As a kid, summer days seemed endless – filled with hours of running through the sprinkler, riding your bike and selling lemonade at the street corner. The neighborhood Kids gathered around the slip-n-slide in the backyard with popsicles dripping down our chins is a special memory. Looking back, I recall feeling like summer was in fact a "break." It felt effortless, lazy and fun. Oh, to be a kid again! Now, as a mother of three, I know there is a lot of orchestration involved for those of us "creating" these magical memories.
Add to the equation a little thing called Daylight Savings Time. DST has now truly made summer days endless. With that in mind, I'd like to lighten the burden by sharing some fun and affordable ideas for your family this July.
Start with a trip to your local Farmer's Market Saturday morning. It is a great way to get your vegetables and produce for the holiday weekend. The farmer's market in Fishers is free and very family friendly—as are most. They often have live music, local artists and my kids' favorite – The Honey Stand! Each Saturday they look forward to getting their honey sticks (9 honey sticks for a quarter!) In July, a local farmer fills his pick-up truck to the brim with ears of corn. Kids are encouraged to hop in the back of the truck and pick out their own corn to buy. My kids think this is so fun and the corn is always sweet and delicious! Check into your local Farmer's Market and make it a family tradition during the summer. (Check out next month's Indy's Child for a complete list of Farmer's Markets and locavore goods).
Another great idea for the holiday is to plan to take your family to your local Fourth of July Parade. Most towns have them and they are great fun! The Fishers parade blocks off a portion of the street and families line up on the curb to watch the parade. Local bands play, floats glide, dance teams perform and various groups cruise by offering handfuls of candy to the kids. If you go, make sure to bring something for your kids stash their candy in! (Like Dad's baseball cap or a plastic firefighter's hat.) Take a cooler packed with popsicles and water and enjoy the hot, but great family fun. (Check out next month's issue of Indy's Child for a complete list of local parades and July 4th fireworks and festivities!)
One of my favorite summer traditions is to set up a lemonade stand on your street. Recruit neighbor kids and make it fun! Use red cups and wave American flags to encourage customers to stop. My kids usually sell a glass of lemonade for $.25. The money made from a Fourth of July Lemonade stand is donated to a local charity. Along with making lemonade, my kids love the tradition of making red, white and blue snow cones in July! You can buy inexpensive snow cone machines and flavoring at Target or online. The machine is easy to use (one button to shave the ice) and it takes two minutes. After the ice is shaved, I take it outside and put it on the picnic table to let the kids make their own snow cones. They love scooping the ice and pouring on the flavoring (red and blue, of course). This is the perfect treat to beat the heat after playing outside! The best thing for parents is that you can hose off the mess because it's all outdoors.
Lastly, a great way to involve all ages into the Fourth of July is to organize a mini Fourth of July parade on your street. Have all of the kids decorate their bikes, wagons and scooters. Do face painting and let them mix and match red, white and blue clothing. Put up a "Caution: Kids at Play" sign and let them have their own parade!
Enjoy the magical summer and the lingering days left in July. Most of all, have a safe and wonderful summer with your children!
Mary Susan Buhner is a Life Coach for Moms and author of "Mommy Magic: Tricks for Staying Sane in the Midst of Insanity" Visit www.Mommy-Magic.com for more information. Become a Fan of Mommy Magic on FaceBook!