As your children get older, it becomes harder and harder to keep everybody together over the summer break. One or both parents may be working most of the time, and your kids might now be teenagers who are too cool to hang out with you. Of course, you should be encouraging your youngsters to have fun with their friends, but that doesn’t mean the family can’t still get together and do things. However old your kids may be, a family is a family. This helpful guide might just give both parents and children some inspirational ideas as to how they can do things together this summer.
Set a weekly challenge.
The best way to keep the family on their toes this summer, and to avoid bored children or teenagers, is to set a weekly challenge for all of you to do something together. The best part of this is that it doesn’t have to be a costly activity (especially as it’ll be a weekly affair). Turn it into an ongoing competition of challenges and games; as long as there are no major arguments and tears then it’ll be fun to create a leaderboard and see who wins overall at the end of the summer. You could play games of darts, pool, cards – you could even a game of “who can clean the clothes most effectively?” if you want to take a break from doing all the washing this summer. It’s not a chore if it’s part of a game; that’s what you can tell your kids.
Get involved with what your kids are doing.
Play this one carefully, as you don’t want to be the annoying parent who’s always butting in on your kids’ play time. Get involved naturally if they’re playing a game or doing something that invites the opportunity for extra participants. If they’re having a water fight on the street, for example, then there’s no reason as to why you couldn’t subtly insert yourself into the game by throwing a water balloon at them from the safety of your bedroom window. They’ll be begging for you to get involved then, just so they can have their revenge. Or you could simply watch TV with them if you want to get involved in a less extreme manner.
Get out into the garden.
Money can sometimes be a problem over summer. There’s so much that you want to do every day with the family, but you need to work to afford those things because summer seems to be so expensive. What isn’t expensive, however, is enjoying the sun from the comfort of your own garden. When it comes to having a great time as a family, nothing beats the simple pleasures of relaxing in the garden. Whether you want to relax on the lounger whilst your kids run around with water pistols or you’d like to get in on the fun, it’s a great way to keep the family together. You’ll all see eye to eye when the ice cream van shows up, at least.
Sprucing up your outdoor zone is always a great way to incentivize the family to get out there and have fun. That doesn’t just mean a spot of gardening; your kids likely aren’t interested in pretty flowerbeds and well-mown lawns, especially if they have allergies. The key is to turn your garden into a cozy addition to your home. Maybe you could add some comfy seating and a swish new BBQ to the patio area to encourage the family to all get together for some summer evening barbeques. You could even go one step further and look at options such an Intex pure spa inflatable hot tub for activities to do in the garden during the day; go further than the slip ‘n’ slide this year. Of course, a simple basketball hoop might be enough to get everyone out in the garden on a hot day; it all depends on your family.
Go on vacation.
This is the suggestion you were waiting for but the one that you might already have considered a thousand times. Perhaps money is holding you back from making a decision, or perhaps a lack of agreement amongst the members of your family as to where you’d all like to go is holding you back from making a decision. Jetting off to a sunny beach somewhere in Europe isn’t the only option available to you, however. Vacations come in all shapes and sizes. The core element of a successful vacation is simply one in which everybody is happy; everybody in the family needs their individual view heard.
Perhaps you already live in a sunny state or the next state over is sunny; in which case, there’s nothing stopping you from simply heading off on a drive for a couple of hours and taking a holiday along the coast. You’ll save money, you’ll get the sun and the beach, and everybody’s happy. Finding a good mix of sun and sightseeing is important if members of your family prefer the two different kinds of vacations. You can have a lazy day on the beach and then an action-packed day in the local town or city; rinse and repeat. Being a family is all about compromising and making sure everybody is heard. Find something that everyone wants to do on this vacation. As long as you do that then it doesn’t matter where you go.
Try something new as a family.
Summer is a great chance to try new things. You have a lot of free time on your hands (or your kids do, at least, even if you’re working), and that means plenty of time to learn things, see things, and do things that you wouldn’t normally have time to do or be able to do at any other point during the year. You could start by teaching your children a brand new hobby or life skill, but make it fun and exciting (they’ve just got out of school, and they don’t want to feel as if they’re returned to it). You could cook a meal together, grow vegetables in the garden, or even wash the car together and let it naturally turn into a water fight.
Of course, there’s room for everybody in the family to learn and try new things; that includes you as the parents. You could all take a class together in something which might be strange and foreign to all of you; pottery, for example. If a certain class or activity proves too boring for the family then you can move onto the next adventure. You don’t want to get stuck doing any one thing over summer.
Cut the ties with tech.
Technology is a wonderful thing but only in moderation. The younger generation and older generation alike are both guilty of gluing themselves to their screens rather than looking at the world around them. This feels almost like a crime during summertime; the sun is out, and there’s so much to do in the real world. There’s so much to do outside of an electronic screen.
Encourage your kids to cut the ties with technology and limit their usage of their devices during summer. Encourage them to come out on a walk with you. It’s good for them to ease off on the constant stimulation and enjoy something which seems “boring” on the surface because it’s just nature and not the internet. Over summer, the more you take your kids off on back-to-basics adventures, the more they might find that they actually enjoy the outdoors just as much as their technology but in a completely different way.
This is the pinnacle of family activities. There’s something simultaneously cozy and adventurous about camping. You can explore the great unknown but do so in a snug little tent, eat marshmallows around a fire with your loved ones, and tell scary ghost stories. Of course, if you’ve already blown a good portion of the family’s summer fund on endless activities and vacations then you might not have enough money to afford another trip away. The beauty about camping, however, is that you only need a tent to do it. You could camp near to home or even camp in your backyard. You’ll be right next to home in case you need any emergency supplies, the campsite is free because you own it, and you probably don’t have to worry about wild animals (other than a few squirrels, perhaps).
The final suggestion on this list is a classic family favorite which is always guaranteed to go down a treat. Hitting your local zoo (or even a zoo you’ve never visited before) is a great way to keep the whole family happy. Everybody has a certain animal that they love, and there are plenty of snack stands to keep the family content and their bellies stuffed to the brim. When it comes to keeping the family together over summer with an activity that the kids don’t find boring (or the parents, for that matter), the zoo is the perfect solution.