Tag Archives: activities

Summer Break Activities for the Whole Family

Summer is just around the corner which means most of us are going to be looking for some activities that are enjoyable for the entire family. As a mother of two young children (ages 6 and 1), I know how difficult it is to find things that our family can do and everyone enjoy themselves. Obviously, when we are looking for family activities, our focus is on finding activities that our children will enjoy but that doesn’t mean that we (the adults) don’t want to have fun either, right? Below are some ideas for summer break activities that your entire family can enjoy.


  • The Beach – If you live within a few hours of a beach, then plan a day to take the family. There is just something about a family beach day that puts everyone in a good mood. Maybe I am a little biased as my family didn’t live close to a beach, which has made me come to realize just how awesome beaches and the ocean are. My family loves spending a day together lounging around on the beach. We suntan (well I try when the dad and the boys are busy playing), wade along the shoreline, build sandcastles, play Frisbee and a number of other things. It’s a fun, relaxing and inexpensive way to spend the day together as a family
  • Aquarium – In many states, the summer heat can really play a toll on people, making it almost impossible to get outside in the middle of the day when temperatures have skyrocketed. Days like these are perfect for family trips to the aquarium. My children love visiting the aquarium as they enjoy watching and learning about marine life. My oldest son is at the age where he is fascinated with sharks so a trip to the aquarium always gets him excited
  • State Parks – Visiting state parks together can make for fun family outings during the slow, summer days. We haven’t taken our youngest son yet, but when we have gone in the past with our oldest son, we would go in the morning before the temperatures get too unbearable. Usually we would bring a picnic basket along with us stocked full of sandwiches, fruit and water so we could enjoy our lunch outdoors before heading home. Our oldest has always enjoyed these excursions because he likes to get out and explore. Again, visiting a state park is another inexpensive activity that families can enjoy together. (Just a FYI: If you live in Texas or will be visiting and have young kids, try to visit the Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, TX!
  • Fishing – If you haven’t ever taken the family fishing before, it is definitely a unique experience that everyone will remember. This is an activity that will require a little planning ahead as you probably need to get a fishing license from the state for you and your family members, but once that is done, you’re all set. (Assuming you have the rods and tackle.) Plan to leave in the morning when it is cool so you can be packing up and heading back home before the heat gets bad. Usually, we only spend a few hours fishing when we go and that’s plenty. It’s an activity that we all enjoy doing together. Now that our youngest is walking he will get to join in on the fun. He’ll probably play in the riverbank and with the rocks, mud, etc. but it will still be fun for him!

Hopefully the ideas listed above have given you some new summer family activity ideas that you and your kids will enjoy doing together! What are some of your favorite summer activities to do as a family?

Gearing Up for Summer: Fun Activities for the Kids

As we’ve rounded the corner of winter and are headed straight for spring, it’s time for us to start thinking about summer activities for the kids again. Summertime is a fun time for kids as they enjoy being out of school during the days and getting to spend their time doing whatever they feel like doing (and that mom and dad approve of). However, for parents, summer break can be a little bit stressful and many parents work and aren’t able to be home with their kids during those long summer days.

And, then there are also the parents who are fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with their kids. They too feel the strain of summer break as the days seem to drag on and on as summer rolls on by. The days can go by extremely slow when the kids aren’t involved in any summer activities. Therefore, pre-planning a few summer activities for your kids can be very beneficial for both you and your children! Below are a few fun summer activities that your kids may enjoy.

  • Horseback Riding Lessons: Learning how to ride a horse is not something everyone gets to do, making it a privilege for those who have the opportunity. If there is a nearby horse facility that offers horseback riding lessons during the summer, then this may be the perfect summer activity for your child. And, who knows, maybe it will be something they will want to pursue further! Regardless of whether it’s just a one-summer thing or turns into a passion for your child, horseback riding is an experience they won’t forget.
  • Swim Camp: We have all heard about traditional summer camps, but what about a summer camp that’s for kids who love to swim? If you have a child who knows how to swim and enjoys the sport of swimming, then consider enrolling him/her in a summer swim camp. This will be a great way for them to get some much needed exercise while perfecting a skill that they love. It’s also perfect for those who are considering competitive swimming!
  • Summer Art Camp: If you have a child who enjoys art, regardless of whether its oil painting, filmmaking, dance, acting, etc., then a summer art camp should definitely be considered. Even if your child doesn’t have a particular area of interest, but enjoys art and the freedom to explore his/her imagination, then art camp is most likely something that he/she will enjoy.

There are so many summer activities for kids to participate in that it’s unreal. The three listed above don’t even begin to scratch the surface. These types of activities are beneficial for kids to do over the summer because it keeps them busy and out of trouble, keeps them thinking and their creative juices flowing, helps them make new friends and can also aid in exercise (depending on what type of activity they participate in).

Did you have any favorite summer activities that you enjoyed as a child?

Preparing for Summer Break

I’m still in shock that we just finished up spring break. I mean, it seems like we just started the school year and here we are a little over a month away before school lets out for the summer! Time just seems to fly by faster with each passing year for me.

While I am very blessed to have a job that allows me to spend most of my time at home with the kids, summer breaks can get long for the kids and I both if I’m not adequately prepared for the 12-week break. For instance, last year, I wasn’t quite prepared for the break and about four days into summer break my son asked when he was going to get to go back to school.

Since I don’t want a repeat of last year, I have created this to-do list for preparing for summer break to help ensure that the kids and I both enjoy the entire summer break!

  • Shop the dollar stores. My kids are both young enough that they are still easily entertained with the cheap/silly toys found at the dollar stores. The dollar stores have lots of great toys for parents to whip out when the kids come and say, “mom, I’m bored.” Hula hoops, puzzles, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, etc. are just some of the treasures you can find here – and the best part is that they are all affordable!
  • Book summer activities. One of the best things that I managed to do last year for my school-aged son was enroll him in a couple of week-long summer (day) camps. He participated in two art camps and a science camp. One of the camps was a half-day (from 8am until 11:30am) and the other two were all day camps (8am-4:30pm). Not only did he really enjoy himself, make new friends and learn new things, but I was able to get quite a bit done around the house that I am not able to do when I’ve got the boys with me all day. While summer camps are great activities to send your kids to a couple times throughout the summer, they are not the only summer activities that are activities that require a little planning. Things like swimming lessons, t-ball, a trip to the zoo, etc. are all fun summer activities that are best planned (“booked”) in advance because they give everyone something to look forward too.
  • Make plans for play dates. Get in contact with friends who have children the around the same age as your kids and make plans to schedule play dates throughout the summer. They don’t necessarily have to be every week, but every other week is good for both the kids and you as you will get a little “adult” social time in too. You may even be able to switch off hosting play dates with a friend or two so that the kids can play while the non-hosting parent gets a few hours to run errands in solitude (aka: peace).
  • Create a chore chart. This is one that I am for sure doing this summer. My son is old enough to know that things cost money and he has no problem asking me to buy him stuff when we are at the store. Well, guess what? He’s also old enough to help out around the house and learn what it means to earn his spending money. This year, I am creating a chore chart that will be ready to go on the first day of summer break. My son will have a list of chores that he is responsible for every day. When he completes a chore, he will be able to put a sticker in the box next to the chore that he completed. At the end of the week we will count how many chores he did that week and he will get paid for those chores. Now, these chores will be the “special” chores that are not part of the routine responsibilities he has (making his bed, picking up his toys, brushing teeth, etc.). I’m thinking about chores like emptying the trashes and setting the trash by the road on trash day, unloading the dishwasher, folding a load of towels, etc. Not only do chores help teach kids about responsibility and earning money, but they also help keep them busy too.
  • Prepare “school” work. No, I’m not a drill sergeant mom, but I am one who plans on giving my son a little bit of school work to do throughout the summer. He will be going to 1st grade next year and one of the most important things I can help him work/improve on is his reading. We will continue to read one book a day Monday thru Friday, as well as, work on sight words, writing and math. You can purchase age-appropriate workbooks for math, reading and writing at most bookstores or online. One or two worksheets a day isn’t anything to extraordinary to expect from the kids throughout the summer.

Hopefully the “to-do” list above has given you some ideas for how you can prepare for the 12-week summer break that’s quickly approaching. Do you have any additional ideas to help us get ready?

Outdoor Features for Kids

With spring and summer right around the corner, many people are beginning to think about what outdoor yard projects they need to put on the “to-do” list. My husband and I are included in this group of people as we have a pretty bare yard that needs a lot of TLC in order to fulfill our family’s needs and dreams.

As many of you know, we built our house just a couple of years ago and having the yard sodded was not an option as our front yard is roughly 10,000 sq. feet with the back yard about three-fourths the size of the front. Therefore, the past two springs and summer we have focused on killing the weeds while improving the grass. We also completed a landscaping project last fall as we put in our own stone-lined flower beds in the front.

While we are still looking for ways to improve the overall appearance of our yard, we are more focused on finding some fun outdoor features for the kids this year. Having a few outdoor activities for the kids will encourage them to find things to do outside during the warm weather instead of sitting inside watching the television. Below are a few outdoor features we are considering for our kiddos. Maybe they will give you some fresh ideas for what you can add to your backyard for the kids to enjoy this year!

  • Jungle Gym/Monkey Bars: As a child I can remember spending hours outside playing on the monkey bars that my parents had for us in our backyard. While I thought I was having a blast swinging from bar to bar, I was also getting some much needed exercise in. A jungle gym/monkey bar set is a great thing to add to your backyard as kids can swing, climb, flip on it all spring/summer long!
  • ATV: I understand this is not something everyone wants to have for the kiddos to play with, but we are strongly considering one for our oldest son (6) as we have 2.5 acres of land and most of the neighbor kids have one. Of course, we will be purchasing one that has a speed control and the automatic off option if the child falls off and he will be wearing a helmet. My husband grew up with four wheelers so this is something he feels like our boys will thoroughly enjoy. If you have the space available, it may be something your kids will enjoy too. 
  • Tetherball and Basketball: For some reason kids of all ages enjoy playing tetherball and basketball, making these two very easy outdoor activities to add for your kids, especially if there are other kids in the area. They are both outdoor features that your kids will enjoy for years to come!

So, what are some of the outdoor activities that your children enjoy? Are you going to be adding any outdoor features this spring/summer? If so, what will you be adding?

Attending Summer Activities with Toddlers

We did t-ball last year, but this year it is going to be just a little different for our family. The big difference is that our youngest is now a toddler whereas last year he wasn’t fully mobile. He was perfectly happy sitting on a blanket or on our lap for the duration of the practices and games. This is definitely not going to be the case this year.

After a couple of weeks of practices, I’ve finally figured out a few tricks for how to survive these events with a toddler in tow. I’m sure as we work our way throughout the summer, I will acquire a few more tips for my “tool bag,” but these are what I have so far. If you have toddler that you will be toting around for your older kids’ activities this summer, feel free to give a few of these a try!

  • Bring a variety of snacks. Toddlers burn a lot of energy, especially once they really start getting around good. While it can be a little tiring digging for the snacks, when you are at summer activities, these snacks serve two purposes: 1) they re-energize the kiddos and, 2) they take up time. Getting toddlers to slow down is definitely a game and providing them with a variety of snacks is a good way to do it. This is especially true when you pull them out at different times throughout the event
  • Go for a walk. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to get a toddler to sit still, nothing works. This is when I take the little one for a walk. If we are at t-ball practice, we walk around the edges of the field where I can still see what’s going on and how big brother is doing, yet little brother has enough space to explore. When the little guy gets irritable and he’s fed up with sitting still, a change of scenery usually does the trick
  • Bring “special” toys. Recently, I went to the Family Dollar store in search of some small, inexpensive toys that would hold my toddler’s interest when attending his brother’s summer activities. These toys are our “special” toys, meaning that they stay in a box in the back of my SUV and only get to be played with at his bubba’s activities. This keeps the toys interesting and easily helps me keep him distracted for about 15-20 minutes.

Do you have, or have you had, a toddler that you’ve had to take to an older sibling’s activities? Do you have any additional tips for surviving these events with a toddler? If so, please share!