Summer is just around the corner. Despite single digit temperatures here in DC, I swear the last day of school and lazy summer days will be here in a flash, so it’s time to start thinking about how to best spend those 10 to 12 weeks of freedom with your kids. As you begin to plot out some ideas, take a look at my eight things that I believe every family should do this summer (or at least consider):
1. Take a Road Trip: Whether for a weekend or a couple of weeks, hit the open road with your kids. My friend Rebecca at R We There Yet Mom? spent three weeks last summer traveling from Texas to California with her family. The photos were amazing and she made incredible family memories. I’m already starting to plan my own two-week road trip that will include Chicago and St. Louis. Excited!
2. Try a Home Exchange: We did our first home swap last summer when we went to Ireland for three weeks. This was a great way to save money and enabled us to spend more time exploring the country than we would have been able to do staying in hotels. We’re currently arranging a home exchange now with a family in Montreal, Canada. Take a look at my post, 5 Tips to Nab the Perfect Family Home Swap.
3. Take a Family Hike: You don’t need to go far to find a state or national park to explore on foot. Hiking as a family is a great way to enjoy nature and take a break from iPods for a while. Add the free Alltrails app to your phone to quickly locate nearby hiking trails for your family. Also, check out this post I wrote on ways to ensure a perfect morning hike with kids.
4. Go Camping: I can’t lie, I am not a camper. Fortunately, lots of campgrounds have cabins with beds, bathrooms and microwaves. We stayed in deluxe cabins at several KOAs two summers ago and had the best time. They also have plenty of space to pitch a tent too. It’s a great way to get back to nature while your kids run around the campgrounds with all the other camping children.
5. Do a Service Project: Whether you want to have a family beach clean-up or write letters to soldiers overseas, take some time to do a service project with your kids. This is a great way to give back as a family over the summer. The book, Doing Good Together, has lots of great ideas to help you get started.
6. Enjoy a Free Family Fun Day: Plan a “free day” and only do activities that are free, like parks, outdoor concerts and riding bikes. Do a quick Google search for “free things to do” and the name of your city or the city you plan to visit. You’ll be surprised by home many fun, free events and attractions you find. I also share free activities here at Kidventurous.
7. Create a Summer Journal or Scrapbook: Have your child personalize an empty journal or scrapbook with stickers and decorations. Then, encourage your kids to update the pages every few days with maps for destinations, museum brochures, souvenirs, snapshots, and a few paragraphs on what you did throughout the summer, even if you were at home on a staycation.
8. Visit a Funky Roadside Attraction: When I lived in Atlanta and traveled home to DC, I don’t know how many times I drove by the Peachoid Water Tower in Gaffney, SC. This year, we’re stopping for a few hours at South of the Border on our way to Atlanta for a wedding in June. For more fun roadside attractions, check out RoadsideAmerica.com.
For more must-do summer family activities, take a look at my free ebook: 100 Activities to Do as a Family this Summer. I swear, summer is just around the corner.