Summer is a mix of the great - the sun and the fun - and the struggle - an excess of free time and later bed times. Your work schedule hasn't changed but your kids' has and you still want to get into the summer spirit with them.
Here are 10 Ways to hit the ground running by keeping it fresh all summer long:
1. A Picnic - in your backyard
Summer is a great time to start family traditions. This week bring out the blanket and announce that you are having your dinner as a picnic in your backyard or a local park. Make the food picnic themed by adding chocolate chip cookies or cheese and crackers. Voila. Family tradition created!
2. Water Balloon Mania
Kids love water balloons and even more when their parents endorse them. With longer nights, what better pre-bath time fun than a giant family water balloon toss.
3. Walk the Hood
With longer nights, use the extra light to get exercise and family bonding with a post dinner stroll. A walk is great for neighbor bonding and gets the whole family moving together.
4. Ice Cream Sundae Bar
Take your kids to the store and let them pick out the toppings - two fruit options and two non-fruit. Then they help you lay it all out and everyone digs in to the family-made dessert fantasy.
5. A National Park Road Trip
Do your research, find the closest national park and let the family adventures begin. You can choose camping or look at the in park hotel options - most are affordable and clean.
6. A Summer Relay Race
Some friendly family competition can be great for family bonding. If you have four or more family members, split into teams and go old fashioned with potato sack races, egg tosses and a dance party to cap it all off.
7. Bedtime Reading - Under the Stars
One of my kids favorite memories is reading at night under the stars. Cuddled up under a big blanket, my husband would point out constellations to the kids in between pages.
8. The Lemonade Stand
When I was nine years old, my friend and I wrote poems, photocopied them and sold them on the street. Come up with your own version of the lemonade stand and subtly teach your kids some sales skills in the process!
9. A Kite Affair
Nothing says summer more than a kite in the air and a child running behind it. Buy a kite and learn to fly it with the kids - at the beach, in a field or at a park.
10. A Farm Visit
There is no better way to help kids understand where their food comes from than to visit a farm. Whether it is to pick strawberries, meet the farmers or see the cows, summer is a great time to connect your whole family with the soil.