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Family Matters

9 Memorable Summer Activities

June 29th, 2012

These fun ideas will let you embrace your inner child and make this summer one everyone remembers!

By: Josey Miller

Summer is the time to be more laid back, let go of some rigidity and embrace you're inner child - even if you'll be working all day. Not to lay on a guilt trip, but these are often the days kids remember about their childhoods - and of you. So let loose and show them that you're not all about rules, grades and vegetables. Here are 9 ideas for giving your kids a summer they'll remember forever.

1. "Backwards Dinner"

Entree, then dessert? That's so, well, normal. Pick a weeknight when your family can flip dinner on its head: Dessert first! If the parent in you doesn't approve, use the same rationalization that has been known to help you polish off a strawberry shortcake or -- now we're talkin' -- a banana split: Opt for a dessert with fruit in it, and, voila, it's "healthy." (Just go with it. It's only one day!)

2. Flashback Movie Night

Have your kids seen E.T.? The Princess Bride? Goonies? Pick a favorite flick that's age-appropriate, and get the popcorn started. Bonus points if you can get your hands on some nostalgic movie theater candy like Jujubes, Dots, Sno-Caps, Red Vines, or Sugar Babies. An even better idea? Rent a projector and host an outdoor movie on a hanging bedsheet. Cuddle under blankets and watch from your yard.

3. Wiffle Ball Game

Invite some neighbors over and play ball! The wiffle ball is designed so it can't travel too far, and that means retrieving fewer foul balls from the roof of your house. Be sure to establish yourself as the umpire and set the rules in advance -- what counts as a single, double, triple, and homer -- to prevent arguments at the plate.

4. Play Hooky

Even if it's technically called a "vacation day," take one day off from work and spend quality time with each child. This might mean keeping your nanny - or hiring a babysitter (for the SAHMs) - for your other child(ren), but create one day where one kid gets all your attention - and gets to choose what he wants to do: beach, sprinkler park, Chuck E. Cheese. Make sure each child gets this special time. And if both parents can take the time off, even better!

5. Bike Riding

Dust off your bicycles and helmets; you're going for a bike ride! Whether it's a ride over to your local park for a picnic dinner, or heading to a bike trail with the whole family, get the wheels in motion! Note: this might take proper planning with a toddler bike seat, comfort on training wheels and helmet fitting, but making a day of it, might become regular group exercise.

6. Lemonade Stand

A card table. A sign. Some cups and a pitcher of Countrytime. Now all you need... some customers! Childhood isn't complete without working a lemonade stand (and the experience of parenthood isn't complete without watching your kids charge a quarter for a cup). They'll learn about counting, even sales and marketing. And you earn some serious bonus points if at least a portion of those quarters goes to your family's favorite charity. We'll drink to that.

7. Backyard Water Park

Ever heard of Water Wednesdays? Neither did we - until right now. But how fun would it be to turn your backyard into a water park one day a week? Get a few slip and slides, kiddie pools and sprinklers to create a water-filled adventure park. Just make sure to follow proper water safety procedures.

8. Summer Olympics

The Olympic games don't have to only happen in London this year. Set up outdoor bowling, "fishing" (using a kiddie pool with magnetic animals and rod), relay races, bean bag toss, horseshoes and any other outdoor games you can create. Be sure to give gold, silver and bronze medals at the end!

9. Backyard Camp-out

There might not be a campfire, and the s'mores might come from the grill, but eating and sleeping in your own backyard will be a huge thrill for your kids. Put sleeping bags on your deck or pitch a tent on the lawn. Bring a star-finding guide, kid-friendly ghost stories and some flashlights. No matter what, there will be a story at the end of this memory-making experience!

Josey Miller is a contributor at


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