When I went into a shoe shop last weekend, it was full of families getting their kids measured for back-to-school shoes. A sure sign that the sunny days of summer are drawing to a close and soon it’ll be time to start the new school year.
But don’t start packing away the toys and games just yet. With a couple of weeks of the summer left, have you checked all these fun activities off your end of summer bucket list?
Out and about
Be a tour guide for the day
It probably feels like you’ve been to all the cool places and attractions in your neighborhood or town a million times. But how about making them seem new again by taking a friend or family member on a magical mystery tour? It could be a milkshake-themed tour of all the best diners or something as simple as taking Grandpa for a walk to visit your favorite trees. You could design or draw a map to show the route or keep the locations a secret to add to the suspense.
Watch a sports game
Whether you’re a lifelong fan or you’ve never been to see sport played live before, catching a game can be a great way to round out the summer break. To make things more interesting, switch it up by going to see a new team play, watch a sport you’ve never seen before or go with a new friend.
Set off on a scavenger hunt
Kids love turning detective and checking off clues to win a prize. But planning out such an in-depth activity can take time your just haven’t got at the end of the summer. That’s where Pinterest comes in. There are so many ideas and printable sheets, you’ll have enough to go scavenger hunting every day until Christmas!
Help at a community clean up
Picking up trash doesn’t sound like many people’s idea of a good time. But kids can get really fired up about helping make open spaces, rivers and oceans safer for wildlife and the whole community. If you’ve got a budding conservationist in your family, it’s best to join an organized group so you can be sure on safety and that you’ll be making an impact in the best places. Check out the Ocean Conservancy’s interactive map to find clean ups all over the world or search for ‘community clean ups’ plus your town name on social media to see what’s happening near you.
Have another picnic
Eating outdoors may seem like a really obvious end of summer activity, but that’s only because it’s the time of year when it’s easy to do! If you live in the part of the world where winters keep you cooped up indoors, it’s time to make the most of that wonderful feeling of eating al fresco while you can. Capture some snaps and you’ll be able to look back on the lovely memories to warm you up when the weather turns cold.
Listen to live music outdoors
You don’t have to head to one of the huge summer festivals to catch some live music in the sunshine. Summer shows, village fetes, free concerts and buskers by the beach are all great ways of filling up on the fun of hearing real music played by real musicians under a real blue sky.
Have fun at home
Play summer backyard games
By the time the end of summer rolls around, budget options for keeping the kids amused are always welcome. Save your plastic bottles and transform them into skittles for a game or two of bottle bowling. Pick up some chunky chalks and draw big pictures or a checkers board on the patio. Mix up some muddy treats with old bowls and cups to create mud pies. Or get the super soakers and water balloons out for a good old-fashioned water fight.
Make space and money
The end of summer is a great excuse to clear out some of your kids’ old toys or clothes and get them earning some pocket money at the same time. They could set up a stall for a yard sale or help you out at a local car boot sale. If you grow your own fruit and veggies, sometimes you get more than you know what to do with. Why not use some to make tasty treats to sell or share with friends and family?
Create your own popsicles
When the weather’s hot, nothing beats cooling down with an ice-cold popsicle. Making your own adds to the fun as you can play around with flavors and colors, finding your own unique favorites. Would you go for chocolate peanut butter or something fruitier? Check out the crazy amount of popsicle recipes on Pinterest.
Fill up a treasure box or scrap book
When so much of how our kids experience the world is digital, it can be super special for them to create something they can hold onto and put away in a drawer to look at from time to time. Decorate a spare small box and add a date label. Fill it with drawings, tickets, objects and anything else that reminds you of your wonderful summer together. If you don’t want it taking up too much space, make a scrapbook instead.
Cook up a summer feast
Most of the time we want to encourage our kids to eat healthily. But during the last few precious days of summer, wouldn’t it be fun to break the rules? Plan a special summer feast with your kids to celebrate. Have them plan the menu and decorate the table however they like. They might choose all their favorite foods or go with a theme. They might pretend they’re running a restaurant for the night. Get them involved with cooking and clearing up afterwards too so it doesn’t turn into just another big task for you!
Soon enough the routines and timetables of everyday life will kick back in. Give your kids a chance to just sit in the backyard staring at the sky. And if they find it hard to switch off from devices or scheduled activities, you might need to suggest some ways to lull them into daydreaming. Spot shapes in the clouds as they drift by. Listen to all the noises you can hear in your neighborhood. Pick a small square of grass and see how many bugs you can find nestling there.
Capture the magic
Summer holidays often feel like they go on forever and it’s easy to find yourself counting down the days until the kids go back to school so you can take a well-deserved breath. But it won’t be long before you’re looking back fondly on these days and wondering where the time went.
I recently heard a saying about childhood – “the days go slow, but the years go fast.” Before you know it, your kids won’t want to hang out with you anymore during the summer break! So, be sure to capture plenty of photos and videos over the summer. You could get the whole family together for a garden photo shoot. Host a fun fashion show where the kids design the outfits, star in the show and take photos. Or set the kids the task of creating a photo or video journal of a day in their life. You’ll never regret capturing photos so you can remember the magic in years to come.
For more tips on fun family activities, check out some of our other posts: