Looking Forward to Summer Fun

Here in the Midwest, most schools start in the middle of August. There’s always moaning and groaning as school buses have to drive students by the state fair that isn’t quite over yet, but there is one advantage.

School is usually over by the end of May. This year, my daughter is done with school on June 3, and that’s considered late.

Anyway. Summer is in the air. A while back, I posted about all sorts of options for child care during the summer months. Today’s topic is going to be on plain old summer fun, when you’ve got an afternoon or a weekend, or a whole week in front of your family and you need something to do.

In my dreams, I fantasize about long, unscheduled summer days. I dream about doing nothing in particular, and rolling with the day as it unfolds.

Reality is different. Reality is that if I don’t get the kids up and moving in the morning, the day is shot. The fighting will start about 10, followed by tantrums and general insanity. I’ll be frustrated that we are having fun, nor are we accomplishing any household tasks, and well, things won’t be pleasant.

So I need to have a plan.Here are a few free fun things my family looks forward to every summer.

Sign Up for the Summer Reading Program

Most library systems have a summer reading program. I have fond memories of the the summer reading programs of my youth. I loved going to the library, telling the librarians about the books I read and working toward rewards. Programs are free, and it’s fun to hang out in an air conditioned library on a hot afternoon. Our library system has multiple branches, so I try to bring the kids to different branches throughout the summer, just for fun.

Find Discounted or Free Movies and Bowling in Your Town

Every summer, movie theaters and bowling alleys offer free programs for kids. Again, air conditioning is your friends when it’s 95 degrees outside with 80% humidity. I’m sure many companies run programs, in our town the benefactors are Regal Theaters ($1 movies) and the Kids Bowl Free program.

Look for Splash Parks and Other Ways to Cool Off

Splash parks and splash pads are a great way to cool off without having to actually spend the day at the pool. The water is typically ankle high, which is enough to please the kids, but not be a hassle for the grown ups.

Tour Your Local Playgrounds

Scout out playgrounds that are “new” to your family. Pack some snacks or a picnic lunch and make it a field trip.

What are your favorite summertime activities? How do you remember spending your summer days as a kid?



3 replies on “Looking Forward to Summer Fun”

My town and the neighboring ones are great about organizing small and big camps, classes, workshops for all the kiddies. It used to be summer was the busier season for us with squeezing in all that they offer.

Our town library has excellent programs for kids and adults, including two film series, reading clubs–including “Reading to Rover” for dogs and a beachside reading time. Also the bookstores offer reading hours. There’s a great community board and a rack of parent oriented magazines and papers. Then there’s the ginormous mid summer book sale which also includes music media. People save spaces in line a day ahead of time.

Finally our town is blessed to have a free summer series concert with different themes each day of the week (Tuesday through Sunday) with Wednesdays being family entertainment.

I forgot about the free summer concerts — one of my most favorite summer time things! Pre-kids, it was with vino and girlfriends, post kids, it’s well, the same, but we bring the kids. Usually. I love that they are exposed to quality music, but it’s in an easy setting– they can dance, run around a bit, and not really disturb anyone!

If your town has a Boys & Girls Club check it out! I think it’s usually under $50 for a membership for the whole year, and often clubs have really fun summer programming. I worked at a couple of different clubs during my college days, and we did fun things like Slip & Slide Kickball, dress up days, art projects, Gardening Club, etc. etc. Many clubs also have field trip options for discounted trips to the water slides, baseball games, and the like.

Scholarships are often also available for families on free or reduced lunch or with financial difficulties! There ends my PSA for BGCA, one of my favorite organizations.

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