Five fun things to do with your kids before Summer fizzles.

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1. Berry Picking

Summer is a time when fresh berries abound. In the northeast, it starts in June with strawberries, which is followed quickly by raspberries and blackberries, then blueberries and so on. My family always went berry picking in the summer when I was a kid. We’d eat the fruit right off the plants, and pick some for later, too. I have many fond memories of fruit picking from my childhood and hope my kids will, too.

Don’t forget:
1. Sunscreen – many berry patches and fields are in direct sun
2. Bugspray – you never know when or where the bugs will be biting
3. Cash – many small farms are cash only

2. Go to a Beach – Any Pond, Lake, Ocean, or Even a River

What a blast it is spending a hot Summer day by the water! It might be an ordeal to pack everything up, but it’s such fun when you get there. We love sitting and making sand castles or other sand sculptures.

Don’t forget:
1. Waterproof sunblock – obviously
2. Bathing suits & towels
3. Lots of water to drink
4. Lunch and/or snacks for the hord or cash to buy lunch there
5. Change of clothes that aren’t all sandy
6. Sand toys for the kids
7. Boogie board for beach with waves

3. Observe the Night Sky

There are so many apps for devices, pick one to help explain what constellations you are looking at on any given night. Or you can get a book from the library if you may be out of range on your device. For best viewing, get out of a city and in a place far from city lights. To see a guide of predicted meteor showers for 2016, visit earthsky.org for best times and places to view upcoming meteor showers.

Don’t forget:
1. Deet free insect repellent – outdoors at night brings mosquitos and other biting insects
2. Binoculars, or telescope if you have it
3. Beach lounge chair or blanket to sit or lie on
4. Warm clothes to add on in case you get cold
5. Drinks & snacks if you plan on being a little while

4. Take a Hike – Preferrably to a Swimming Hole

Last Summer we vacationed in New Hampshire and hiked every day. But, because it was hot, and we wanted to keep the kids encouraged, we hiked to places where we could jump in cool refreshing water. For a guide to over 1600 natural places to take a dip in USA and Canada, visit swimmingholes.org.

Don’t forget:
1. Bugspray – preferrably the non-toxic variety
2. Waterproof sunblock
3. Bathingsuits & towels
4. Water shoes may come in handy
5. Lots of water to stay hydrated on the hike
6. Granola bars or fruit and nuts to keep your energy up if you plan on hiking for a few hours

5. Go to an Amusement Park

This is actually a no-brainer. Kids love amusement parks, as do many adults, and Summer is the ideal time to go. Parks tend to be open later in the Summer and, as it’s their busy time, usually all the rides are open. If you can go midweek, you will find the lines are a bit better. You can keep the cost down a bit if you pack a cooler and go out to the car to eat lunch, although many parks now offer a meal plan as an option when buying tickets.

Don’t forget:
1. Good sunblock
2. Warm clothes to add on if it gets cool at night
3. Lots of water to stay hydrated
4. Granola bars or fruit & nuts for energy boosting snacks