Summer is here. Now what to do with your kids when they are not in camp or shipped off to grandma’s house? Many parents find themselves ripping their hair out or pulling their kids off each other by the third week of summer vacation. Sound familiar?
If you’re like me, aside from family vacation, short trips and occasional day camps, I try not to over-schedule my family over the summer. I think most of us are forced to keep a tight schedule throughout the school year, so we owe it to ourselves to break the cycle and relax.
So how do we fill the down-time? Many local activities are actually fun and affordable. Far too often we overlook the simpler things that children find entertaining. Here are some ideas my family came up with to try this summer:
Go out and explore new bike and walking trails outside of your neighborhood. There are so many to choose from in the DMV. For example, the 11-mile Capital Crescent Trail follows the route of the Georgetown Branch rail line of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. It begins in Silver Spring, MD, east of the Rock Creek Trestle and curves westward and south through Maryland into D.C., ending in the heart of historic Georgetown.
Visit a few splash parks, like Cameron Run Recreational Park in Alexandria and South Germantown Splash Park and Mini Golf. Both are inexpensive options to keep you cool and active on a hot summer day. They even offer picnic tables so you can pack your own lunch.
We love to camp, but since this summer we can’t make it to a campground, we plan to camp in our own backyard. Just set up a tent and fire-pit, lay out some lawn chairs, roast marshmallows and share ghost stories. The best part of this plan is easy access to a clean bathroom and running water! My kids cannot wait for us to set up our backyard campground.
Another summer staple we enjoy is a good water balloon fight. What kid doesn’t like water balloons? It will keep your children entertained and cool for endless hours.
What’s summer without spending hours outside ‘til the streets lights come on? Gather the neighborhood kids for a kickball, dodge ball and tug-of-war tournament, then end it with an ice cream social. Winners get first dib on the toppings!
These are just a few ideas my family came up with this summer, and luckily they all include my favorite things: Flip-flops, sunshine and my kids.
If your family is looking for outings and new adventures, or planning for camps or school-year activities, check out our Best for FAMILIES winners in this issue. You’re sure to find a new venue to check out or handy resource among the winners.
However your family will spend the summer, remember that every season has its own story, so make yours a novel. Put your phone away for a few days, make some memories, get wet and remember that sunshine is the best medicine!
Washington FAMILY Magazine