Friday, June 16, 2017

7 Ideas for Summer Fun




Elizabeth (age 4) came running inside the other day to tell me, "MOM! There's a whole FIELD of hawkweed! Come see!!!" 

Hawkweed is a wildflower that looks a lot like a dandelion, only with a longer, sturdier stem.

She grabbed me by the hand and dragged me out to an area of the yard that hadn't been mowed in a while, and she was right! The scraggly section of yard full of weeds had turned overnight into a treasure trove of wildflowers.



It's one of our very favorite things to do together during the spring and summer - take walks and identify the new wildflowers around us, making bouquets out of our favorites (only at home - we never pick flowers when we're at a park). And because I'm always looking for more ideas to add a little excitement and adventure to our lazy summer days, I'll give you a list of our favorites.
1. Visit a local arboretum/botanical garden/park (or your own back yard!) and learn about the different flowers and trees that might be new to you. There's so much blooming at different times of the year that you could go to the same place every week and see different flowers every time you go! For extra fun, plant some wildflowers in your yard, or just some hardy annuals (zinnias are very forgiving), so that you can watch the whole process from seed to bloom.


2. Go fruit picking! There's always something ready for harvesting where we live - right now our plums are ripe, a few weeks ago it was nonstop cherries. Picking local fruit means you'll get the freshest, most delicious product possible, plus you'll be supporting local farmers!  


3. Give the kids raw materials and see what inspires them! An old tire, a sturdy rope, a piece of scrap lumber, a bucket and string... It's amazing what they come up with, just given open-ended tools. The current favorite activity at our house is climbing the plum tree and jumping off while hanging on to a rope the kids tied around a nice thick branch. I wonder what they'd come up with given more rope?



4. Learn a new game. I bet you have friends you can swap board games with! Sometimes it's just too hot for any outdoor fun, and we need a little indoor downtime. 


5. Up your music game! Pick up a new instrument, learn some new songs as a family, get together with some friends just to sing - with all your summer down time, this is the perfect opportunity to add a little more music into your lives.


6. Try a new food! Check out your local farmer's market for inspiration and the freshest ingredients, or grow something in your garden that you've never tried before. Grab some cookbooks from the library and try out new recipes with each other - you might find a new family favorite! This year we're trying to add more greens to our diets, so we've been eating lots of kale, beet greens, swiss chard, and other leafy greens. Most of them have been a hit with the kids!


7. Treat liberally! I'm more laid-back during the summer, and happier to give the kids little treats because they're outdoors so much (and thus not making messes indoors!). 

I love being able to give them some extra treats to keep them hydrated - water bottles, popsicles, and sometimes special juice drinks. Juice boxes and pouches KILL ME though, because we end up with straw wrappers all over the place, juice spilled everywhere when they try (and fail) to get the straw into the box, and then more juice spilled when they grab the pouch or box around the middle once they have the straw in. I seriously doubt they get to drink more than a few sips after all this! 


I love that Fruit Shoot totally eliminates these issues, and they don't have to drink it all in one sitting. There are so many flavors available (several with no sugar added!) that the kids can always have different colors for easy identification, and the resealable top means they can take it with them on their adventures without spilling it on the way. It's been a huge hit in the UK since 2000, and now it's more widely available in the US. Do you have a retailer near you that sells it? We grabbed ours at a convenience store that also sells donuts - it was a big treat day here!

Linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes - check out her post for more bloggers sharing their Friday takes! Do you have any summer musts that you want to share? Let me know in the comments! 
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