Tomorrow the calendar turns over to a new month and for many families, will be entering the month that kids return to school and scheduled life gets back on track. It also signifies the start of the last summer adventures – be it vacations, little getaways, spending time with each other and exploring a few new things to do! I’ve put together a few ideas for making the most of these last weeks of summer break.
If your kids are anything like mine, they LOVE technology – video games, iPad, new games on mommy and daddy’s phones. I have tried my hardest to limit their “indoor” time during this mild summer. With that being said, I love finding new games and activities to play as a family that don’t require batteries or a plug. Enter Unplug & Play. This family book has activities that don’t require any battery life and work for people of all ages. In fact, most of them require nothing more than a piece of paper and writing utensils. You can easily take the book along with you on a road trip without worrying about taking up space. Tuck it into a college grad’s suitcase or use it to keep kids busy during a doctor’s lobby. At only 100 pages long, it fits perfectly into a purse or diaper bag as well!
Make time to head to this garden escape. With lush rolling grounds and plenty of space to run around, the Chicago Botanic Garden is a must-see for your summer bucket list. One of our absolute favorite parts of the grounds was the Model Railroad Garden. My boys loved following the paths of the multiple trains and noticing different landmarks, such as the White House. You may even stumble upon a child favorite, Thomas the Train, somewhere along the way. Check out the explorer backpacks at the front counter that you can rent for the day and allow your kids to explore the gardens from their own viewpoint. I also recommend stopping at the Cafe to try out some of the new menu items that include garden-sourced fruits and vegetables.
This past May, I planned a mall scavenger hunt for my niece and nephews when their school year was over. I required them to use phones to take pictures and videos, incorporated acts of good will and asked them to find small items to purchase at the stores throughout the mall. They had a blast running all over the city (and being driven by grandma) and it was a great kick-off to the summer. Plan your own scavenger hunt and create summer memories that the kids will take with them as they head back to school. Pinterest also has a plethora of other ideas to make your hunt a hit!
One of our other favorite stops in the area is the Brookfield Zoo. With the addition of Zoo Nights throughout the summer to walk the grounds at night, we love seeing some of our favorite animals. You can spend the entire day walking the zoo, letting the kids roam at one of the many parks and exploring the exhibits at a leisurely pace. We try to make several trips throughout the summer, so if you haven’t gone yet, make sure to head there this August!
What are your last summer-month plans? Anything that you simply must do or places you must visit before summer flits away? Check out even more ideas on our Pinterest page (http://www.pinterest.com/chiparent).