It's hard not to dream big at the beginning of
summer-the tantalizing prospect of activities seems to stretch
endlessly ahead. Then swim lessons, camps, work and lazy days creep
up until August arrives. And who hasn't tried to cram a summer's
worth of activities into the last week?
Before summer slips away this year, get together with some
friends and plan three months' worth of field trips. Sharing the
planning makes a lighter workload for everyone, while also ensuring
the summer isn't suddenly over without some fun.
Friends, calendars, ideas
In the same way having a workout partner increases the
likelihood of actually working out, having activity buddies
increases the chance you'll do some of the things you
Start by charting out the summer and reserve some days for
field trips. You don't want to be too rigid (there's plenty of that
during the school year), but you don't want to let summer slide by,
"Five to six outings for the summer-about once every two
weeks-is ideal," says Leslie Conneely, a professional organizer
from LaGrange and owner of Space Simplified. "Keeping it always on
the same day of the week ('Fun Fridays') serves as an easy reminder
What to do?
The Chicago area offers a dizzying array of options for
kids. Brainstorm together and find a good variety: indoor, outdoor,
free, cultural, nature-based, educational or just plain
"When our neighborhood planned weekly field trips, we made
sure there was something for everyone so no one got bored," says
mom of three Laura Rehling, whose neighborhood field trips included
strawberry picking in Wisconsin, Blackberry Farm and a train ride.
"We had as much fun as the kids did!"
Activities can be as varied as visiting one of the
downtown museums, the Indiana Dunes, an amusement park or carnival,
an outdoor concert, a hike at a nature center or a visit to a
Once the basic itinerary and dates are set, find a group
leader for each trip. Ideally, each person only plans one or two
outings. The leader does the legwork for the rest of the group,
nailing down directions, cost, parking, snack or lunch options and
a general description of the activity.
Planning as much as you can in advance makes it easier to
pick up and go on the day of the trip.
The best part of summer is the break from routine and the
chance to relax and have fun. All the planning is worth it when you
look back proudly at what you accomplished rather than with regret
at what you didn't do.
Let us plan your weekend with the best family events and activities in Chicagoland.
Start the week right with deals, prizes, parent life hacks and more delivered straight to your inbox.
Need last-minute ideas for a weekend of family fun? No worries. We've got you.
Get the inside scoop on the people, places and things we are loving right now.
Resources, tips, inspiration and more for parents of children with special needs.
Score exclusive offers from our fabulous advertisers.