Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Summer Family Traditions
Creating special memories for you and your family this summer

by Mary Susan Buhner

July 01, 2012

The backpacks are cleaned out, keepsake papers are neatly (or maybe not) put away, and summer is finally here! It is time to embrace a different pace and rejoice in no homework or projects! Time for flip flops, sprinkler parks, and ice cream cones! As a kid, summer days seemed endless – filled with hours of running through the sprinkler and riding my bike until dusk. Long, hot days filled with special memories like slip-n-slide in the backyard and lemon-lime popsicles dripping down my chin while sitting on the driveway with my best pals.

I still do all these things each summer with my kids. I often get a glimpse into being a kid again and the sense of freedom during the summer months by watching the pure delight on my children’s faces.

There are so many fun and affordable traditions you can start with your kids over the summer months. I am big on family cookouts, picnics under your favorite tree, and creating fun traditions that will last in your kiddos' memories long after the summer breeze is gone. Here are some of my favorite traditions to do over summer.

5 Family Friendly Favorites for Summer Fun!

Outdoor Movie Night- spread out a blanket on your lawn, pop some popcorn, hang a sheet (or project on the side of your house or garage), pick out your favorite family flick, and invite your friends and neighbors over! Outdoor Family Movie Night is affordable and promises to be an amazing summer tradition. We have done it for several years and look forward to it every summer!

Fourth of July Stand - a family favorite! Typically, my kids bake cookies, brownies, make lemonade, and even sell snow cones with red, white and blue flavoring. In the past, they gear up all week making and organizing their items and set up shop at the end of our street on July 3rd in celebration of The Fourth of July weekend. No matter what your kids decide to make and sell, it us fun to plan it together. You may decide to save the money they make from the stand and purchase something fun with it or donate the proceeds to a local charity. Either way, it is an easy and fun memory-maker for all ages!

Back-Yard Camp Out- My family did this for years starting when my kids were in preschool. We have graduated to camping at a camp site now, but when my kids were younger we would have an annual Back-Yard Camp Out. It is easy and loads of fun with the bonus of having an indoor bathroom if needed! Pitch a tent, set up sleeping bags, and make yummy s’mores over a fire-pit. Flashlight tag in the dark and campfire stories will be remembered for years to come!

Victory Field - One of my favorite memories as a kid was going to baseball games with my Dad. The smell of ballpark hotdogs, peanuts, and, of course, the tradition of the 7th Inning Stretch! It is a fun evening for all ages. We are so lucky to have Victory Field in our city. Keep a look out for their $1 hotdog night, and don’t forget your glove!

Indianapolis Zoo - I have been taking my kids to the Indianapolis Zoo for over 12 years now. The attractions and experiences are first class! Since 1964, The Indianapolis Zoo has grown into a world-class facility hosting a million visitors each year and playing a major role in worldwide conservation and research. It is fun and family friendly in every way and sure to be a great time for all!