Friday, July 16, 2010

BEATING THE HEAT WITH GOOD OLE FASHIONED FAMILY FUN



Summertime… the word conjures up memories of birds singing, butterflies fluttering and flowers blooming. Or at least it should. Instead all I hear is an endless barrage of grievances, such as “I’M BORED!”; “HE HIT ME!” or “WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO TODAY?”

(Wait a minute, that’s not how I remember summer.)

This year our family, along with many others, made the decision to forgo the expense of camp and keep the children at home. When I was a child, camp was not an option and I happily spent my days building sandcastles, climbing trees and riding my bike from first light to sundown. I didn’t think this would be a hardship for my children.

It’s not; however, it is for me! Gone are the days where parents can open the front door and let their kids out to play by themselves. Unfortunately, we live in a very different, very scary world, where unsupervised kids are abducted. Therefore, in these financially trying times what is a parent to do with school age children during summer vacation?

With a little help from herbal tea and a certain amount of innovative creativity, I’ve found several fun activities for my family and in the process I have rediscovered some childhood games long since forgotten. The following is a list of Top 5 Activities we’ve enjoyed this summer:

5. Early Morning Family Walk:
At precisely 6:00am every morning my kids are awake and full of energy! I decided to embrace this energy and combine it with my need for exercise. Thus the idea for the family walk was born. Therefore, after breakfast, at least once a week we embark on a journey around town. We live in a small, New England, coastal town that is full of beauty and history. Together, we choose a destination and along the way make up stories of the sights we see.

4. Friendship Bracelets
For only $5.00 we purchased a package of gimp at the local toy store and spent an entire afternoon making bracelets and key chains! As a child, my friends and I enjoyed the same activity in the neighborhood tree house. I’ve forgotten how fun this can be. It’s amazing how children can remind you of your past.

3. Homemade Ice Cream
This recipe was discovered purely by accident. We didn’t have any food in the house and my kids were hungry. I searched the freezer and found frozen strawberries and blueberries. I threw them in the blender with whipping cream and a dash of sugar and to my surprise ice cream appeared! My kids were never happier. I was a hero!

2. Hide and Seek
For anyone that wants to enjoy time with their kids, I’d highly recommend a round of Hide and Seek! Take turns as the “Seeker” and let your children find you. It’s so cute to listen to the rap and the tap of their little feet as they pass by your hiding spot, followed (of course) by a succession of giggles as they finally find you. I had a blast. I truly felt like a kid again.

1. Camping
After 10 years of marriage my husband finally convinced me to go camping. Honestly, I was a reluctant participant. I am a creature of comfort and the thought of sleeping outdoors was less than thrilling. However, that all changed when I saw how much fun my kids were having. They enjoyed an entire day swimming in the lake! We told ghost stories, toasted marshmallows and even saw fireworks! It was a very fun, inexpensive family vacation.

For more ideas on how to keep your kids busy this summer, check out: www.kidsturncentral.com

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