Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Lovin' With Hilary

Sweet Liv asked me to blogsit for her today while she's off on a summer vacation adventure with her 
family, and I couldn't be more pleased to make myself at home in her online space!  I blog over 
at BabyMooHoo, mostly about my chubby-cheeked toddler and the challenges and joys of being
 her parent.  Feel free to stop by and say hi! 

Liv suggested that the joys of summertime be a guide in writing a little something for her readers, so I 
thought I'd share some of the things on our lengthy summer bucket list that might inspire some hot 
weather fun in your own families.  I'm recently unemployed (but don't cry for me, Argentina--I'm 
totally soaking up every second of this sudden gift of a summer vacation with my teacher-husband
 and daughter), so we're planning a lot of our upcoming activities on a very limited budget.  I've tried 
to organize them here based on what's free to do at home, what's cheap to do in the community, and 
what we feel is worth the occasional splurge.  I've linked back to lots of other blogs (mostly found
 via Pinterest!  Find me under MooHooVille!) to give credit to all the creative mamas who have inspired
 my ideas, and to hopefully provide you with even more resources for your summer planning. 

First things first:  Stuff to do in your own backyard!


- Have fun with water at any opportunity.  Our summer fun is pretty much based around all forms of 
water (we're lucky to live on the coast, so the beach is an easy morning outing), including something 
as simple as a sprinkler or an oversized plastic storage container or cheapie kiddie pool filled to 
overflowing.  Throw some cut-up sponges in and make a water fight of it.  Use warm water and bubbles
 and treat your kid to an outdoor bath time as the sun goes down.  If a rainy day has you down, shake 
off the crankies by embracing the wet:  put you and your kiddo in wellies and count how many puddles 
you can jump in.  Make a game of tracking down the biggest ones you can find, and award applause 
& points for the person who creates the biggest splash.


- Dust off your camping gear and set up a tent in the backyard.  We have never taken Natalie 
camping (shhh, don't tell our fellow Mainers!), and are going to do a test-run in the backyard this 
summer.  We plan on going big, and so should you:  campfire dinner, flashlight shadow puppets, the 
whole nine.  Plus, if it's a disaster we can always just cry uncle and make our way inside to the comfort
 of our own beds.

- Encourage your child's inner explorer and artist.  The best toy we have probably ever bought Natalie is
 a magnifying glass, and we have loved it even more now that the weather is warm enough to explore 
with it outside.  A little cheap one can provide tons of entertainment as you investigate your yard, looking 
for flowers or hunting for bugs or discovering what lives underneath rocks.  If your kid loves to draw, 
make your own sidewalk chalk and unleash your little artist on the pavement to create illustrations or just
 to play games.

No or Low Cost Fun:

- Take advantage of what your community has going on for free.  Parades, weekly story hour at the
 library, public pools and beaches, hiking trails, school playgrounds, or searching out geocaches make 
really easy, free, fun days with your kids.  Check out your community calendar for information on 
when otherwise pricey places (children's museums, zoos, science centers, etc.) offer special free 
events, which happens pretty frequently in our area.

- Be a tourist for a day or a weekend, and visit the historical and socially significant stuff you otherwise
 don't really notice in your community.  For us, that's lighthouses, for you it might be forts or battlefields. 
 If a nearby town has an annual festival (we'll be lucky enough to hit up Lobster Festival,
  Blues Festival, Summer Solstice, and Potato Blossom Festival this year!), pack up the kids and go. 
 Most festivals of this type are either free to get in, or offer lowered admission rates for families 
on certain days.


- Give each of your kids a small amount of cash and visit a local Farmer's Market together.  They 
can each spend their allotment and then you can all take it on a picnic or back home to cook together.


- Some other low-cost stuff on our summer bucket list this year includes taking Natalie to her first movie
 at the theater, going mini-golfing (under $10 for our family of three), bowling, and berry picking


Stuff that's Worth the Splurge:

I think it's worth budgeting for a couple of special, pricey summer activities, even if the rest of your 
summer is on the cheap.  For us, paying to get into a National Park or go to a concert or hitting up a 
special kids' show like Yo Gabba Gabba live, would be worth the splurge.  Other things that might be
 worth the extra cost for your family would be sporting events (even the minor league or triple A teams), 
a unique museum exhibit, a water park on a hot day, and more.  Having something extra special to 
look forward to in the summer is super fun, so take the time to pick out a "splurge!"

And if it rains...

- Crafts, crafts, crafts.  Make bird feeders to hang later, create hand-print or thumb-print art, or make 
your own playdough.

- Build a fort out of sheets and stay in your pj's all day while you watch movies and eat the special 
snacks your kids only get to have once in a while.  A full summer of rainy days would make this one get 
old, quick, but a special snuggly day in front of the television can make some of the best
 memories ever.

- Use it as a chance to do some community service:  bake cookies for your local soup kitchen to 
serve at dessert, felt some cat toys for the animal shelter, make cards or tissue paper flower centerpieces
 for an area nursing home.

I hope some of these ideas have inspired a bit of summer bucket list planning for your families!  I couldn't 
be more excited that the sunshine has finally made its way to the Northeast, and I plan on cramming as 
much fun into our days as possible before the Maine winter has us hibernating again.  Please share some 
of your own favorite summer activities & vacation ideas!


Deanna Fike said...

awesome post, hilary! i'm always looking for new ideas at home with the boys. and we are definitely always playing in the water around here. :) it was fun looking at younger pictures of natalie too! :)

Hilary@BabyMooHoo said...

thanks for having me!  i've been loving this series--so many fun summer tips & trips & stories to read about.  i hope you guys are having a blast on vacation!  i can't wait to read all about it. :)

Hilary@BabyMooHoo said...

it's crazy to look back on older pictures of the natster!  she's grown so much over the past year.  i always love seeing the older pictures of gage that pop up on your blog every now and then--it's amazing to think that little baby has become that hilarious little guy!

Ashley W. said...

Great ideas!  My favorite has to be making tissue paper flowers for a local nursing home.  I think that will be on our summer to-do list as well :)