10 Things You Still Have Time To Do This Summer

The days may seem short and for some school starts back as early as next week. (Next week?!) Where did the summer go? No worries, even if backpacks and colored pencils are on your doorstep, there's still time to have a little family fun before the early morning wakeups start. Here are a few suggestions to maximize your minutes this weekend:

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1. Find Water: It might be a pool, sprinkler, water park, heck, even a stream or river nearby suitable for wading in. Check your local pools as many do start weekend only hours about this time. We don't want you standing outside with your goggles and being ready to go if no one's there!

2. Take a Hike: Pack snacks, water, and even a journal to take some notes on what you find along the way. Hiking is free and it doesn't matter where you live, it's totally achievable.

3. Play Hide n' Seek After Dark: Growing up in my neighborhood, all the kids came out after dinner and had one final farewell to summer hide n' seek game. If your kids are very small, try it at dusk when they might not be scared of the boogie man. But either way, playing with your friends and family among the fireflies is something special.

4. Host a Water Fight: Invite neighbors, friends and family over to come share in the excitement. Use water balloons, sponges, hoses, buckets of water or some combination.

5. Go on a Bug Hunt: Creepy crawlies are cool, even if you're terrified of them. Grab a jar or two, fill 'em with sticks and grass and any bugs you can find and let your kids observe for a day or two. Just make sure they don't get set free in the house.

6. Try a Sidewalk Chalk-apalooza: Find a park, driveway or safe cul-de-sac and let the creativity flow. If your kids are old enough, try making late night runs to friend's homes to write well wishes for the next school year in front of their home. It's like ding dong ditch without the dinging or the donging, or well... you get the idea.

7. Eat Ice Cream & Popsicles: Even if you've had a freezer full all summer, there's something different about eating a melty ice cream cone while sitting outside watching the end of the summer months pass by. Sure ice cream is good in winter, but it's special right now.

8. Maximize Your Playgrounds: Kids pent up from being inside with the heat? Make a park road trip and visit several favorites in a single day. Try to make them a little different from each other for the most attention retention. The plus side? They'll be tired when you get home!

9. Eat Something Fresh: Even if you don't have a backyard garden, visit a local farmer's market and let your kids experience fresh breads, cheeses, produce and more. If you're feeling lively, let them help make tasty treats from your finds when you get home.

10. Get Dirty!: Make mud pies, play in the warm summer rain, stomp through a creek, have a whipped cream pie fight, something that gets you all head-to-toe dirty. I still remember a pudding fight that broke out between summer camp counselors and it will go down in history as one of the most awesome (and probably wasteful) nights ever.

What is your family doing to capture the end of the season?

(Image: Flickr member soapylovedeb, Pink Sherbet Photography licensed for use by Creative Commons)

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Sarah Trover has lived all across the Midwest and currently calls the hot dog-laden city of Chicago home. She rides scooters and seeks out kitchens that make the best pie.

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