If I see one more post telling me to build a fort in my living room with my kids, I will scream. Taking 15 minutes to destroy a whole bunch of things, to *make* 3.5 minutes of entertainment for my children. No. They can do that during their free play time.
I said here that'd I'd come up with a summer fun list, and here it is! There are a mix of general and local (North Carolina) ideas.
-Last week, when Charlie was at soccer camp, we went to Cameron Village Library story time on Monday, NC Museum of Natural Sciences story time on Tuesday, and Barnes and Noble story time on Wednesday. We LOVE story time.
-The best story time in Wake County is the Fuquay Varina Library. Hands down. Perfectly planned and executed. Others are good, (and we've been to pretty much every one in Wake Co.), but they're kinda chaotic and more of a music, let's jump around time.
-Even when libraries aren't having story times, we love going to the library to fill up our bag with new books. Our library has many extra activities as well. Crafts, summer reading programs, special workshops, etc. I check the library's calendar frequently!
-Our local town is getting a splash pad at the end of August (just in time for all the kids to go back to school), but Cary has one at Waverly Place. It's a smaller one, but it's fantastic, because it's completely fenced in, and from 10am to about 11:15ish, there are a few shaded benches for momma and baby.
-I love baking with the boys. (My extra 15 pounds post-baby are proof of that...ahh!!!) One of my favorite (any time) activities with the boys is to bake a treat and take it to someone.
-I asked on Facebook the other day for suggestions on yummy muffin recipes. I got some great ones! This blueberry muffin recipe is the latest one I tried, and it is delicious.
-This one might seem like a no-brainer, but...play dates! Have a friend over to your house and beat the heat inside while your kids have fun with other kids.
*Go out for a treat:
-Going out for an occasional treat is so fun (and what kid doesn't love a treat??!) An ice cream cone, frozen yogurt, Hawaiian shaved ice, a cupcake...it makes for a special outing. The Cupcake Bite has a blondie cupcake that I dream about.
-I love a museum. Most of them are free admission as well, which is really nice.
*NC Museum of Natural Sciences is one of my favorites. We head straight for the butterflies, get an overpriced chocolate chip cookie, go to story time or meet the animals, walk across the bridge to the giant theater, go back across to see the whale bones, and then get out before the 100th field trip comes through. That usually takes a little over 2 hours.
*The NC Museum of Art is another one of my favorites. They have a fantastic kids' program (scheduling varies, so you'll have to check online), and afterwards you can pack a snack or lunch and let the kids run through the water fountains outside. Here's one of many posts I've written about the Art Museum.
*There are tons of other museums in NC. Marbles (gotta admit, I'm not a huge fan of Marbles, but some people love it), Museum of Life and Science in Durham, History Museum in downtown Raleigh...
-I mentioned earlier about taking the boys to see a kids' matinee at American Dance Festival. Here is a schedule of the rest of their summer shows.
-Many movie theaters participate in $1 kids movies throughout the week. Here is the summer schedule.
-Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex, NC also offers free movies throughout the summer mornings.
-Carolina Puppet Theater offers puppet shows with a purchased ticket in Holly Springs and in Wake Forest. This isn't my favorite show, but I definitely think it's worth a try if you haven't done it before.
-Michaels Craft Store offers a craft class for a really great price. We did a class this week for $4 per kid. This class had potential to be really great, but our teacher wasn't friendly or helpful or aware of what was going on. I definitely think it's worth $8, though, for my kids to do a craft every now and then at their store. The one they did this week would've cost me at least $20 for all the supplies if we had done it at home.
-Lots of Community Centers offer classes throughout the summer.
-Many stores offer a drop in kids' crafts as well!
*Yummy Lunch Spots
-The only reason I go to Chick Fil A anymore is for a medium coke and an occasional breakfast of chicken minis. I can't anymore. I just can't. BUT, we love going out for lunch, so I've been trying to find yummy places. Explore your town and surrounding towns for local eats. Our favorites are The Meeting Corner and Anna's Pizzeria in Fuquay Varina, Nofo at the Pig in Raleigh, and The Village Deli in Cameron Village in Raleigh.
-If you're in NC, my friend Maddie, has an Instagram called Raleigh Revealed, and posts THE yummiest food spots around.
-My big boys really enjoy reading. We've read lots of books that now have movies with them, so we're going to start making that a "thing". Reading the books and then watching the movies. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Harry Potter (at least the first couple of them), etc.
*Blast from the Past
-I'll open up my camera and find tons of random selfies (of Charlie and Walker), pictures of toys, the bottom of chair legs, a book, and blurry action shots. They love taking pictures. This week I'm going to give them a disposable camera, let them have at it, and then get them all developed.
-I realized my children have no idea who Michael Jackson is. (How and why would they?!), but STILL!, I have to teach them and show them all sorts of dance moves. My kids love hearing about things I liked when I was younger, so this summer is going to be spent teaching them about musicians, shows (I made them watch Oklahoma the other day...you're welcome boys), all sorts of things they NEED to know about.
-Barnes and Noble and Target have really great workbooks that the boys enjoy filling out. Letters, additions, subtraction, patterns, telling time, etc....I love a workbook for afternoon activity.
-Go Fish is such a fun game with little people.
-Since schedules are a bit more laid back during summer, it's a great time to visit family members you normally don't get to see. If your family is too far away, spend time drawing pictures for or writing letters to them and sending them in the mail. Everyone loves snail mail!
I'm also a big fan of combining these fun things. A few Mondays ago, we went to story time, then rode the train at Pullen Park, and finished off the morning (while spoiling our lunch) with ice cream. Another day, we picked up a yummy breakfast at Whole Foods before heading over to the splash pad for a couple of hours.
What are some things you like to do (or used to do growing up) during the summer?!