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2019 Jul

A-Z Guide to Summer Fun

Running out of ideas for summer fun? This list’s for you!

Are your kids getting the summertime blues? Are they lounging around in their PJs saying, “There’s nothing to do” or, worse, staring at the TV or a computer screen all day? Whoa, Nelly. Maybe it’s time for you to teach your kids how to have old-fashioned hot fun in the summertime!

OK, it doesn’t have to be hot fun. In fact, in our A to Z list of summer fun, you’ll find awesome ways to cool down. Plus you’ll discover mostly free or low-cost ideas that are perfect for chasing away the summertime blues. Even better each of these activities promises precious quality time together with your family.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your kiddies and get busy checking off Tidewater Family’s A to Z list of summer fun. And don’t forget to visit TF’s advertisers while you’re out and about. Tell them how much you appreciate their support of the area’s only monthly magazine for families. After all, if it weren’t for our advertisers, your hands would be empty right now!

A is for Astronomy.

Pick a clear night when the moon’s not very full and share your favorite constellations with your kids. (Mine is a star cluster, the Pleiades, nicknamed the Seven Sisters. Try to find it!) Pick up an inexpensive night sky chart, your ticket to a whole new world!

B is for Biking.

What else? Whether it’s through the neighborhood, along the boardwalk, or under shady trees, summer is the perfect time for rolling in the breeze.

C is for Camping.

Whether you’re a newbie or an old pro, camping is always an adventure. Visit one of Virginia’s wonderful state parks or private campgrounds or camp out in the backyard. Don’t forget the marshmallows!

D is for Daydreaming.

Sometimes it’s good not to think about anything. Sit on the porch, listen to the birds, and watch the clouds float by. Sometimes quiet moments with your children spark the best conversations.

E is for Exercise.

Staying fit doesn’t have to be a chore. Make it into a game and then enjoy a special treat after. Even better, plan your own Family Olympics competition. Wacky sports encouraged!

F is for Frisbee.

Throwing a Frisbee is one of life’s simple pleasures, but if your 3-year-old can’t quite master it, let her chase the ones you throw and bring them back to you.

G is for Gardening.

Buy some flower seeds or plant easy-to-grow veggies—like green beans or peppers. Don’t forget to water them and then watch Mother Nature do her magic.

H is for Hopscotch.

You’re never too old to play this hopping game. Sing songs as you hopscotch, and when you get tired, draw funny faces with your chalk on the sidewalk.

I is for Ice Cream.

Cool off with a creamy, drippy, yummy cone or a sweet, gooey, crunchy ice cream sundae—and spoil your sweet tooth!

J is for Jump Rope.

OK, I am sneaking a few fun exercises in here, but honestly, jumping rope is fun and good for you. Whether you’re going solo or taking turns with a longer rope, getting tangled up is part of the fun!

K is for Kites.

There’s something special about watching a kite soar up into the sky, then slowly become smaller ‘til it’s just a speck way up high.

L is for a Lemonade Stand.

Teach your kids a few lessons in entrepreneurship as they learn what it takes to sell something as simple as lemonade—and make a profit. Donate the proceeds to your favorite charity.

M is for the Movies.

Sometimes on a hot day, your kids just want to be entertained, especially somewhere cool and dark. Look for free and low-cost summer movies geared to families. Don’t forget the popcorn!

N is for Nature.

Whether your kids like the woods or the shoreline, you don’t have to walk far to discover unique gifts from nature—shells, rocks, driftwood. Maybe you’ll even find a fragile baby robin’s egg!

O is for the Ocean.

A day at the beach is the easiest form of family fun around these parts. Enjoy the salty breeze, building sandcastles, and romping in the waves. Hats and sunscreen highly recommended!

P is for Picnic.

Take one with you to the beach or spread a blanket in the backyard. After you’re done eating, close your eyes and take a nap or find cloud formations in the sky.

Q is for Quilt.

If you have a sewing machine, gather some squares of fabric and teach your son or daughter to sew. If you don’t, make a colorful quilt using squares of construction paper and glue. Then decorate with stars and glitter.

R is for Reading.

Summer is the perfect time to while away the hours with a good book. Go to the library and choose a few to read to your kids or that they can read. Schedule a time to read and do it together as a family.

S is for the Sprinkler.

Brrrr. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of running through a cold sprinkler on a hot day.

T is for Treasure Hunt.

Let your kids create a Treasure Map and clues and then you get to try to find the hidden booty! Or for a modern take on treasure hunts, try geo-caching. It’s a perfect activity for the family to do together.

U is for Upside Down Cake.

Here’s a fail-proof recipe for pineapple upside down cake. Melt 2 T. butter in a 13x9 baking pan. Mix in a 3 T. of brown sugar. Shake the pan so mixture evenly distributes. Lay 8 slices of pineapple on the bottom of the pan. Pop a maraschino cherry in the center of each ring. Then prepare your favorite yellow cake recipe and pour the batter on top. Follow cake mix baking directions. After cake cools, invert it on a platter and serve with vanilla ice cream. Yum!

V is for Vacation.

What would summer be without a summer vacation? Right here in Virginia, we have nature, history, festivals, and much more—within a few hours’ drive. I love escaping to the Blue Ridge Mountains, especially when it gets scorching hot here on the coast.

W is for Watermelon.

Go outside and eat big, juicy slices of watermelon. Let yourself get sloppy! Seed spitting contest, anyone?

X is for Xplore.

Pick a nearby attraction your family’s never been to. Maybe a museum or arts center and plan a family fun day. You’ll learn new things together.

Y is for Yo-Yo.

Yep, yo-yos are never out of style. There’s something magical about how they go down and come back up again.

Z is for Ziplining.

If you haven’t tried it, what are you waiting for? It’s a thrill a minute!

Looking for more ideas for summer fun? Check out Tidewater Family’s Calendar of Events and Summer Fun Guide

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and publisher of Tidewater Family Plus magazine. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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