“Summertime…is when the living’s easy” is the refrain of many popular songs throughout history and the general attitude of many people during the summer months. Even in cold(er) climates, the absence of biting wind and the appearance of the sun is as welcome to many people as gasoline is to a combustion engine. That is to say, that most people enjoy the sunshine and the relief and freedom that brings. Even if you don’t have kids, one remembers the immense summer fun for children that took place during that time off from school and the world.
But now as an adult, even couples that aren’t ever planning on having children, the concept of summer fun for children should live on. There are surely children in your family, in your neighborhood, or in groups that you volunteer for or participate in that would benefit from your free-spirited attitude and willingness to have fun. Everyone appreciates having activities that get them outdoors and out of their heads, away from the rigorous routines that we are always subject to with school and work.
In this article, we’re going to be talking mostly to parents of children and how they can prepare for summer fun for children in a relaxing and positive way. Even if you don’t have children or intend to become a parent, you can benefit from planning your summer in a similar way. When you get things done that you’ve been putting off for too long, or “schedule time to relax” so that you eliminate stress from building up in your life, then you may as well be a kid! Because you’ll certainly be as free as one.
Summer Vacation Sneaks up on You: Be Ready!
Depending on what part of the USA you’re in, summertime can appear seasonally in different ways. The calendar months are all the same, but some regions seem to “skip” spring and head directly from winter to summer with their temperature changes. Regardless of whether you have a pool that needs to be cleaned or a lawn that will soon need attending to, it’s worthwhile to prepare for summer before it occurs. This is doubly true if you have children that will otherwise be left to their own devices, or get bored and start to be a source of mischief where you live. It’s never too early to plan summer fun for children!
In the months leading up to summer, start thinking about activities that you or your family would like to participate in. If you’ve always wanted to take your family on a camping trip, you may be able to get a lot of great “summer deals” during the winter months when nobody is buying that equipment. Nowadays, you don’t even have to go to the store to search, you can simply browse your favorite online sporting goods store to find whatever you desire. You may be able to use coupons to get even better deals, and it’s all too convenient to get this shipped directly to your front door.
Camping is certainly popular among people, and an estimated 38 million Americans went camping during 2012. Even if you’re not ready to take a full-on camping trip, you can still enjoy the great outdoors by introducing your family and kids to new activities that they may enjoy. Alternative water sports that involve no motor are always catching on in popularity, and you may get a great deal of joy from investing in a paddleboard or kayak that everyone can take turns in. Who knows? You may become a family that gets so into their sports that it becomes a lifestyle.
Whether your plans are outdoors or indoors, it never fails to have a list of things that would turn into summer fun for children. Crafting, putting on plays, building pillow forts, or simply turning lawn chores into a game are all on the table. You know what will work best for your family at any particular time.
Whether There’s a Pandemic or Too Much Rain, People Get Stir Crazy
In recent months, the global pandemic of COVID-19 has shuttered many people’s lives in terrible and tragic ways. Even those that have been lucky enough to stay healthy and safe were surely somewhat bored last summer. Many businesses were closed, and a multitude of cultural events that usually occur (music festivals, film showings, and running events among others) were not allowed to go on. Eventually, people can only sit inside in the air conditioning for so long watching TV before they go stir crazy. This is doubly true for children.
So if you’re still in an area with a lot of COVID-19 cases and feel that it’s unsafe to be around people you don’t know, never fear! You can leave the house in many ways without ever having to take a trip. If you try to think back as a child what made you happy, it was more often than not the simple pleasures in life. Such as running through a sprinkler, jumping on a trampoline, or riding bicycles on your street. Try and recreate that for your children by enlisting the help of garden sprinkler services to not only hydrate your lawn, but suggest the best options for kids to run through and play pretend.
There are also “indoor” activities that require outdoor components that can be a whole barrel of summer fun for children. Many of the crafts that are considered indoor ventures, such as printing on t-shirts or tie-dying, you will want to have kids do outdoors so that you’re not constantly cleaning up messes. From having ink splattered everywhere, to helping them iron on designs, to schlepping buckets of dye from one corner of the patio to another, it can be quite the workout. And yet when everything is said and done, they’ll have a product that they made themselves and is unavailable in stores.
Outdoor Fun is Good for the Body and Mind
When planning summer fun for children, never forget the adage that “a healthy mind follows a healthy body.” Not only are outdoor activities good for children, but they can work in tandem with summertime health foods in order for everyone to have a wonderful time and be properly sustained. Having fun in the backyard is only made better by eating watermelon (a fruit) followed by carrot sticks, celery, and tomatoes (veggies) with a bit of dressing. Combine this with low-sugar lemonade and some sunshine and you’ve basically got the perfect summer day.
Summer is also the most wonderful time to participate in solo sports or team sports, depending on your family’s inclinations. During this year, many team sports such as baseball and soccer were unable to be played in recreational leagues, but this doesn’t mean that your family has to stop these sports altogether. You can still play a pickup game of soccer or basketball at the park together, or perhaps use a baseball diamond for a couple of pitches and swings for the fences.
The Outdoors Present Unique Opportunities that Can’t Be Matched
The outdoors are a unique area all their own. While this may seem like a fairly obvious claim, it has unique implications in terms of summer fun for children. It can be hard to remember the first time that you played in a stream, or collected followers off of a bush to turn into your own bouquet for the people that you were with. Perhaps it was even part of your first “crush” experience or some other interesting aspect of human socializing. Many of these times are linked to the outdoors because they can only happen there, as there tend to be no eagles, salamanders, or tree branches in one’s home.
Being outdoors can also be a time where summer fun for children is extended beyond the digital realm that they are so used to nowadays and discover that perhaps nature is better than anything in high definition. While one can watch nature shows for hours, there is nothing like being outside and feeling that it is starting to rain, or jumping in mud puddles during a downpour. These are experiences that signify and invigorate us toward life, making us into the wonderful adults that we are supposed to be.
The outdoors can also teach children resilience in a way that is often never discussed in our society. When you go on a camping trip and something goes wrong (such as forgetting to bring a fuel can), your child can learn important lessons about how to solve problems in a relatively non-threatening way. Instead of using a fuel can and lighter to make a fire, they may have to help you build a fire with kindling, sticks, and matches. What starts off as a problem that seems insurmountable can become a learning experience that things are never as bad as they seem, and perhaps even sometimes it’s a welcome problem to learn something new.
Indoor Fun Doesn’t Need to Be Neglected, Just Monitored
While spending time in the great outdoors is all well and good, there are some families who have children that either cannot go outside, or seem to only have free time when the weather takes a turn for the worst. One should never despair in these situations, as indoor fun can be had more now than ever. But as always, parents should monitor the activity to keep their little ones from indulging too much.
Having a movie night is an easy activity these days—with streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu one barely has to get off the couch in order to see a blockbuster. To make this activity more fun for kids, combining movie night with special food (pizza, chicken wings, salads) can create a bond that they will remember for quite a long time. Or even better, you can make this night a participatory activity by buying fresh ingredients and having everyone help you cook the food that you’ll be eating during the movie.
Video games, educational YouTube videos, and more abound these days, but you must be careful about how much screen time you and your child have. Try to get a break every hour or so, and try to make that break a “complete break” where you move around, get the blood flowing, and detox from watching the screen before you sit back down again. Staring at screens for a long time has been linked to eye strain, depression, lethargy, and all sorts of other unwanted behaviors, so it’s best to moderate it.
Indoor activities also do not have to be digital at all. Board games are more popular than ever, and families can now buy complete crafting kits online that teach you how to make all sorts of useful items. Just be cautious when handing your child a pair of scissors or allowing them to use an iron. No child ever means to hurt themselves in pursuit of a good time, but it certainly happens every so often.
Don’t Forget That Parents Need to Have Fun, Too
At the end of the day, after you’ve planned all of this summer fun for children, remember that the adults need to have fun, too. Whether this means that you take casual trips to someplace you’d both enjoy, such as a vineyard or distillery is up to you and your personal tastes. The sky truly is the limit, and who knows what personal experiences you can have with your spouse or significant other that will remind you of why you spend all your time with them? It may even deepen your bond and cause you to renew your vows, find other hobbies that fulfill you for the rest of your lives, or invite new friends into your adult friend group.
You may discover, on your sojourn away from creating summer fun for children, that hobbies you discover together translate into family time. An interesting boat ride that you both take while visiting a rural hotel might actually cause you to buy a used boat and teach your children how to sail or swim on a lake. You might become one of those “boat families” that get together with others near the ocean and participate in a wide variety of water events. You truly never can tell with these things.
But most of all, while it’s amazing to create summer fun for children, you are still an independent adult as well. The little ones can always be temporarily looked after by a family member, baby sitter, or some other trusted authority. In your time away from them, you may find that you miss them and re-evaluate how you live your life at home. Evaluating your work/life balance may become a major priority and the ripple effects of this could be completely welcome in terms of a life change. You may decide to travel more with your spouse or family, school them differently, or create family traditions that you hope will last. Anything truly can happen in the summertime, when the living’s easy.