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14 Ways to Have Fun with Family This Summer

It is now the perfect time to get some summer family fun scheduled on the calendar!

We all know summer passes much too quickly and that list of things you wanted to do with the kids rarely gets checked off before you are backpack shopping again and pulling out the sweaters. The best way to ensure you have active fun family time this summer is to take time now to make your own list of family fun ideas and then get planning!

Look for things you can do around your community that don’t cost a lot—a tennis court in the park is perfect for a friendly match and roller blading, skateboarding or even badminton is a fun way to connect and get fit. Schedule time to play basketball in the driveway with the kids or better yet, wheel that hoop out to the street and invite the neighbours out for a friendly game.

Follow new trails, drive to a park on the other side of town to play or hit the big city to be tourist for a day. Plan special outings to the museum, aquarium, zoo or plan a weekend trip to go camping. There are so many fun things to do with the family, if you make a point of getting outside together and remember to pencil it in on the summer fun calendar!

Here are some great family activities to get you started whether you are looking for hometown fun or a road trip destination.

Hometown Family Fun

Movies in the Park
So much fun to grab sleeping bags, pillows, snacks and head to the local park at night to watch a movie under the stars. Check around your area for movies playing during the summer months—most times these movies are free.

Geocaching

A family favourite here all year-long, geocaches are hiding in your backyard park and every major country in the world! All you need is a smartphone or GPS to participate and join the fun.More details on how to get started geocaching here.

Creek Fishing
Put on some water shoes or rubber boots and hit the nearby (safe, shallow, you supervising) creek with a pail, net or homemade fishing rod and go exploring for fish, tadpoles, ducks and butterflies.

Drive-In
Everyone has memories of the drive-in as kids and there are still some around. Make a date with the kids on the calendar to go to the drive-in. Put down the seats in the van, back it into the spot, get out the pillows, blankets, snacks and enjoy.

Free Bowling

This summer kids can bowl up to two games a day for free all summer long simply by registering at kidsbowlfree.com This program is designed by bowling centres to give back to the community and provide a safe, secure, and fun way for kids to spend time this summer and is available across Canada and the U.S.

Biking for Ice Cream

Pick an ice cream place along a lake or a bike path if you can—you will be surprised how far the kids can bike (even on training wheels) when there is the promise of ice cream at the other end!

Cottage Weekend at Home

No cottage needed. Book a weekend or a couple of days during the summer where you declare it “cottage time” and you ONLY do cottage like things. That means sleeping in, hanging out, BBQ, swimming, reading books, playing cards and eating lots of snacks. Pretend your backyard is the cottage for the weekend and no grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning or anything related to ‘home.’ Your weekend away without the three-hour drive!

Day Trip or Longer

Museum Sleepover
On my list of things I’d love to try! Check your local museum for special sleepover nights or late night openings to get a different perspective of current exhibits.

Zoo
The zoo is always a favourite with kids. When they are younger, look for smaller and more intimate zoos that have splash pads and animals closer together so little legs don’t tire so quickly. Our kids are older, so last year we trained all summer and our family did the Toronto Zoo 10km run—now that is a new way to visit the zoo!

Camping
Sleeping in tents on the hard ground is not a favourite for many adults, but kids do love camping. So many fabulous campgrounds around that are inexpensive and offer gorgeous beaches, campfires and hiking trails.Explore a different campground every summer and if you book later in August, you will usually find lots of empty camp spots and less crowded beaches.

Baseball Game
Take me out to the ball game. Local parks are full of baseball games in the summer, so even if you can’t get to a big city for a Major League game, support local teams and take in a baseball game close to home.

Amusement Park

As the kids get older, the coasters can get bigger. Take a trip to an amusement park and test your kids’ thrill level and your stomach tolerance…both will change with age! If you have a few days, try one that offers a campsite or trailer/hotel lodging such as Darien Lake and make a mini vacation of it.

Tourist for a Day

Take in a new city as a tourist. Even if it’s one you think you know, go exploring. Get a map, take in the local culture and hotspots, eat lunch on an outdoor patio and see it all with new eyes.

Family Camp

Kids not keen on overnight summer camp but you want them to have that summer camp experience? Consider Family Camp.Most summer camps hold one or more weeks during the summer where it is open to the whole family and everyone goes, stays in the cabins, eats in the mess hall and participates in the activities and campfires.Some places offer a full season of Family camp, others just one week near the end of the summer season, but all are worth looking into for creating a new family tradition.