This is my son's last summer before he starts kindergarten and I remember how, as a child, summer took on an even greater significance once the school calendar began to rule my life. So whether your kids haven't yet reached school age or whether they have and want to squeeze every last drop of fun out of their summer freedom, here are 50 posts to inspire you to make the most of summer.
Outdoor Play & Crafts
I can remember flopping on the couch with my sisters in the summertime and my dad coming into the room and giving us the silent stinky-eye that said, "go outside!" And he was right; it's nice to come in and cool off but summers are all about being outside as much as possible.
Read the Summer Away
Believe it or not, some of my best summer childhood memories are of reading. We lived across the street from our town's public library and I would take out huge stacks of books and settle in on a rocking chair on our front porch for hours and hours. An hour or two reading is the perfect activity to balance out hours of swimming, biking or general shenanigans.
Camping & Backyard Camping
If you can get out to a campsite - great! Your kids will love the simple pleasures that camping entails: pitching a tent, cooking around a fire, making s'mores, singing or strumming a guitar. And if you can't make it to an official campsite, your backyard or even your living room are terrific second choices.
Gardening with Kids
You might think of Spring as prime gardening season, but there's plenty to do and grow in the Summer. If you have a little bit of land, grow some flowers or vegetables with your kids. Make watering and weeding part of your daily routine. And if you don't have outdoor space, you can at least keep some herbs in pots and get kids interested in gardening this way.
Exploring and Getting Out in Nature
We could all use more nature in our lives - it has restorative powers after all. Playgrounds are great, but seek out some true nature near home.
Rainy Day Boredom Busters
It's inevitable - there will be rainy days. Or maybe just "hot as hell" days. Don't wile it away in front of the tv - make something or play something instead.
(Images: 1: Carrie McBride 2. Maxwell Ryan 3. Ashley Campbell 4. Maxwell Ryan 5. The Magic Onions 6. Flickr member Jonf728 licensed for use under Creative Commons 7. Hands On: As We Grow)