31 ways to enjoy an old fashioned summer

Remember what it was like as a kid … spending summers traipsing through tall grass, only returning home for food and hydration? The lunch table consisted of balancing a paper plate (if any plate at all) on your grass-stained knees while sitting on the steps, carefully setting aside watermelon seeds for an afternoon “contest.”

Today, a lot of times we equate fun with location. Where are we going and what will we do there? We Google recommendations for the best spots to have the best time. But I invite you to reflect on your summer as a child. Certainly the rare vacations away from home were a blast, but for me, the memories that stick out are the times I spent closer to home.

Here are 31 ways your family can enjoy a good old-fashioned summer:

1. Pick Your Own Berries– Lather on the sunscreen and feel the warmth on your back as your enjoy some of Maine’s yummiest treats.

2. Agricultural Fairs– Forget the rides and walk the fairgrounds.

3. Spend all day at the beach– Nibble on sandy sandwiches, play in the surf, reapply sunscreen and repeat until dusk.

4. Lemonade Stand– You never know, you could be raising a future contestant of Shark Tank.

5. Jump Rope– Can you double-dutch?

6. Hopscotch– Don’t forget the perfect rock

7. Games on the picnic table- Cribbage, Backgammon, Chess, Checkers, Mancala.

8. Croquet– My grandmother taught me this game when I was little. Still one of my favorites.

9. Badminton/Volleyball– Grab the neighbors and get active!

10. Searching Tide Pools– Hours of fun (and a great learning opportunity!)

11. Bird Watching– Using supplies around the house, make a feeder!

12. Makin’ Mud pies– Let the kids remind you much fun it is to be one with the mud!

13. Picking wildflowers- Get your vases ready for those dandelion bouquets.

14. Water balloons– “Nooooo!” (**Splash**) “Do it again!”

15. Slip-n-slide– Who needs a waterpark?

16. Run through the sprinkler– No sprinkler? Squirt each other with the hose!

17. Dance in the rain– Or at least stomp in puddles. Mud washes … memories stain.

18. Park Crawl- Make the rounds or find a favorite. Stay all day.

19. Travel By Map– If you ARE planning a vacation, put down the GPS and grab a map!

Lily Bay State Park, June 2016

Lily Bay State Park, June 2016

20. Roadside Veggie Stand- I still frequent the same vegetable stand where the original owner used to give me my own pickling cucumber as a child.

21. Build Forts– On those rainy days, leave no pillow or cushion at rest.

22. Tenting- It doesn’t matter if you go to a campground or set up in the backyard (or perhaps the living room if the elements aren’t cooperating).

23. Picnics– Leave a blanket in the car all summer for some impromptu fun.

24. Garden- Whether a traditional garden, an urban vertical garden or a single tomato plant in your windowsill, teach your kids the value in growing their own food.

25. Homemade popsicles- The Dollar Store molds can make all the difference on hot days.

26. Sidewalk chalk– Having a blank canvas is sure to ignite creativity and laughter.

27. Skipping rocks- Upta camp or at a nearby stream, kids of ALL ages are sure to join in.

28. Catch lightning bugs- These glowing creatures are such a mystery for young eyes.

29. Bubbles– AND it’s easy to make your own!

30. Cook over open flames– Camp fires aren’t just for s’mores!

31. Go to a ball game– Even if you don’t know anybody who’s playing. Round up the family and have a night under the lights.

Cheers to a summer of simplicity and lifelong memories. What are you looking forward to this summer? I would love to hear some of your favorite summer pastimes from childhood. Tweet, Facebook or comment below!

A quiet beach day in Seal Harbor

Erinne Magee

About Erinne Magee

Erinne is a Maine-based writer and freelance editor specializing in first person essays, poetry and picture books. Her work has appeared in publications like: The Washington Post, Redbook, Yahoo News, The Huffington Post, Good Housekeeping and The Toronto Sun. For more, visit: www.erinnemagee.com