We’re more excited that summer’s here than we were when “Porgy and Bess” finally ended. That said, we’re blinking our eyes and timidly emerging from pandemic lockdown, so all of these activities must be adapted to the situation where you are. Incorporate mask-wearing and social distancing where appropriate for these activities.
As part of our perpetual effort to make this summer the most epic of all time, here are some quality family-friendly summertime activities that will get you off the couch and (hopefully) away from the portable electronic devices to spend some genuine face time with each other and the great outdoors.
1) Do a 5k walk/run.
So, running isn’t on our list of top ten fun things to do, either. But most local 5k walk/runs are set up as fundraisers for very worthy causes. Not only will you and your family be outside, enjoying the sun and company of other members of the community, you’ll be anxiously engaged in something worthwhile. Also, you’ll get a cool T-shirt.
2) Get your camp on—preferably near the ocean or a lake.
Why near water, you ask? Well, aside from the obvious water fun…because science. Intense summer heat causes water to evaporate, which happens to be a chemical process that sucks the heat out of the air around it. This means that the air temperature near sizable bodies of water is considerably lower during the day than areas far from water.
So, camp near water, because fun also tends to evaporate when the thermometer hits 105 at 11 a.m. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
3) Find a nearby historical landmark or place of interest, and hike to it.
Everywhere has cool stuff to look at, but that’s not really point here. The point is to enjoy the journey, and when you slow life down and walk it out for a bit you sometimes notice things you never would have otherwise.
4) See a movie at the drive-in.
If you’re lucky, your local drive-in does a double-feature. That means 5-6 hours of tailgate party/gigantic screen movie mayhem. Just remember to bring blankets, and your own snacks.
5) Go to a citrus (or fruit of your choice) farm and pick berries, peaches, apples, or whichever your favorite is.
There’s something about picking your own food that satisfies the latent hunter-gatherer within each of us. Not only will most places like this let you keep the food you pick for a ridiculously low price, it’ll also taste infinitely better than anything you’d find at your local grocer. Younger kids will have a great experience seeing how (and how much) food is grown in your home region.
6) Step One: Go to a popular public venue. Step Two: People watch.
Every once in a while the best way to spend time is just sitting together…and enjoying the endless hours of entertainment provided by oblivious pedestrians.
7) Find the nearest body of water and rent tandem kayaks.
Ocean, lake, river—no matter where you do it, kayaking gives new meaning to the phrase “getting away from everything.” Whether you prefer the peaceful serenity of a freshwater lake or the challenge of whitewater rapids, this is probably the best way anyone ever came up with to combine sun and water in one summer activity.
8) Establish a family “Park Day” and play a different sport at the park each week.
This one’s easy, and that’s intentional. Making a habit out of getting outside and doing things as a family (or as a couple) can go a long way toward setting the tone for the sorts of interests and hobbies everyone gravitates towards when they’re older and bit wiser. Simple, cheap and relatively easy family bonding are the small means by which a great change can be effected in the lives of children and the relationship between a husband and wife.