By: Carolina Pichardo
Although yesterday’s post was a bittersweet one, my daughter’s off to enjoying her summer vacation like only a New York City kid can—with friends at the playground and a bucket list that run pretty deep. She still has another 74 days left before school begins in the fall. Here are just a few of the things we’ll be doing to make the best of her time off.
1. It’s their first day out, so why not just enjoy it and if you can – sleep in.
2. Grab a camera (even a disposable one) and explore your neighborhood like never before. We’ll show how you can use these shots later.
3. Take a hike.
4. Watch classic movies, like Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Star Trek.
5. Did you know July is National Picnic Month? Plan a few family picnics throughout the summer for you all to enjoy.
6. Ride a bike. If there’s someone in the family that hasn’t quite mastered it yet, teach them now so they can ride around for the rest of their summer days.
7. Visit a library and pick summer reads to keep your child’s brain going during the break.
8. Fourth of July – Here in New York, most families step out to enjoy the famous Macy’s Fireworks. However, everyone throughout the country has a spectacular way of celebrating. Check out this list from Grandparents.com for more locations.
9. Explore your park for strange bugs, birds, rocks and water creatures (if you live near water).
10. Visit a street fair. Check out your local paper or listings for dates and venues throughout the summer.
11. Play Frisbee!
12. Go to a ballgame. Go Yankees!
13. Rediscover your neighborhood.
14. Visit your local animal friends at The Bronx Zoo.
15. Pull out the card and board games, and watch the hours fly by!
16. Take a New Day Challenge, and let everything you do be something you’ve never done before. Eat a different meal, wear new clothes, or go to a new park.
17. Start a window garden. Plan some fall flower bulbs in August; orchids, ferns, and begonias are window favorites.
18. Been to the beach yet? If not, then pack your towels and sandcastle blueprints.
19. Go bowling. There are several lanes in the Bronx that are great for an evening of fun.
20. Get wet in your local park’s sprinklers!
21. See how long it’ll take to build a few jigsaw puzzles.
22. Spend a day blowing soap bubbles.
23. How do commuters and tourists get around in your city? Spend a day exploring your city with public transportation. See where it’ll take you.
24. Did you know the first moon landing was on July 20, 1969? Visit your local planetarium and learn more about our beautiful and mysterious skies.
25. Bring the badminton, tennis racquet, volleyball, tennis ball, and plan for a family sports day. Don’t forget to bring lots of water, too!
26. Not much fun, but necessary: issue a little cleanup challenge. Hand out a list of chores, and judge who did good job (make sure to check under the bed).
27. Nǐ hǎo! Ever wanted to learn Chinese? Take a stab at another language. There are so many resources online, and even YouTube video that demonstrate how to pronounce words.
28. Try out a local restaurant you’ve never been to before.
29. Have a day of juicing fun with ingredients from local farmer’s market.
30. Create a family tree. How well do your kids know their own family history?
31. Water balloon fights are perfect for those hot, sizzling summer days. You’ll get to the chance to exercise and cool-off. Just remember to pick up the water balloon pieces when you’re all done.
32. Go digging for fossils, rocks, and random treasures.
33. Build an indoor fort. Medieval pretend play is optional.
34. Summer isn’t complete without a BBQ. So what are you waiting for? Heat up that grill and let the good times roll.
35. Spend time with the grandparents – if they live close to home. If not, have the kids write them a letter or give them a call.
36. Take inventory of what you’ve done on August 1st. Ask your kids what have they loved so far, and plan whatever’s left for the next few weeks.
37. Who’s the most talented in your family? Why not host a Talent Show and find out. You never know, next stop could be Idol.
38. Volunteer or visit a local nursing home or hospital.
39. Redecorate a room.
40. Make popsicles. Experiment with different flavors and colors.
41. Chess has proven to sharpen math and analytical skills. If you don’t have a board game nearby, there are several online games and apps available to get you started.
42. Start a Family Blog. Start documenting your adventures online and share with family. You can also leave the private settings so that only your close relatives and friends can have a glimpse of your summer adventures.
43. Did you know August 3rd is National Watermelon Day? Make a fruit salad and enjoy.
44. Celebrate your (or your neighbor’s) Middle Child on August 12th, in honor of Middle Child Day.
45. Host your own Summer Olympics.
46. Have a sleepover.
47. Go fishing.
48. Perform a family play with one of your child’s favorite children’s story.
49. Did you know August 14 is Victory Day, which marked the end of World War II? Talk about history with your kids today.
50. Back to school shopping. Make it fun, and ease out your kids’ jitters by talking about all the great things they’re going to learn this new school-year.
51. Did you know there’s a National Lazy Day in August? Yes, your kids can actually celebrate the art of doing nothing.
52. Fly a kite.
53. Be an artist for a day, and visit other works of art at local art museums.
54. Write and recite poems. Read some classics, too. Dr. Seuss is perfect for the little ones.
55. Have a dance party.
56. Go without watching television or going online – as a family – for a day. See if you can extend the streak once you’re done.
57. Teach your child something new, and have them teach you something new. They’ll love showing off!
58. Are there any free classes or workshops in your area, whether at a museum or library—or even online? Step outside your box and learn a new skill with your family. Craftsy is a family favorite, although stores like Williams-Sonoma and Michaels also have a few good classes of their own.
59. Cool down with some ice cream. Try different flavors.
60. Play a family basketball game at a local basketball court.
61. Enjoy some indoor marshmallow-toasting.
62. Play in the rain! Summer rain is the best to go out and play in the puddles.
63. Did you know Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream Speech” on August 28, 1963? What dreams do your kids have for the future?
64. Learn a new language. Teach your kids some French or Spanish phrases using Google Translate.
65. Get a little green by visiting a local botanical garden.
66. Get some coloring books, crayons and try to stay inside the lines.
67. Go to the pool!
68. Bake cookies.
69. Build a family time capsule.
70. Write a family song. Rapping is a favorite for kids.
71. Go bird watching.
72. Fishing, sailing, kayaking—these are all great ways to stay cool and close to the water.
73. Make a collage of your summer memories.
74. Make a bucket list for NEXT summer vacation.
75. Welcome back to school with a farewell to summer party, and recap as a family your favorite moments.
Young Urban Moms’ co-founder, Carolina Pichardo, is a digital marketer by day, writer and community activist by night, and mom to Lulu always. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @c_pichardo.