With school coming to a close, the summer conundrum for nearly every parent is how to keep the kids busy over the summer. I’m a big fan of outdoor activity and I know how important it is to make sure that children of all ages are getting adequate exercise and minimizing screen time, so with that being said, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite at-home projects to keep kids of all ages occupied with some good old fashioned hands-on fun. Thanks to This Old House for the inspiration and let’s get into it.
Build a Lemonade Stand
An old-fashioned lemonade stand is not only fun to create with the kids, it also injects some entrepreneurial spirit at a young age. Building and decorating the stand itself is an awesome outdoor art project and the pocket money earned is a great introduction into the young one's first future summer job.
Create a Game Zone
Any yard can be transformed with a little bit of imagination. Dedicate one day a week to a new game and get the kids involved in creating a theme park right in their own green space. Slip and slide, croquet, horseshoes, and badminton are easy, budget friendly options to keep the young ones active and occupied.
Plant a Mini Garden
You would be amazed by how much you can harvest in even the smallest of spaces. Crowd-pleasing herbs like mint, summer fruits like strawberries and raspberries, and even veggies such as tomatoes and cucumbers are all easy to tend to and the kids love watching them as they grow. You can even make a portable garden out of an old wheelbarrow or wagon.
Set Up a Swing
Nothing quite says summer like whooshing through a cool breeze on a homemade swing. I’m partial to a tire swing but you can make pretty much anything with a sturdy seat, some rope, and a solid tree. If you want an option for both kids and adults to share, I love a hammock, especially the ones from the brand ENO. They can be set up and taken down in less than five minutes, making them portable for taking on the road or rotating around the yard.
Spend a Night Under the Stars
Camping is a fun family activity but the packing, travel, and set-up make it more practical as a once in awhile occurrence. So why not break out the tent and sleeping bags for an evening under the stars in your own backyard? Roasting some smores and telling a few ghost stories will make it a night to remember, even if you end up sleeping in the house.
Summer is but once a year, so make this one to remember and have some fun! As a final note, I want to wish all of my fellow dads a Happy Father’s Day and a big congratulations to our local high school graduates, especially my great niece Emily Mitchell. You kids are the future of our city and we can’t wait to see what big things will come from you. Enjoy this special time in your lives and have a great summer.
Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.