Looking for ideas on how to keep your children busy this summer? Looking for extravagance or something that costs close to nothing? Looking for something sentimental? Or something that just gets you out of the house?
Here's a list of my top five hopes and dreams for my daughter this summer ... consider it my travel bucket list for the family!
#5. Go for a ride. You don't really have to go anywhere specific, but your local parks, playgrounds, pretty much anywhere that isn't home - that's the best way to get yourself going and take a mini-escape, or as they're now being called? A stay-cation! We have a Jeep, and all we need to do is take the top down and hit the road and she's thrilled with driving through wooded areas, or just some bumpy roads. Even the nearest playground becomes an adventure when we take the long way there, and with any luck taking the long way home will knock them right out!
#4. Get thee to the beach. It's almost always free, it's probably not THAT far away, and it's instant entertainment. Whether your little ones are swim-savvy or just prefer to run along the edge of the ocean, you are sure to find yourselves busy and having a blast. Pack up a blanket (chairs if YOU really need them, but don't expect to actually sit in yours!), a few bottles of water, some sunscreen and your hats. Flip-flops and two-piece bathing suits for quick changes and potty breaks are perfect beach wear, and be sure to have some clean towels in your trunk at all times. The first time we took my daughter to the beach was a few years ago on our way home from the aquarium. It was quite a drive, and so just passing by the water was not acceptable for us. She loved it, and so did we. You will, too! There's nothing like watching your child first experience sand between her toes.
#3. Go to a farm. Whether you head off to pick berries (strawberries are a personal favorite around here), go for a hay ride or find a local place that lets your lil ones play with their lil ones. Goats, horses, baby chicks - kids love animals of all kinds, and the closer they can get to them the better! So find yourself a map of the area, maybe drive a bit farther than you normally would, and head to the hay!
#2. Get them swimming. Whether you take them to a pool or a lake, take them somewhere besides the beach where they can feel steady in the water and either learn to swim from scratch (see image below from last summer!) or get their sea legs steady, or enhance their abilities of jumping off a dock, diving board or testing out their new floaties. Get them to the water and let 'em swim. It's a must. An absolute must. And consider how much cooler you'll all be once you've dipped yourselves in there, as well. Ahh. Pure heaven.
And the #1 place to take your child for the summer ...
Well, I'm actually torn on this one as number one is a tie. I was going to be all creative and say take them to their minds and read them a fantastic book. And then I was honestly going to say take them to get ice cream, because sometimes there is nothing better on a summer's day.
But I changed my mind. And the #1 place to take your child over the summer is ...
A baseball game.
End. Of. Story.
There is no greater pastime. Nothing that represents the summer more. And no cooler experience for a kid than being at a stadium, eating popcorn, cotton candy, ices or ice cream. Making a total mess and trying to watch and focus on the game. Cheering for a team - even if they're not "yours" - is a thrill, as is the wave! So trust me on this one. And if there are no baseball teams nearby then pick another sporting event. It's a must. Teach your kids the importance of team sports, the importance of being active and moving, and the fun of it all whether you're in the stands or on the field! Get out there and
Take them out to the ballgame!
** I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click HERE.**