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.
- How To Make a Simple Treehouse
- Make Music Outside
- What To Do This Weekend: Get Your Bubbles On
- What To Do This Weekend: Lather Up
- What To Do This Weekend: Make a (DIY) Kite
- Craft Project: Weaving with your Kids
- DIY Leaf Art Prints
- 5 Ideas for Cooling Off the Kids This Summer
- Summer Camp Crafting: God's Eyes
- Summer Kid Craft: Friendship Bracelets
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.
- Post Series: My Favorite Children's Book
- Summer Reading: Great Book Series for the Entire Family
- How To Select Good Picture Books
- Our Mega 'List of Lists' to Find Great Kids Books
- Survey: Wrangling Library Books
- Summer Reading List: Great Graphic Novels for Kids
- A Nook of One's Own: Kids Reading Nooks
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.
- The Importance of Backyard Camping
- 10 Staples for Camping In Your Own Backyard
- Fill in the Blank: Don't Go Camping Without...
- A Few Non-Toys To Keep Your Little Campers Busy
- 5 Around-the-Campfire Desserts
- Summer Fun: Make S'mores in the Car
- Photographing Sparklers
- Decorating the Campsite
- Family Camping Tips from REI
- Best Kids Parties: Camping at Home
- How To Camp with an Infant
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.
- Garden Inspiration: DIY Fairy Gardens
- Elements of a Child-Friendly Garden
- Gearing Up for Family Gardening
- Miniature Garden Resources
- Make Your Own Kids Garden
- 5 Garden Kits for Kids
- The Kitchen Garden Experiment
- Gardening with Kids: Fun & Functional Tools
- You Can Do It! First-Time Vegetable Gardening for the Black Thumbed
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.
- Easy Scavenger Hunt
- Take a Walk: U.S. Hiking Trails
- Make Your Own Extra Awesome Walking Sticks
- What To Do This Weekend: Go on a Treasure Hunt
- What To Do This Weekend: Go Geo Caching
- 100 Geeky Places to Take Your Kids This Summer
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.
- How To Create Flubber, Glurch and Other Homemade Art Supplies at Home
- Rainy Day Boredom Buster: DIY Story in a Bag
- Rainy Day Fun: Free Printable Toys
- Rainy Day Survival Kit: My Personal Stache
- Rainy Day Activity: Sticky Web Game
- What To Do This Weekend: Make Your Own Stamps