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Life Goals

Summer Fun Activities for the Whole Family
By Laura Trahan

Summer is fast approaching. Of course, I have already begun planning on how to entertain my kids through the long days of summer. Ok, not really, but now is as good a time as any to share some summer fun ideas for you to survive the summer with family in tow.

It only takes a day before I hear from my five-year-old that he is bored. With the multitude of toys, books, movies, cds, instruments you would think he would never leave his room. Unfortunately, he takes summer vacation to mean an endless time of events and attractions with mom and dad right there to meet his every want.

So here are my staples, the things I do every summer to keep the kids entertained.

Trips to the park
Luckily, we live within a few minutes of at least three parks. We have it all. We can spend one day feeding ducks, the next day climbing, sliding, swinging, etc. State and city parks are miracle workers for those stuck in the house. They are normally free to enter. Some have baseball and soccer fields, so for athletic families there is nothing better than a game against each other to bring out the best and worst.

Parks are also great if you hit them early in the morning when it isn’t so hot you can fry an egg. Bring a picnic lunch for you and the kids. Then pray the kids fall asleep on the way home for some much needed rest time.

For those who still want to involve dad, pack a picnic lunch and meet him at a park near his work. This allows dad to get out of the stuffy office and enjoy some outside time with the kids.

If you do not have a pool or know someone close who does, check to see if there is a local city pool. Nothing tires kids more than a day of swimming. Usually, local pools and subdivision pools are low or no cost so you don’t have to worry about blowing that summer budget on daily outings. Be sure and pack lots of refreshments, sunscreen and towels.

Also, for those with preschoolers, the cheap inflatable pools can bring much delight to a stir-crazy toddler. My suggestion is to blow them up way in advance so you don’t have fussy kids asking you if you are done yet while your face is turning blue from exhaustion.

Go to the museum
Denver has a number of wonderful museums to offer a chance for kids to explore and learn. Here are just a few you might explore:

  • Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave
  • Butterfly Pavilion
  • The Colorado Railroad Museum
  • The Children’s Museum
  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science
  • Colorado History Museum
  • Denver Art Museum – all sorts of special things for kids, too!
  • Forney Transportation Museum
  • Colorado History Museum

The other advantage is that museums are indoors so there is no worry about heat exhaustion or rainstorms. Also they are not too expensive; some museums have free family times.

Be a tourist in your own town
Many places have great attractions, but oftentimes because you live there, you never actually experience those attractions. Take a day to hit some of the tourist spots and remember why you love your town. If they are historical, teach the kids why they are important to the community.

In addition to museums, there is so much beautiful wilderness around the Denver area that is wonderful to explore. Whether it’s staying close and exploring Red Rocks or hiking up in the in the high country, take advantage and declare this summer: Tourist Summer.

Amusement parks or water parks
The cost for these can be a little more expensive, but it makes a great vacation day for the whole family. I would not go it alone, however. If you have more than one kid, it is necessary to bring a spouse. There is just too much involved with keeping up with more than one kid. Plus, if they are different ages, they most likely cannot do the same attractions.

This has been my new best friend. On almost every block right now, we have new places for kids popping up. The great thing about these places is that they offer open play. These places are a lifesaver when you need something quick. They usually have a multitude of inflatables ranging from moonwalks to giant slides to rock walls, etc.

For five dollars, your little ones can jump their little hearts out and in turn exhaust themselves in time for naptime. Meeting friends at these places is great because it gives you someone to talk to while your kids runs wild.

Get creative
Put up a tent in the living room. Go fly a kite. Schedule a movie marathon filled with a (rainy!) day of movies your child chooses. Go all out with popcorn and sodas. Go roller skating or bowling. Take in a ball game. Have a water gun or water balloon fight. The kids will enjoy seeing a silly side of you.

The sky is the limit when summer is here. The important thing is to plan early and stay busy. Think back to your own childhood and what you enjoyed. This is your opportunity to relive those long days of summer. The truth is they are actually short and go by so fast. Before long, your kids will have their own kids and you won’t get that opportunity to spend a whole summer with them. O.k., add on to the list, a trip to grandma’s house. Sure to be a great summer tradition.

Life goals. Money goals. In that order.

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