31 May 2012

10 Tips For Planning A Summer of Fun

Have you ever had summers where you find yourself in late August finally having some fun and regretfully feeling like you just let the summer slip through your fingertips? I definitely have. There is something so bittersweet about having a great Labor Day weekend and realizing fall is coming and you didn't have a cookout, didn't go to the beach or lake much, didn't go camping, see friends, take a roadtrip, roast a marshmallow.

Here's the recipe to avoid all that guilt. Plan your summer now. I always find that there is nothing that helps me enjoy life as much as having things to look forward to. Having a fun outing or trip to look forward to always makes the every day must-dos feel much less burdensome to me. It's a great time to pull out the calendar and start planning in fun events for the summer months.

1) Start with your vacation and holiday plans. Maybe your family has an annual trip or tradition you take part in each year. Schedule those in first.

2) Check out local community celebrations. Many of these are free and family friendly. In the area where I grew up there is a parade, rodeo and fireworks weekend in every city within a 10 mile radius at some point over the summer. Every city has their celebration: Strawberry Days, Pioneer Days, Steel Days, Onion Days, there's no shortage of fun things to do. A great way to enjoy your local area.

3) Look for free concerts, outdoor movies, etc. Online you can usually find a community or city calendar for your area. You will find all kinds of events available nearby especially throughout the summer. Many parks, beaches, piers and mountain resorts will host free public events.

4) Look for free talks, classes and workshops. Many business will host bike repair workshops, talks by specialists in different areas, and offer other free learning experiences to the public. The summer is a great time to take advantage of these opportunities.

5) Plan a little roadtip or campout. In most places in the world you don't have to go too far from home to find a great little camping spot or an interesting historical town or new neighborhood to adventure to. Find inexpensive lodging and enjoy a night away from home.

6) Plan to host a party at your home or a local park. Most people longingly wish they spent more time with their friends, but very few make the effort to plan something. If doing something at your home sounds like too much work, a potluck at a park can be accomplished with just a little planning and perhaps reserving a pavillion for your group. No housecleaning or slaving over a hot stove necessary. Plan something. Your friends will thank you and you'll be glad you did. Summer gatherings with friends are those summer events you remember.

7) Schedule in nature time. Find hikes or nature walks in your area you'd like to explore. Think about an evening hike to enjoy a sunset or get up extra early to catch the sunrise from a beautiful peak. Make sure you are prepared with water, food & emergency needs and you let someone know where you'll be then enjoy the fresh air.

8) Visit an amusement park. Rekindle the spirit of your child inside with a silly day at a local amusement park. Nothing says summer like the crowds, the cotton candy, the roller coasters and paddle boats.

9) Organize some craft activities. The warmer weather is a great time to work on craft projects that require drying time and can be done outside. Paper mache, wood projects, dying fabric, creating concrete garden tiles and many other projects are very conducive to warm summer weather and you can make the mess outside instead of indoors. Get your supplies in advance and make something fun.

10) Plan a sleep out in your backyard. This was one of the most memorable things we did as kids in the summer. When we were younger we would make a blanket fort on the deck off of our kitchen and sleep under it. Once we got the mattresses outside it was hard to get us to come back and sleep in the house again. Plus I think we just dreaded the idea of dragging all the mattresses and blankets back in the house and putting them away. Later my parents built a covered deck at the back of the yard and I remember an Independence Day sleep out with movies and late night fun back there one year.

Hope these ideas will sparks some creative ideas and help you plan a summer full of fun this year. What are your must do summer activities and family traditions? Are you doing anything new this year? I'd love to hear your ideas to help inspire our future summer plans. Have a great Thursday!

image by kalanicut

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