The taste of ice cold lemonade, the feeling of the cool grass between your toes, the sounds of children laughing, the smell of sunscreen and chlorine, and seeing your neighbors in their yards… ahh, summer time is finally here! It doesn’t matter your age or what your work schedule looks like, this time of year seems to bring out the fun in most of us. For our kids it is the break they have been looking forward to since New Year. For adults, it reminds us of our own youth and how carefree we felt in the summer. Summer is a great time to reconnect as a family and to strengthen our relationships with each other. Beware, summer is fleeting! Start planning some fun things to do as a family now.
Try some of these suggestions to make some summer family fun of your own:
Sleep under the stars in your own backyard
Have a water fight
Go for a picnic
Tend a garden
Build a butterfly or fairy garden
Go on a summer nature hunt
Have a hula hoop, jump rope, or basketball throwing contest
Climb a tree
Go play on the slide, swings, merry-go-round at your local park
A tried and true family fun time is available at your local library. Most libraries have at least a summer reading program and many have something several times a week to keep kids of all ages engaged during the summer. Call your local library or visit their website to see what is planned. Many events are for the whole family. In addition, you can always come up with fun things to do as a family around the resources at the library. You can do a reading challenge as a family, borrow movies or music to use as a family, find a cookbook and cook a recipe together, research something at the library and then go do it in real life as a family. Library cards are free. The possibilities with a library card are endless.
Check out your local nature center. They have several activities each season that are free or minimal charge. Kids are amazed at how each visit to the local nature center is a whole new adventure. They will see or discover something new each time they go. Here is a list of the nature center in Colorado. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nature_centers_in_Colorado.
Speaking of nature, if you live in the Pueblo area there is a great day camp for middle school students through the CSU Extension call Pueblo Youth Naturally. They are always looking for adult volunteers. What a great way to bond with your kids this summer by participate in a camp with them. The cost is $25 for the full week and includes entrance into all outings, transportation to all outings, snacks, and lunch. For more information go to http://pueblo.colostate.edu/pyn/pyn.shtml. If you live in other parts of the state check with your community colleges, universities and cooperative extensions to see what they are offering this year.
Here in Colorado you can find a list of free events by going to www.freeindenver.com/denver-free-days. You will find list for free days at local museums, the zoo and other attractions, movies in the park, free concert series, etc. The majority of these are in the Denver Metro area, but there are some things listed for other parts of the state if you do not feel like a trip to Denver.
Another great site for the Denver/Boulder areas is http://www.milehighonthecheap.com.
If you are living in the Colorado Springs area check out http://springsbargains.com.
Colorado Parents magazine puts out a list every month of free and low cost family-friendly events around the state. You can find their magazine in various locations across the state, including medical office and restaurants. They also have an online publication at coloradoparent.com, including an annual publication dedicated to “Everything Family”.
These are just a few of the free things you can do to make some family memories this summer. Get out there and remember what you loved about being young and carefree. Kids love to see their parents having fun alongside them.
For more suggestions on ways to have fun and build memories as a family, additional ways to support your family and for other great parenting tips call the Family Support Line at 1-877-695-7996 OR 1-866-Las-Familias (866-527-3264) for Spanish speakers. You can also e-mail stacy@FamiliesFirstColorado.org with questions or concerns. Check us out on Facebook at Families First Colorado. The Family Support Line offers parenting tips, resources and information only and does not serve as legal or mental health advice. We believe you are the paramount person to decide what is best for your family. Comments provided by non-Families First individuals are not the opinion of Families First.