The Trick to Planning Summer Family Activities

family-summerWhen we talk about summer we often focus on family vacations and camp. Around the country kids are out from school at different times and for various lengths of time.

Even those who homeschool year ‘round often take a break. But with the kids going here and there or hanging out with their friends there’s often a lack of family time.

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It’s not because no one wants to be together, rather it’s more so from a lack of planning. We spend so much time focused on keeping the kids engaged and entertained that we forget that there are a lot of fun things to do as a family. Even with parents who work, there is at least one day each week when everyone is home. So rather than figure out which friend should come over or whose house the kids will disperse to, why not make family time.

Family time doesn’t mean heading out of town on vacation or checking in at a local resort hotel for a staycation. Family activities are really just a way to reconnect, make sure the relationships within the family are cultivated and nourished, just as we do those outside our family.

One of the keys to having your best summer yet is to be fully present as a family. Summer family activities should be tech-free to allow everyone to focus on the group. Summer is the perfect time to get everyone together and bond. Sure, it may sound hokey to the kids, but think back to when you were a kid and the great memories you have from those goofy family fun days.

With many of us so connected to technology, it may be difficult to disconnect. So start slow. Setting rules for everyone is important so the kids know that everyone, included mom and dad, will be on the same page.

How To Get Started Planning Family Activities Into Your Summer

  1.  Ease into a low-tech activity – rather than pulling the plug right away, incorporate technology into family game night or backyard scavenger hunts.
  2. Block out time on the calendar – don’t clear an entire day right from the start. Again, ease into it.
  3. Let the kids decide – the easiest way to get the kids to buy-in to a plan is let them make the plan. Of course help is always available, but if the kids are old enough they’ve likely created all kinds of games and activities they want to try. If they’re not sure, have prompts ready such as finding an activity to do while making s’mores at night, giving a bag of trinkets and creating a treasure map or providing a list of songs.
  4. Be committed – we can’t ask our kids to focus their time if we’re multi-tasking. Also, give the activity your undivided attention. Our kids model our behavior, so put on the smile and be fully present.

Summer is supposed to be a time to relax, hang out and just be. But often we need to schedule our kids just like the rest of the year. Adding some dedicated family time with fun activities is a sure-fire way to create lasting memories. When we look back on our youth, we didn’t have many of the options our kids have. Sure there was camp and hanging out with our friends, but for many there were family picnics, silly games, camping and so much more.

Remember watching your parents being crazy? Laughing so hard your belly hurt? It’s good for the soul! It’s the glue that holds the family together. So go have fun!

What family-fun activities do you think your family will enjoy?
Editor’s note: This post was written by Sara Hawkins, author of the Saving for Someday blog.