By Guest Blogger Whitney Hsu, author of We’re Only Hsuman

Summer for Stay-at-Home parents can sometimes mean exhaustion and boredom (for the kids, too!) as your excitement for the weather withers and your gladness to have the kids out of school wanes. I know I started out two weeks ago with glorious plans of doing ALL THE THINGS and I have yet to do most of them. So I’m making a list… and hoping to complete some of these things! If you need ideas to freshen up your summer, check these out, and try to cross a few off in the next couple of weeks to spice things up!

Start a neighborhood camp. This is an idea that I think my kids will enjoy in the next couple of years. Getting together with other parents who are home with their kids, and choosing a couple of mornings or afternoons to have big playdates with planned activities (think water balloons, picnics, organized games -if they’re old enough- or anything else you can do in a front or backyard. You could also backyard camp overnight, if you’re up for that sort of thing!

Play old-school games. My kids have recently discovered hopscotch. They’ve always loved sidewalk chalk, but they had a great time trying to get their feet in the right spot, and hop on one foot for longer than one second. Who says things like hula-hoops and jump ropes can’t still be fun?! You can find more old-school game ideas here and here!

Visit parks! This includes (and goes beyond) playgrounds, splash pads, hiking, picnics, and even local events! The Triad has MANY playgrounds and greenways (walking/running/biking trails), and it’s just a short drive to other fun places to hike, fish, canoe, or picnic. Also, some parks have concerts, workouts, evening movies or food trucks, kids’ events, and farmers markets! See TMoM’s list of playgrounds here and splash pads & water slides here!

Speaking of that, farmers markets should get its own section. Last year, we started spending Saturday mornings at Cobblestone Market in Old Salem and we’ve had a great time buying local produce and meat, eating fresh baked goods, getting locally roasted coffee, and locally pressed juice. My husband is obsessed with a lady who pickles… and she pickles everything. She also makes hot sauces. I’m (almost) worried he’s going to leave me for her if I don’t start pickling, too. You can view all of the farmer’s markets in the Triad through the directory here.

Visit a pet store. My kids keep talking about puppies, so this is actually on my “do it soon” list. We aren’t going to get a dog right now, but what a better way to let them play with puppies? And it’s free! It’s also educational to be able to see different fish, reptiles, and rodents, all of whom your kids might not get to see up close very often.

Visit children’s museums, and science museums. Winston Salem  and Greensboro have a great one of each. They often aren’t too expensive, or if you know you’re going to spend a lot of time there, it’s a great thing to invest in and get a membership to. My kids LOVE (and I mean that) our local children’s museum in Winston-Salem, and Monday mornings are members only, so it’s less crowded!

Go swimming. This could be at a pool, splash pad, lake, pond, stream, river, sprinkler, etc. Kids LOVE being in and near the water, floating, splashing, wading, fishing, or anything else they can think of! Discover those parks near you that have streams or ponds. Even if it seems small and dinky to you, it could still be amazing for your littles!

Do some baking or cooking and let the kids take the lead! Homemade popsicles (find a kit at your grocery store!), easy muffins (this can be a way to get some fruit or a veggie in them, especially if you’re growing zucchini in your garden), homemade ice cream (with or without an ice cream machine), or anything else that sounds like a good summer snack. I’m OCD when it comes to making unnecessary messes in the kitchen, so it can be hard to let them help (I’m the queen of not wanting their sticky hands in it) but they love it so much, and it makes for a good experience so they’ll want to stay involved when it comes to making breakfast for themselves, or packing their own lunches for school.

Grow something! This one is my personal favorite, maybe because we have a large vegetable garden. But sometimes all you need is a tomato plant or strawberry bush to get a green thumb going in your little ones. I find that my kids like the plants you just look at, but they love the plants that yield food! That gives them a different sort of interest in growing things, helping around the yard, and finding an enjoyable chore that needs to be done every day.

Whether it’s going out on the town, or staying home and finding fun, I hope you got some new ideas (including the free ones!) to till your time with the kids this summer. Enjoy!

Related Links:
2018 Summer Bucket List
Splash Pads & Water Slides
Kids’ Summer Movie Programs
99 Ways to Reply to I’m Bored
Summer Camps in the Triad
VBS in the Triad
Swim Clubs & Pools
Favorite Parks & Playgrounds
Event Calendar
Day Trips
What to do with your Preschooler this Summer

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