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Create summer memories

Posted: June 10, 2010 10:51 p.m.
Updated: June 11, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Remember the summer days when you held a camping adventure under the stars in your own backyard, played board games with your parents or enjoyed an ice cream bar on a hot night? Do you remember learning to ride a bike through the neighborhood, waving to everyone sitting out on the front porch or working on their landscaping?

Now that you have children of your own, summer is a great opportunity to repeat those memories and share them with your kids.

Here are some ideas to bring back the memories:

Camp in the backyard
Remember making s'mores and chasing fireflies while camping in your backyard? Recruit help from your kids to set up the campsite and then spend the afternoon playing games, looking at the clouds and talking about bugs.

After grilling and roasting marshmallows over a fire pit, make the experience an educational one and teach your children about the planets and stars they'll be sleeping under.

Decorate the sidewalk
Who hasn't drawn oversized pictures on the sidewalks and driveway?

Bring the kids outside for a day of fun and creativity - decorating the sidewalk with chalk drawings is a creative outlet for young artists. Trace the outlines of your kids' bodies and teach them about different body parts. And there's easy clean-up - either wait for rain from Mother Nature or wash away the art with a hose for a clean canvas.

Announce a family games tournament
The games of your childhood can entertain your children for hours - especially if they haven't played them before. Organize various competitions and races, such as an egg-carrying race, an obstacle course and a soccer ball dribbling contest.

Fashion a challenge to see who can create the most delicious or craziest ice cream sundae. Bring all the fixings to the patio and if there's a mess, turn on the sprinkler for a fun way to clean up sticky hands and faces.

Create a backyard adventure
Bring back the homemade stage by having your children bring their favorite books to life. Don't forget to share the stories you loved when you were a child - they might become favorites of your children.

If there's a sandbox, dress as pirates and have a buried treasure hunt.

For mystery fans, set up a scavenger hunt with clues hidden around the house and yard. And for young playwrights, the backyard area provides the perfect stage to decorate, dress up and play out a scene.


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