Wacky Days of Summer

— Written By and last updated by Denese Prevatte
en Español

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Are your children’s idea of a summer vacation sitting on the couch playing video games? When I was their age, I had similar plans of sleeping in and sitting on the couch watching TV (because there were no video games back in the day). My parents, on the other hand, had other ideas with the goal, as they plainly stated over and over again, to keep me away from the TV. I had tennis lessons; swimming lessons; outdoor chores, which involved pulling dandelions and other noxious weeds; washing cars; and if lucky, I got to ride my bicycle and do some babysitting when I wasn’t away at camp for five weeks.

Looking back, I am thrilled to have had the opportunities I had, even if I didn’t think much of them at the time. I encourage parents to find new and exciting ways to expose the world to their children during the summer. Think back to your childhood and things you enjoyed, or things your parents enjoyed. Talk with your children and make summer an adventure. Make a summer sand bucket list of things you and your children want to do. Some of the top things to think about this year:

  • Bake cookies together to make ice cream sandwiches.
  • Plant a small vegetable garden with things they like – plant things that will get them excited or something you might get them to try because they grew it or think about themes like a salad, salsa, or snack garden. It might be something less edible but just as educational like a butterfly garden.
  • Be adventurous by letting your child use a compass and draw a circle on a map and choose someplace to visit in that circle. Let them get online and see what there is out there and help plan a family trip. It could be a day trip or overnight – depends on the map and circle.
  • Let them set up a lemonade stand.
  • Make ice cream.
  • Have a cookout.
  • Visit the local park and/or state park and, perhaps, go canoeing.
  • Visit a museum or amusement park you have never been to.
  • Use spray paint or sidewalk chalk to make a ginormous twister board on the lawn or hopscotch board in the driveway.
  • Run through the sprinklers.
  • Catch fireflies in a jar.
  • Hula-hoop.
  • Go on a family bike ride.

One of the things I always wanted to do was make giant bubbles with my own homemade mix. This could keep you busy for moments or hours, but it is a good go-to on any day you want them to get outside. To make your own bubbles, you can experiment with this recipe:

  • 2/3 cup dishwashing soap
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 2½ tablespoons of glycerin (can be found in pharmacies or chemical supply houses)

Gently stir the ingredients and let it sit. The longer it sits the better the bubbles are usually. You can also add food coloring to make colorful bubbles. They could even make bubble art by taping a piece of paper up to the side of the house or a tree and letting them blow different colored bubbles onto the paper. How much fun would that be?

No matter what you do with your child this summer, it’s sure to make memories that will outlive any video game. For more information, please contact Shea Ann DeJarnette, Extension 4-H Youth Development Agent with North Carolina  Cooperative  Extension, Robeson  County  Center, at  910-671-3276  or by  E-mail at shea_ann_dejarnette@ncsu.edu. North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.