It happens every year. You’ve gone from hearing those ubiquitous “School’s Out (for Summer)” lyrics to feeling the end-of-summer blues in the blink of an eye. Well, don’t put away the beach towels just yet because we have 25 ways — from excursions with your kids to alone time with your sweetie — that will help you make the most of your August!
1. Watch a movie in the park. Check out the possibility of an outdoor summer film lineup, such as the HBO Bryant Park FIlm Festival in NYC, in your city or town. No matter what the flick, your kiddos will find it much more exciting to watch (with some Reese’s Pieces, of course!) under the stars.
2. Spend a day at the beach. If you live close to the shore, there is no excuse not to throw some swimsuits, sunscreen, and snacks in the car for a day of sand and surf. No coast? No problem. Your kids can still splash around in the pool, a local lake — or even the sprinklers.
3. Hit an amusement park. Talk about shaking things up. Most amusement parks (or even local fairs) have their share of kiddie rides that will keep your family active for hours. And, between the excitement and post-funnel-cake sugar rush, they will sleep like babies on the way home.
4. Share a pitcher of something delicious with some friends. Nothing says a lazy summer day like a fruity refreshment. Tuck the kids in early, find a yummy recipe (we’ve got 20 to choose from!), and invite the girls over for some quality time. You deserve it!
5. Try a new outdoor activity. Even the least sporty families need to scratch the itch to frolic in the summer sun. Rent some bikes, find a local hiking path, or even play a game of catch with your kids. It will make you feel better about indulging in a popsicle later on.
6. Buy a treat from the ice cream truck for yourself. We ALL scream for ice cream, so don’t let your kids have all the fun when they hear the luring chimes of the ice cream truck. Everyone needs a little Mister Softee sometimes.
7. Tie-dye with your kids. Channel your inner artist and get creative with your kids. All it takes is a few white T-shirts, colorful dye, a bag full of rubber bands, a space to get messy and some cool techniques. They will love their new clothes — and you won’t care if they get ruined at camp!
8. Make a healthy fruit shake. Give yourself the spa treatment — even as you are trying to get the kids out the door. Throw some fruit of your choice (a apple-pineapple-banana combo is delish) in the blender with a handful of kale, honey, ice cubes, and flaxseed for a nutritious on-the-go breakfast.
9. Host a barbecue potluck. Gather the crew for a last-days-of-summer soiree. Be it a backyard BBQ or a picnic in the park, decide on a theme and organize a menu, decorations, and games to get the party started.
10. Go back-to-school shopping early. It may sound like a chore, but stocking up on classroom supplies and new shoes now can save lots of September stress when a new routine is already underway. Stop for a lunch break (kids’ pick!) to refuel between errands.
11. Clean out a closet on a rainy day. We all say we are going to do it, but make it an activity by letting your kids play dress-up with old clothes you are going to give away or go through old photos that they will love to tease you about.
12. Finish a book you started (even if it’s from years ago!). Send the kids on a sleepover or put them to bed early and cozy up to that book that’s been on your nightstand for ages... because summer reading shouldn’t only be required for students.
13. Catch up on a must-see TV series. If you’re the only one who sits in silence while your friends are talking about Girls or Downton Abbey, the summer TV doldrums make catching up now more appealing. And for those with Netflix, get sucked in by Orange is the New Black.
14. Ask the grandparents to babysit for the weekend and take a road trip. Release your inner whimsy and plan a last-minute getaway. The kids will love being spoiled by their grandparents and you and your sweetie will love a little R&R at a B&B.
15. Enjoy an outdoor concert. You’ve probably sat through one too many Fresh Beat Band shows, so now it’s your turn. Discover a local band or find out if your favorite group from your youth is playing nearby — and expose the kids to new music.
16. Get your hands dirty. Before the sun reaches its peak, try to do some gardening. Tend to your vegetables, pull some weeds, and let your kids play in the dirt. (Just make sure those weeds aren’t poisonous plants in disguise!)
17. Have a technology-free day. Sure, the iPad can keep your kids entertained for hours, but what’s going to happen when they are forced to power off before getting on the bus? Gather the family for an old-school board game marathon or a round of charades.
18. Blast the song of the summer in the car. You don’t want your tweens to upstage you. Since Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is on practically every station all the time, turn up the radio and show your kids who’s cool now.
19. Have an classic movie marathon on a gloomy day. Moms love Yo Gabba Gabba, but even Brobee may need a timeout on a day stuck inside. Instead, cue up some (relative) classics (everyone enjoys Freaky Friday!) and foster those inner film buffs.
20. Make miniature golfing an evening activity. Sure, a round may take hours, but your kids will think you are a hole-in-one when you let them make the rules, keep their own scorecards and stay up past their bedtimes.
21. Get last-minute tickets to a baseball game. Buy them some peanuts and cracker jacks! Even if you can only find nosebleed seats, a day at the ballpark will keep the kids (and perhaps a sports-obsessed partner!) entertained for hours.
22. Go to the zoo. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Let your kids hear all those animal sounds you’ve been teaching them for themselves. Check the schedule of events before you go to make the most out of your experience.
23. Visit a national park. Go outdoors and explore. Your kids will have a greater appreciation for what they read in their history books. And if camping isn’t your thing (completely understood!), simply make a day trip out of it.
24. Try the latest food fad in your area. By now, everyone’s heard about the cronut craze. Go on your own food adventure to find local treats and food obsessions that are causing a stir. Plus, it’s a great way to expand your kids’ palettes.
25. Create a summer scrapbook with your kids. Make a day out of savoring the memories. You can go old-school with glue sticks, construction paper and photos. For the digitally-savvy, create a family photo blog (kept on private, of course) or Pinterest profile to document images relating to your summer fun.