I’ve made a huge effort to get outside and be intentional with my boys every week.
We are lucky enough to live in mid-Michigan (that’s in the center of the mitt for you non-Michiganders out there), which means that there’s plenty of fun stuff to do that’s a reasonable car ride away.
I’m a huge fan of getting out of the house, if only for a few hours.
A new adventure (or revisiting old favorites) will help save your sanity this summer. I promise.
Creative Ways to Save Your Sanity This Summer
Not everything has to cost money. I mean, yes, of course, we have memberships to the zoo and the science museum. But we do lots of things that don’t require a large investment, too.
Go to the Park
Mother Nature has been working hard to make sure things are at their peak beauty right now-so get outside and enjoy it!
We are lucky enough to have some really awesome parks near us that have hiking trails, biking trails, playgrounds, and even fishing.
I usually give the boys a choice between two parks on any given day so that they feel like it was their choice-it cuts down on the arguments and makes sure that they feel invested in our adventures.
Camping is one of my favorite things (shocking, I know). While I prefer a camper, since moving up to Michigan, tent camping is pretty great because the weather is far milder and there are far fewer things that are trying to kill me.
If you’re looking for awesome campgrounds, check out my family-friendly favorites.
Or head to the local splash pad. We have quite a few public pools around here, and some pretty awesome waterparks (we are actually at Great Wolf as I type this!), and I’m sure that if you look hard enough, you can find a cool place to take a dip.
Here in Michigan, there are also tons of lakes to choose from so it’s really all about preference. Make sure that you pack smart and have a plan to keep eyes on your kids, especially if you’re going to a pool or lake that doesn’t have a lifeguard.
Be sure that you bring lots of sunscreen and snacks!
Visit a Museum
One of my all-time favorite places ever is The Henry Ford museum, which also has an amazing turn-of-the-century village.
We also have some pretty cool art museums closer to home, and I love taking a day trip with the kids to look at new art and cool inventions.
If you’re on a budget-don’t stress. Not all museums cost money. Here are 20 free museums that are totally worth checking out.
Visit the Animals
I love love love the zoo. Like, super sparkly heart love them.
I love the educational factor for my kids, and showing them how animals should be cared for. And it’s a time to get some steps in, too. Also, read about these sun exposure benefits, and why it isn’t so bad to get out and soak up some sun.
As a kid, I got to go to summer camp-both day camp and sleep away camp. I want my kids to have those fun experiences, too.
We have some great options for camp here, whether it’s a swim intensive, coding camp, VBS, robotics camp, or art camp, I’m sure if you look hard enough you’ll find something that your kids are super excited about.
Camp times and lengths vary, but around here most camps operate from about 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Read a Book
I love it when I come around the corner and catch him engrossed in a book.
For longer car rides, we listen to audio books-last summer it was Harry Potter and this summer we’re enjoying A Series of Unfortunately Events.
It’s so fun to revisit favorites of mine and share them with my kids.
We even joined the summer reading program at our local library, so Smalls gets rewarded every time he finishes a book.
Local fairs are so much fun. I have such fond memories of going to the fair each summer with my family.
I even won first place for my amazing hot pink and forest green gingham jumpsuit when I was in eighth grade.
One thing is I want my kids to have similar experiences-eating elephant ears, experiencing the carnival, looking at the animals and just wandering the grounds.
Most counties and states post the dates for their fairs and the types of exhibits you can expect (I like to plan ahead).
So what do you think? I know that you’ve probably got a few of these things on your list already, but maybe you’ve added a few to your to-do list.
Getting outside will help your sanity, get your fill of Vitamin D, and get you moving around. It’s hard to sit still when there’s so much to take in.
Be proactive and make the most of your time this summer.