It’s that time of year again when the school bell rings for the last time, textbooks close, and the children’s boundless energy is ready to be unleashed. Yes, you guessed it right–school’s out, and summer is in! But as a military family, you know that summer can be a bit of a challenge if your husband is deployed and you’re solo parenting. If that’s your reality, try these fun summer activities for families you can enjoy (and manage) even while your husband is away.
10 Summer Activities for Families in the Military
Whether you’re looking for free fun home summer activities or something to get you and the kids out of the house, these 10 ideas are a great place to start.
1. Water Day
Whether you’re close to a beach, a river, or a lake, spending a day by the water is a fantastic way to create unforgettable family memories. First things first, pack a lunch! There’s something incredibly satisfying about munching on homemade sandwiches while your toes are buried in the sand. Keep it simple and fuss-free. Sandwiches, fresh fruits, and some crunchy veggies with dip work great. Don’t forget lots of water and perhaps a few treats like cookies or chips.
A cooler bag or picnic basket will help keep your food fresh and drinks cool. And here’s a tip: freeze water bottles overnight. They’ll act as additional ice packs and provide ice-cold water as they thaw!
Once you’ve got the food sorted, think about what you’ll do throughout the day. Plan a mix of activities to keep the kids entertained. Building sandcastles, collecting seashells, or playing frisbee are classic beach activities that never go out of style. Consider bringing a fishing rod or inflatable raft if you’re near a lake or river.
Remember to pack essentials like sunscreen, hats, and towels. An umbrella or beach tent can provide much-needed shade, especially during the hottest part of the day. If you have young kids, bring along beach toys and floaties (but remember, these are not a substitute for vigilant supervision around water). And finally, don’t forget the camera!
2. “Hiking” Adventure
A family hiking adventure is a fantastic summer activity that combines fun, fitness, and education all in one. It’s like a moving classroom where every step can bring a new discovery! Whether you’re traversing through a dense forest, climbing a steep hill, or simply strolling around your neighborhood, hiking is one of the best summer activities for families to get out of the house.
If you have younger kids, even a “hike” around the neighborhood can be engaging with a nature-themed scavenger hunt. Create a list of things for your little ones to find, such as a certain type of leaf, a colorful flower, or a fascinating insect. This not only keeps them active but also sharpens their observation skills.
As they get older, you can gradually introduce them to longer hikes on nature trails. Along the way, take the time to teach them about different plant species, birds, and insects. It’s a great opportunity to instill a love for nature and respect for the environment.
Remember, hiking isn’t just about reaching the destination–it’s about appreciating the journey. Stop and listen to the rustling leaves, feel the texture of the bark, and smell the fresh earthy scent after a rain shower. These sensory experiences can be incredibly calming and therapeutic. Finally, make it a habit to “Leave No Trace.” Teach your kids the importance of preserving nature by carrying out any trash you bring in.
3. Fitness Challenge
A family fitness challenge is an excellent way to get everyone moving, encourage healthy habits, and have a blast together. It’s not just about physical health; it’s also about promoting teamwork, perseverance, and the joy of achieving goals as a family. Here are some tips for making the most of this fun home summer activity.
- Set Clear Goals: Start by deciding what you want to achieve. It could be anything from improving general fitness, mastering a new skill, or simply spending more active time together. The goal should be achievable but challenging enough to keep everyone motivated.
- Choose Your Activities: The activities should cater to all ages and fitness levels in your family. Mix it up with a variety of exercises such as running, jumping rope, yoga, or even dancing! You could also include activities like swimming if you have access to a pool or cycling for those beautiful summer evenings.
- Create a Schedule: Consistency is key to seeing results. Set aside specific times for your fitness activities. It could be every morning, three times a week, or whatever works best for your family.
- Track Progress: Make a chart or use a fitness app to track everyone’s progress. Seeing improvement over time can be a huge motivator. Celebrate milestones, no matter how small they may seem.
- Make It Fun: This is the most important part. Incorporate games, competitions, and rewards. For example, you could set up an obstacle course in the backyard, host a family Olympics, or have a dance-off. The winner could choose the movie for the next family movie night or get to skip a chore!
- End with a Bang: At the end of the summer, celebrate your accomplishments. You could have a special meal, go on a family outing, or give out fun awards.
Remember, the aim of the family fitness challenge is not just about getting fit. It’s about spending quality time together, encouraging each other, and having loads of fun.
4. Explore Your Town
Playing tourist in your own town is an excellent summer activity that’s both fun and educational. It’s a wonderful way to appreciate your surroundings, learn local history, and create memorable family experiences without expensive travel.
Start with the popular spots: museums, parks, historical sites, or zoos. Even if you’ve been there before, try to see them through a fresh lens. Look out for any special summer events or exhibits that might be happening. Then head to the unique hidden gems–a beautiful mural, a charming bookstore, or an intriguing antique shop. Part of the fun is discovering these lesser-known spots.
Is there a new restaurant you’ve been meaning to try? Or perhaps a quaint cafe tucked away in a corner? Now’s the time! Trying out different cuisines can also be a fun way to introduce your kids to various cultures.
Summer is also usually a great time for local events such as fairs, farmers’ markets, outdoor concerts, or movie nights. These events offer a fantastic way to engage with your community and often have plenty of activities for kids.
5. Summer Reading Challenge
A summer reading challenge is one of the fun home summer activities that will keep your child’s mind active during the break and foster a love for reading. It can transport them to magical worlds, introduce them to fascinating characters, and feed their curiosity. Plus, it’s a great quiet-time activity for those hot afternoons. Here are some ways to make a summer reading challenge fun:
- Create a Book List: Start by curating a book list suitable for your child’s age and interest. Include a mix of genres: adventure, mystery, science fiction, biographies, and more. Don’t shy away from including some challenging reads; they can help improve vocabulary and comprehension.
- Set Up a Cozy Reading Nook: Make reading extra special by setting up a cozy nook. A quiet corner with comfortable cushions, good lighting, and easy access to books can become their favorite spot in the house.
- Make it Social: Invite your child’s friends to join the challenge. They can have weekly meet-ups (virtual or in-person) to discuss the books they’ve read. This can make reading more interactive and enjoyable.
- Use a Reading Log: Encourage your child to maintain a reading log. They can jot down the title of each book they finish and what they liked about it. They could also rate each book, which can be a fun way to reflect on what they’ve read.
- Incorporate Fun Activities: Connect reading with fun activities. For instance, if they’re reading a book about cooking, try out a recipe from the book. If it’s a book about space, visit a planetarium or create a DIY telescope.
- Give Rewards: Offer small rewards for each book finished. The rewards don’t have to be big; they can be as simple as choosing the dessert for dinner or staying up a little past bedtime. You could also have a bigger reward for completing the challenge–maybe a new book of their choice!
A summer reading challenge can turn those “I’m bored” moments into adventures. It’s a great way to keep your kids entertained, learning, and developing a lifelong reading habit.
Want More Ideas for Fun Summer Family Activities?
Here are 5 more!
6. Visit a Military Museum: Summer is a great time to educate your children about their military heritage. Visit a local military museum and learn about the brave men and women who served our country.
7. Cookout and Backyard Camping: Set up a tent in the backyard, grill some burgers, and enjoy a night under the stars. It’s a mini-vacation without leaving home!
8. Community Service: Teach your kids the importance of giving back by participating in a community service project. It could be a neighborhood cleanup, volunteering at a local shelter, or helping at an event.
9. Arts and Crafts: Unleash your child’s creativity with some DIY arts and crafts. They can create their summer memory book or try their hand at painting.
10. Gardening: Start a family garden. It’s a wonderful way to spend time together and teach your children about responsibility and the joy of growing their own food.
4 Tips to Make Solo Parenting in the Summer More Fun
No matter which of the summer activities for families you try, keep in mind that it’s OK if they don’t go exactly as planned. Solo parenting in the summer when your husband is deployed requires you to be flexible. While it can be challenging, here are four tips to help you have a better summer as a supermom!
1. Create a Summer Rhythm
Establish a routine that balances both fun activities and real-life responsibilities. This could include designating certain days for outings to the park, beach, or museum and other days for chores and errands. Remember, structure can provide comfort to children during times of change.
2. Make a Communication Plan
Keep your spouse involved in everyday life. Schedule regular video calls where the kids can share their summer adventures and achievements. This can help maintain a sense of connection and continuity. Our favorite tool is Marco Polo because you can send video messages and receive them from your spouse while he’s gone.
3. Build Your Support System
Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Connect with other military families who understand your situation, join local community groups, or consider reliable childcare options. Having a strong support network can make a big difference.
4. Practice Self-Care
As important as it is to ensure your children are coping well, it’s equally vital to take care of yourself. Take breaks without feeling guilty, indulge in activities you enjoy, and remember, it’s okay to have “me time.” You might even consider military wife life coaching to ensure you’re living your best life while making sure your kids live there’s!
Make Summer Fun for You with Life Coaching for Military Wives
These fun summer family activities are great to keep the kiddos learning, moving, and enjoying time off. But what about you? As a 15+ year military wife, I understand the unique challenges that come with being part of a military family. The summer, in particular, can be challenging, especially when your spouse is deployed, and you’re solo parenting. But summer can be a time of joy and rejuvenation for you.
As a life coach for military wives, my goal is to help you navigate these challenges and turn them into opportunities for growth and enjoyment. We’ll work together to create a summer plan that not only caters to your children’s needs but also ensures you have time for self-care and relaxation. Schedule a free session today to get started!
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