45 Ideas for Summer Fun with Kids

I refuse to let another "must," "ought" or "should" prevent me from savoring this brief window of opportunity that I have to enjoy time with my only-young-once daughters.
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Ever struggle with the sense that your kids are growing up too quickly and far too much of their childhood is taken up by the drudgery of adulthood? In my life -- and I'm sure in yours -- there are a whole lotta obligations that have to be taken care of... yet I refuse to let another "must," "ought" or "should" prevent me from savoring this brief window of opportunity that I have to enjoy time with my only-young-once daughters.

My summer resolution is to stress less and savor more. Rather than allowing myself to be ruled by a never-ending, always-growing To-Do list of professional and household tasks, I am making time and space for pure, unfettered fun.

As the 2011-12 school year winds down, I am counting the days until my daughters are done with school for the year. I can't wait for no-hurry mornings, stay-up-past-bedtime nights and endless days of summer fun. Scratch "pack lunch" and "finish homework" off of that daily To Do list; summer vacation calls for filling our days with joy. Here is the Top 45 Summer To Do list we created together -- the only kind of task list I wanna see for the next few months:

1.Make stepping stones
2.Have a car wash
3.Go to a Drive-In theatre
5.Swim a lot
6.See fireworks
7.Organize a block party for our neighbors
8.Run through a fountain
9.Make homemade ice cream
10.Toss water balloons
11.Run through a sprinkler
12.Play Red Rover, freeze tag, and hide-n-go seek for hours on end
13.Decorate the driveway with chalk
14.Sell lemonade at the park
15.Donate the money to a charity
16.Catch fireflies
17.Look at the stars
18.Sleep in a fort in the basement
19.Sleep in a tent in the backyard
20.Go for a long bike ride
21.Have a picnic at the park
22.Toss a frisbee
23.Learn how to play Frisbee golf
24.Play croquet, badminton and wiffle ball daily
25.Swing so high that we think our feet will touch the sky
26.Get dizzy on a tire swing
27.Build a sand castle
28.Crash a sandcastle (with permission, of course!)
29.Float down a lazy river on an inner tube
30.Drink water from a hose
31.Eat cones and cones of soft ice cream
32.Make swirly designs in the night sky with sparklers
33.Roast hot dogs and marshmallows on long sticks
34.Eat s'mores
35.Run around after dark, decked out in glow bracelets
36.Go to a museum
37.Ride bikes with friends
38.Rollerblade everywhere!
39.Plant flowers
40.Look for salamanders under garden stones
41.Enjoy the smell of freshly mowed grass
42.Lie in a hammock
43.Blow bubbles
44.Jump rope
45.Enjoy being young... and living summer with young people.

Signe Whitson is a child and adolescent therapist, mother of two girls, and author of Friendship & Other Weapons: Group Activities to Help Young Girls Cope with Bullying. For more information, please visit her at www.signewhitson.com, Find her on Facebook, or Follow her on Twitter @SigneWhitson.

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