Summer is finally in full swing, and we could not be happier or more ready! As my fellow New Englanders know, it was a very LONG winter. But it’s officially week #2 of summer vaycay for us (lots of snow days held us up!), and we are all about making the most of every sunny second! Fortunately, we’ve found tons of ways to soak up summer without breaking the bank – the best things in life are free (or at least cheap!), after all!
Here are four of our favorites:
- PLAYGROUNDS. It’s an old standby, but Lane and Lauren have yet to meet a playground that they didn’t love. We’ve explored and discovered several awesome playgrounds nearby that are fenced in (super important to me, as I typically take the girls by myself, and it can get tricky trying to keep track of both of them as they run in different directions), and provide shady areas for those super hot days. Playgrounds are amazing for exercise, imagination, and socializing, but what I love most is the element of unstructured play that is missing from so many childhood activities these days. So much of what kids do is organized, and it’s refreshing to let them just be kids and play on their own terms. I’ve watched the girls’ confidence build as they master new tricks on the playground equipment and I always get a kick out of watching their interactions with the kids they meet. And, in the spirit of full disclosure, I actually really love the swings myself.
- THE LIBRARY. Do yourself a solid and check out your local Children’s Room! During the summer, the girls and I make it a point to go once a week to grab some fresh reads (currently on our nightstands: Your Purr-fect Birthday and Today I Will Fly) and take advantage of all our city’s library has to offer. We’ve signed up for the Summer Reading Program, which incentivizes kids to read with rewards and activities, and even discovered that our library offers discount or even free passes to many local museums, zoos, and other attractions. This month’s library activity calendar includes tons of creative, fun activities that kids love: everything from crafts and game nights to movies and story time in your PJ’s. I was pleasantly surprised at how much our library has to offer, and it keeps the girls motivated to read and learn through play all summer!
- SPLASH PADS. A splash pad is the perfect way to cool off without the stress of the deep end, the undertow, and/or creepy sea creatures. Don’t get me wrong: I adore the beach – when I’m alone and can take a nap or read a book. However, I ventured with two small children to the beach by myself last summer and it was the single least relaxing event I have ever taken part in. The packing and prep, the parking, the trekking across the sand with all the stuff… it’s exhausting. Enter: the Splash Pad. Luckily, we’ve got a few great ones nearby, and a couple of our faves are the Splash Pad Playspace at the Capron Park Zoo (this place has the added bonus of a great playground, too!) and the Splash Pad at Freetown State Forest. Extra points go to Freetown State Forest for its fully fenced-in, life-guarded, non-sandy and regularly cleaned grounds. It’s even got a shady picnic area, so bring the PB&J’s! Find out more about the splash pad in Freetown, as well as other splash pads in Massachusetts by clicking here.
- BERRY PICKING. If you’re looking for a cheap, fun outdoor activity, google nearby farms/farm stands. Late June and early July are prime for perfect strawberries – we went a couple of weeks ago and spent an amazing couple of hours picking the most beautiful strawberries for a cool $4.70. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried a warm, sweet, sun-ripened strawberry right off the vine. Blueberry season arrives later in the summer, around mid-August. Our family loves traditions, and berry picking has become something the girls look forward to each summer. Not only do we have a blast together, but we go home with yummy fresh fruit and support local farmers.
What are your favorite ways to savor summer? We’d love to read your suggestions and comments – we are always looking for new ideas! Happy Summer!