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It’s right around the corner… that glorious time for staying up late, kicking back, and doing nothing at all. Make certain your children get all the summer that’s coming to them by including some of these ideas, even just once.

1. Have at least one real picnic. You know, the kind where you spread a blanket on the grass and eat food with your fingers. It doesn’t have to be fancy – in fact, the best picnics are not fancy at all. The best picnics are casual, fun affairs. Be sure to have at least one this summer.

2. Watch fireworks at least once. Maybe it will be on the Fourth of July, maybe sometime else. But make sure you and your kids watch one professional fireworks display sometime this summer. Yes, I know, it makes the kids stay up late and, yes, I know, these events are crowded and buggy. But take a blanket to claim your space and some bug lotion and have a great time.

3. Get back to nature at least once. Take a walk on the seashore, row across the lake, explore the woods, or hike up a mountain. You don’t have to go far – with small children you might not get very far at all. But take time to really look at things, especially things down at your child’s level. Bring along a baggie for the pretty rocks and interesting sticks that will need to come home with you.

4. Enjoy outdoor entertainment at least once. Maybe it’s a ball game or outdoor concert. Maybe it’s a drive-in movie or a Renaissance fair. Sometime this summer, get out with the crowds and have a good time. Many of these events are free or low cost if you check around for what’s happening in your community.

5. Take at least one road trip. Go by car, by bus or even by bicycle, but get out on the open road and travel from here to there. Use a map to plot your route and be sure to stop at historical markers and roadside lemonade stands. Remember it’s not the destination that matters but the getting there.

6. Camp out at least once. Even if it’s just in the backyard, sleep outside (or let your children sleep outside) sometime this summer. If you can have a campfire and roast hot dogs and marshmallows, even better! If you can stay up long enough to see the stars, double-good! Listen to the night noises and enjoy the peacefulness of the dark.

7. Play in water at least once. Go swimming, run through the lawn sprinkler, toss water balloons or shoot squirt guns. Be ready for the first really hot day of the year with whatever you need for water play.

8. Just once, do something you’ve never done before. Maybe you’ll go panning for gold or gems. Maybe you’ll visit an archeological dig. Maybe you’ll watch a demolition derby or a horse race or a dog show. Find out what’s happening in your area and do something new-to-you.

Anchor your family’s summer activities with just one simple event every week. Don’t be too busy or too sophisticated for downhome summer fun. The more you do, the more fun you’ll have and the more memories you’ll make.

Good summers are full of good memories.