Monday, June 20, 2011

Full Steam Ahead: The Summer Fun List

Howdy, friends!

I was in Branson, Missouri for the past few days doing some travel research (more on that tomorrow). But now it's home sweet home, with floors to mop and sheets to change for a week of guests and freckled noses to kiss.

Here in Texas, we parents have this survival instinct that kicks in around Memorial Day. As the mercury climbs toward triple digits, we start desperately casting about for ways to make it through a looooong, hot summer without slipping our moorings. We can't shoo the kids outside to play when it's a hundred degrees plus humidity, and yes, we can take them swimming, but there are only so many times a week you can round up the towels, swimsuits, googles and flip-flops, make sure everyone has sunscreen, and finally, forty five minutes later, get out that door.

So the kiddos and I have been brainstorming things to put on our calendar this summer (we do a very light school schedule). Things to look forward to. Things that don't cost big bucks. Things that will help us thrive, not just survive. I thought I'd share our ideas, and maybe you'll share some of your own in the comments. A few of them are specific to our city, but most apply broadly, like we're supposed to do with that sunscreen.

Our Summer Fun List: 

1. Make homemade ice cream (Done in Eliza's ice cream ball, multiple times)
2. Find a new sprinkler park
3. Use our Six Flags Reading Program tickets
4. See Mr. Popper's Penguins (the movie)
5. Make a deluxe kid wash, using these instructions
6. Make chocolate pudding pops
7. Participate in our library's summer reading program
8. Do a community service project, such as a book drive for our children's hospital
9. Attend some of the free children's programs at our city libraries
10. Camp out in the backyard -- June 29 is the Great American Backyard Campout
11. Get a Texas Longhorns decal for our car (my kids have become virulent Longhorns)
12. Go see the Zilker Summer Musical in the Park
13. Reorganize our books (yes, I find this fun)
14. Make a "Family Favorites" playlist for our Colorado roadtrip
15. Invite friends over for a giant water gun fight
16. Decorate bikes for the neighborhood Fourth of July parade
17. Work on our scrapbooks
18. Visit a natural swimming hole
19. Perfect the art of iced coffee
20. Buy a used card table and keep a big jigsaw puzzle going
21. Patronize the farmer's market as often as possible
22. Gorge ourselves on fresh peaches
23. Tie dye shirts
24. Drive out of the city one night and watch the stars
25. Paint with rainbow ice cubes

I hope to update this list as we spawn more ideas, and note when each is done. Anyone else making a list?

P.S. Our city has at least one website with ideas for free fun daily, called Free Fun in Austin. Maybe yours does as well!


cjoy said...

mmmm....some grand ideas! thanks for the jump-start. we school regularl-like but inserting fun is always good. ;D
ps....oh, yes, organizing books IS fun! that's been in progress here for over a week (slow going, what can i say?)

Amy said...

We like this sprinkler park:

Anonymous said...

I need your email addy to send you a snap of Jaden's party and Eliza~ Hugs! -em

Hannah said...

Hey Emily, it's

Michelle L said...

We like the Bailey Park splash pad, but its probably small stuff for your kids! :)

Danica Newton said...

LOVE the icecube painting!!! That link immediately was reposted on my fb, and I intend to try it soon :) Looking forward to pics of all the cool things you guys will do this summer!

Raji P. said...

I just stumbled on this and this looks like something to check out:,default,pg.html

Happy Summer! Will think of you from the Great White North :) :)

Bear Creek Mama said...

I LOVE the kid wash! I think my two older kids will need to build one of those for the youngers this summer.

The Writing Garden said...

What a great idea to make a list! So simple, yet I had not thought of it! I am going to do this today - Thanks! :)

Christyn said...

Make your own fizzing sidewalk "chalk". I'll send you a link later. We did this recently and my kids loved it. I just saw a video yesterday about making your own hula-hoops...something on our to do list! Thanks for some great ideas!

Raji P. said...

Check this out!
"The 50 dangerous things you should let your children do"

Sounds right up The Professor's alley, doesn't it?

Julie said...

Umm one word...AWESOME!...okay two more..thank you!