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Ideas for summer family fun

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Summer is a great time to do things together as a family! There are many things you can do to enjoy being with one another. As the kids finish school for summer, sit down as a family and set aside some time without distractions to make some plans for things to do together. Involve all ages! When kids feel like they have a voice in the planning, they will be more interested in making it happen and in being involved.

As you start planning, first pick several activities that everyone in the family agrees on doing this summer. Make a strong commitment to follow through with the ideas you choose and to have involvement from every family member. Then decide when you will do the activities you choose. Is a certain activity better for a rainy day? Is it better for the weekend? How much time will be needed from family members for the activity? Making these decisions at the beginning will help you make your ideas become reality and will give everyone something to look forward to during the summer.

Here are just a few ideas to get your family started:

• Plan a summer celebration. Choose to hold it on Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, or some other day that is important to your family. Some ideas for the celebration could be a picnic, time to visit relatives, or a day trip together. Use your imagination to pick something everyone in your family will like.

• Hold a family fun night. Choose several favorite outdoor or indoor games or puzzles for your family to play together. Turn off the TV and focus on each other. See how much you end up laughing together.

• Create a scavenger hunt out of a walk in your neighborhood. Have a list of items for each family member to look for and write down who finds each item along the way. Let the winner choose what you will eat for dinner or make a family trophy for the winner.

• Find a farm in your area that allows you to come to pick fresh fruits or go to a local farmer’s market together. Let each family member pick out a favorite, nutritious food.

• Go fishing together, plant a garden together, or make something in the kitchen together. All of these are great ways to spend time together and share lots of smiles.

• Go on a mystery car ride together. Have one parent or a parent and one child pick a secret destination together. Have the rest of the family try to guess where they are going.

There are many more ideas that your family can do together. Time spent together as a family has many rewards. It helps you bond with each other. It helps parents see their children do new things and have a chance to praise them for their success. Most importantly, it gives your family a chance to have fun together and laugh together, instead of doing all the things we have to do every day of our lives.

Reference: Van Horn, J. E. (2009). Family Time: Strengthen Your Family Summer Series. Pennsylvania State University College of Natural Sciences and Cooperative Extension (UA218 and UA219). Available at http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/Freepubs/pdfs/ua218.pdf and http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/Freepubs/pdfs/ua219.pdf.
Source: Kerri Ashurst, Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture

Jane Proctor is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer services.