summer?
This post is sponsored by Home, available at iTunes and all digital stores Friday, June 26.