12 (Mostly) Free, Fun, Fanciful Things to Do this Summer


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Ella Fitzgerald sings, Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…” Yet, we know even though summers are supposed to be about “easy livin,’” the long days are packed with kids’ activities. When they aren’t, we tend to hear those dreaded words, “I’m Bored.”

To help you avoid cringing when you hear those words, we’ve put together 12 weeks of ideas so you can respond to, “I’m bored,” with a tried & true list of summertime fun!  



Week 1: Celebrate Summer! 

Fresh out of school, this week (or the week school ends) means it is celebration time! Put a blanket on the grass, mix up a pitcher of lemonade, pop some popcorn, and celebrate another year of learning, done. Whether you are a teacher or a student, talk about how the school year went, then breathe in the warm summer air and relax, you did it! 


Week 2: Plant Plants 

Summer is the time to explore what it means to be a gardener. All you need are seeds, dirt, water, sunshine, and you’re on your way! Teach your littles what it means to tend a garden, and eat the fruits of your labor later in the season. Gardening creates an incredible opportunity for kids to learn where food comes from, how it grows, and how we feel when we eat healthy.  


Week 3: Track Time Outside 

1000 Hours Outside recommends 4-6 hours outside every day for kids. To count the hours, these free, downloadable trackers are a tool kids can use to track their time. The company’s mission is to match outside time with screentime, and summer is the time to encourage kids to love the great outdoors.  


Week 4: Be a Tourist in Your City! 

It’s been a long school year with seemingly endless days of routines. Break out of the rut and go on a tour of your, or a nearby, city! You can tour the city by tour bus, automobile, or for those feeling adventurous rent a scooter or a bike. You can tour a city by foot or for people who use a wheelchair, there are wheelchair accessible paths. Whatever you decide, be prepared to feel the wind in your hair as you breathe in the fresh summer air. Bring a picnic lunch or stop at a street vendor and grab some sustenance. Explore, explore, explore the city that is right under your nose! 


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Week 1: Bake a 4th of July Cake 

Easy and tasty, mix up a yellow or white cake and decorate it like a flag. Most use whipped cream, strawberries, and blueberries to say Happy Birthday, U.S.A.! Kids can measure, stir, bake then taste their delicious, patriotic creation. Here’s a recipe that works every time! 


Week 2: Explore More! 

By the second week of July, summer school is over, and many are ready to travel. Whether “travel” means camping out in a backyard, sleeping at a friend’s house, or going on a road trip, we’ve got a list of 3 destinations you will want to explore!   

Destination A: The Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama is a destination for discovering more about the history of the United States. The museum and memorial was featured in a segment on the CBS Sunday Morning show that showed how attorney Bryan Stevenson convinced the Supreme Court to impose a ban on life sentences for children–and so much more.

Destination B: Hike. No need for fancy gear, just a good pair of shoes, sunblock, water, and you’re on your way! If looking to add intrigue to your adventure, explore, “Trail Games and Hiking Activities for Kids and Adults” from Cool of the Wild will add intrigue to your adventure! 

Destination C: After sitting at a desk or staring at a computer all year, Vitamin N (nature) is needed! Our City, Regional, State and National Parks are breath-taking treasures. The National Park Foundation, provides activity maps, Junior Ranger programs, immersive tours and more, for kids of all ages!  


Week 3: What if it rains? 

Rainy days take away our options—which can be a relief. No more pressure to go outdoors and have fun, you’re off the hook! Instead, hunker down and study a weather map and learn about the 10 different types of clouds. Other rainy-day ideas are building a fort, watching a movie, cleaning a closet, taking a nap—or all 4. Glorious!  


Week 4: Read (of course!) 

Whether on the grass, at the beach, or cozied up on a couch, books teach us we are not alone in our life experiences. For a list of books for learning, relaxing, and that will carry the reader away, check out, “Top Picks to Keep Littles, Middles, and the Rest Reading this Summer,” from the Learners Edge Chalk Blog, or the New York Times’ Bestsellers List.  


July (1)

Week 1: Tie Dye 

You will “feed two birds with one seed,” when you update your wardrobe (wear your tie dye on the first day of school!) and stay cool at the same time using the water tie dye requires! This short video demonstrates the steps for a successful tie dye experience.  


Week 2: Go Ice Skating 

You may be thinking, “There is no skating in August,” but think again! As we all know, August can be a sultry part of the summer, so why not head to an indoor skating rink to cool off!? Don’t own skates? Ask a friend to lend you a pair or rent skates for between $2-$10 at community center rinks. 


Week 3: Support a Local Farmers’ Market 

The word that comes to mind when thinking of shopping at Farmers’ Markets is yum! Arrive in the cool of the morning, coffee in hand (or pick one up at the market) and listen as a local musician serenades your selections of fresh berries, breads, veggies, plants, and meats. August will impress you with its bounty! 


Week 4: Get Ready to Roll! 

Watch for end-of-summer and back-to-school, garage and yard sales as you prepare to get back into the school year routine. If you’re feeling thrifty, explore local clothing recycle stores like the Goodwill and Savers, to see what you can find, or search for local vintage and secondhand stores in your area. The fun is in the hunt, and it’s good for the earth too! 


Summers fly by fast. Enjoy exploring, resting, and like Ella sings, “livin’ easythis summer! 


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Natasha M. McKnight

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