I made a promise to myself at the beginning of last summer, much like the promises I’ve made dozens of times before.
This summer, while all three of my kids are home, I will be more present.
We will do less, but enjoy more.
We will spend more time together as a family, and darn it — it will be fun!!
Lofty goals, I realize, but fast forward to the end of the summer, and we DID do less. I strongly believe it was because of this that we ENJOYED MORE. The days seemed longer, yet more carefree.
Want to know what we did?
We started staying home.
Without all the commitments and appointments and plain old busy-ness, we had time to live our lives — the way I’d always imagined them.
We made an art of it, summer in our own backyard — lazing on our handmade picnic blanket (my first sewing project), holding lemonade taste tests, and reading stacks and stacks of library books while popping berries in our mouth.
We hunted for bugs, caught frogs, and danced in the rain.
We invented every flavor combination of homemade popsicles we could think of, and we found out just how fast they could melt in the Texas heat. I didn’t worry a bit when it dripped all over them, this sprinkler is my new best friend and did, on occasion, fill in for an evening bath—
Hey, why not? It’s summer!
So this summer, I’m remembering this: We only live once.
And I plan to make the most of it, right here in my own backyard.
Are you with me? I know as well as any other mom that days at home can be a frightening concept unless you have some kind of a plan. A flexible plan, but a plan nonetheless. Something to guide your days, direct your kids’ energy, and keep everyone’s spirits up.
So here are 18 activities to help you harness the power of summer right in your own backyard.
18 Ways to Enjoy Summer in Your Own Backyard
- Brew sun tea.
- Make your own snow cones.
- Play Scrabble outside.
- Sign up for your library’s reading program, and take the books outdoors. A hula-hoop tent like this one makes the perfect reading hideaway.
- Paint your own pillowcases! Majorly kid-approved, and doing it outside makes cleanup so much easier.
- Play flashlight tag in the dark. Everyone hides, and the person who is “it” uses the flashlight to look for the hiders. When the beam shines directly on you, “you’re it!”
- Play in the sprinklers. Pro tip: If you have a trampoline, putting a hose with a sprinkler attachment underneath the tramp doubles the fun!
- Have a beach day…without going to the beach! It’s easier than you’d think and keeps the kids occupied for hours.
- Make sidewalk chalk paint. Because everything is more fun with brushes!
- Use summer-themed cookie cutters to make watermelon cookies.
- Make solar s’mores. Why not put that scorching sun to good use, right?
- Go backyard camping!
- Garden together. Toddlers are the best weed-pullers around!
- Make a “farm-to-table” meal. Get the kids’ creative juices flowing as you brainstorm an entire meal straight from your garden.
- Bubbles. Just bubbles. :) Oh and if you add music, you can call it bubble dancing!
- Wash the family car, and plan on getting wet!
- Grow a sunflower house for a magical place to escape to.
- Make this two-ingredient magic shell topping and send the kids outside to get good and sticky!
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