We always say that summer ends too soon, but this year it seems to be flying by faster than usual. Some of you probably feel like you have been too busy to stop and enjoy the outdoors with your kids or to spend time together as a family. So, we came up with a list of simple ideas to kick up your summer fun before school is back!

1. Go to the beach! This is definitely a summer must. One of the awesome things about living in or near Sacramento is that we are close to so many great beaches! Whether you take a scenic drive up to Lake Tahoe’s beautiful shores, or head to the coast, the whole family will love spending time soaking up the sun and playing in the sand. Don’t forget the buckets to make a fabulous sand castle kingdom. Remember to bring some high SPF sunscreen along too.

2. Start up a weekly Family Game Night! This would be a great thing to start up before the kids are back to school. We love the idea of creating a fun filled evening with the family, especially because you can spend more time together amidst your busy schedules. Ask the kids for some board game suggestions that they would like to play. You can always try a rousing game of charades too. Try creating a really fun environment by combining it with Pizza Night, BBQ in the backyard, or finger foods with popcorn!

3. Have a picnic in the park! This is a classic way to get the kids out of the house and again it is fun for the whole family. Bring along a big blanket and basket full of tasty picnic items. Toss a bunch of salad ingredients into a mason jar for a shake-up salad lunch. You can also bring a frisbee, football, or soccer ball to get some light exercise. Some of you may know that the McKinley Park Playground opened a few weeks ago! It is full of new things that kids of all ages will love! Everything from a rock climbing wall, to a kiddie sand-box!

4. Go camping in your backyard! We understand that the family is probably too busy for a full weekend camping trip, but who says you have to leave your house! No skimping here. We suggest going all out to make this a great camping experience. Get out all your camping gear. Tents, sleeping bags, flashlights, etc…and don’t forget the s’mores. If you don’t have a firepit, try lining clay pots with aluminum foil and filling with charcoal for a fun way to achieve chocolatey-gooey success!

5. Go to a local farmers market and make a meal of it! There are some really fantastic local farmers markets just about every day of the week. So load the kids in the the car and explore the area! You can find a market near you by visiting the California Certified Farmers Market website.

Some markets even have organic vendors too so keep an eye out! Have the kids pick out some veggies they would like to cook and depending on what you find, build your dinner menu around it! Make sure you get the kids to help you cook dinner (this might make them a little more willing to eat their greens). Maybe use this opportunity to talk to your kids about the nutritional and economic benefits of buying locally grown food. We do live in the farm-to-fork capital after all.

6. Go on a nature walk and pick flowers! This is something you can do with the whole family on a weeknight. Get everybody outside for a nice walk after dinner and explore nature. You can find a park nearby your house or even drive somewhere a little farther that has a trail. Once you all pick flowers, you can preserve them by making a flower press in a heavy book! Just getting out and exercising with the whole family will be good for all of you, so don’t get overwhelmed on deciding where to go! Once you are out having a good time, it won’t even feel like exercise, and it will teach your kids a healthy habit.

7. Start a family garden. Maybe you and the kids will get so inspired by the fruit and veggies you found at the farmers market that you will want to start growing your own produce. Ask your kids what their favorite things were, and take a trip to the store for all your gardening needs. You can make DIY labels for each kid’s part of the garden using popsicle sticks, bricks, or even wine corks on toothpicks or forks! Encourage responsible behaviour by creating a design-your-own watering can craft, and teach kids about the importance of keeping plants hydrated.

8. Plan a trip to the Funnest little place in Sacramento…Funderland! Well, of course, we couldn’t leave this out 😉

Whatever you choose to do with your family before summer ends, we hope you have a blast!