It's the season your kids have been waiting for, so how will you maximize the long lazy days of summer with your family? Celebrate the carefree season to its fullest with these outdoor activities and adventures your whole family will enjoy - right in your own backyard.
Under the stars
Take full advantage of the peaceful summer nights and campout in your backyard. Kick off the evening by watching the sun set, then build a bonfire (in a fire pit), roast marshmallows, and gaze at the stars. Bring out your guide to the stars and see what you can spot: the Little Dipper, Hercules, or Sagittarius.
Set up this classic outdoor game that the whole family can play. Then hold a summer's end family croquet match. Give handicaps to each family member based on their most recent scores for a game that's fair to all.
Up, up and away
Is the wind hampering your fun? It won't be for long. Make the most of that breeze, and get your kite up in the air.
Step right up
Organize a backyard carnival to raise funds for your favorite charity. The whole family will have a ball putting on this event. Hang posters in local businesses, and submit a press release to your local radio station and newspaper. Ask friends and neighbors to help man the booths, and set up games such as a bean bag toss or number wheel, a baked goods stand, fortune telling, face painting, and refreshments.
Make summer gardening a family affair. Ask each member to choose a favorite vegetable to plant. If you're getting a late start, look for starter plants that have already sprouted. Work together to get the garden ready and plant it, then give each person his or her own responsibility for keeping it up: watering, pulling weeds, picking ripe produce, and preparing the vegetables to eat or store.
The writer is a freelancer
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