Effortless Activities For Summer Fun: Get Everyone Into These Terrific Pastimes

Ah, summer. What a wonderful time of year. The sun is warm, the lakes are cold and refreshing, and the children are out of school. Until the end of August, this is the time to relax, have fun, and spend time together as a family.

Now that America is on the way to herd immunity, people from coast to coast are exhaling in relief and planning a whole lot of ways to enjoy the last remaining weeks of summer with the family. The summer of 2021 may well be the most enjoyable one in recent memory, because the last year and a half has been so challenging.

But what to do? We’ve got some ideas for you on that score, ways you can have fun together. Read on!

1. Head out to parks and playgrounds.

Now that the weather is splendid, parents (and nannies!) can feel at ease when taking children to playgrounds, to play on swings, climb jungle gyms, and have fun with other children. Let them run around, laugh, and enjoy themselves with the freedom of summer and the less-scheduled lifestyle. Expending lots of energy is a sure fire way to get them ready for an afternoon nap!

2. Set up a bird feeder in the yard and buy a book about local species

Summer is the perfect time to introduce children to the joys of bird watching. Depending on where you live, an abundance of birds are probably nearby – it just takes a keen eye to see them flitting around and stopping for a sunflower. If you need a project for a rainy day, build a feeder with the children. You can even do this on a budget – just check what’s in your arts and crafts cupboard. For more details on creating a garden that attracts birds to your yard, go to http://www.ebird.com. You can join the millions of birdwatchers worldwide in tracking species in your area each day, and contribute to knowledge about the global migration patterns of our fine feathered friends. Activities like this are the way young science-minded children get inspired!

3. Head for a public beach or other watering hole.

Most communities have a place within a short drive where the family can go swimming for the afternoon. Plan on spending the day, and take a picnic. If you don’t have a lake or river nearby, call your local community center and find out about family day passes or splash pads – often they offer one day during the week at a steep discount.

4. Zoos offer a great day of fun and learning.

Again, these venues usually offer free admission to children under five or six, and often let families enter at a discounted price at least one afternoon each week. Some offer horseback riding; others host talks with animal trainers that are enjoyable and instructive for the whole family.

5. Check the local paper for yard sales.

Spend a day perusing yard sales, and give the children each a little change to splurge on a slightly used toy or book. These can offer fascinating glimpses into other people’s lives, and you just might find a buried treasure for five dollars, or less!

6. Go to a movie matinee for young audiences.

Many movie theaters offer a weekly price far below the usual price of a ticket, so pile the children into the car – or, better yet, walk – and spend the afternoon at a fun movie chosen just for them. Buy popcorn, take a bottle of water, and laugh and have fun while the children watch the latest adventure flick.

7. Attend free outdoor concerts.

Lots of communities bring in local talent to put shows on in parks and other green spaces. Check your neighborhood paper’s entertainment listings, and decide on a performance you will all enjoy.

8. How about backyard board games?

 Playing Monopoly or charades need not be restricted to rainy afternoons. Take the family’s favorites out to the patio and let everyone take a turn. Break for snacks and cold drinks, but keep the entertainment going for the whole afternoon. This is a great way for the family to have fun, catch up with each other, and bond.

9. Take the children to your local library.

Libraries aren’t just about lending books! Many offer classes for young children, so they can spend an afternoon with their peers learning a craft from a qualified teacher. They also offer reading courses and other child-centered activities at a very low cost, or completely free. If your child doesn’t have their library card yet, make this the summer they sign up to get one!

10. Go walking, go hiking, or any other outdoor exercise.

It’s great to take the family swimming, but it’s not always practical. If you can’t get to a pool or lake, tell everyone to pull on their sneakers and then head out together for a walk in your neighborhood. Talk about the architecture of the nearby houses; chat with neighbors sitting out on their front porches. Civil engagement is part of the fabric of American life, and it begins early, when children get to know those who live around them.

The availability of free activities near you depends, in part, on which community you live in. But there are plenty of things you can do at home, together, like the ones listed here, that cost nothing or next to it.

What matters most this summer is that you spend time together as a family, shrugging off the stresses of the last year and a half and enjoying one another. As a nation, we’ve never experienced the challenges of a year like 2020. It’s time to make the summer of 2021 about being together and having some fun.