BY: Angela Veugeler
With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start making plans! There are so many options, and this issue we wanted to give you some ideas to connect with your family or friends that don’t cost a thing (or are super cheap)! Write them on your calendar so you have something to look forward to. or be spontaneous and keep this list handy so you can choose one at the last minute! We hope you find our ideas useful, and that you make memories with family and friends this summer that last…
1. A FAMILY CAMPOUT
If you aren’t regular campers and want to give it a trial run, set up in the backyard! Pitch the tent, bring lots of blankets and/ or sleeping bags, lawn chairs to hang out in before dark, flash lights, snacks, and a story or two. If that’s a success, then head to a nearby campground like Shoal Creek, Lake Lanier Island Campground, or Old Federal Campground to enjoy the great outdoors (and hopefully time away from electronics).
2. PICNIC IN THE PARK
Pack a basket or bag with sandwiches,drinks and snacks and set off to Sims Lake Park where you can find a spot in the grass or under the shaded pavilion. If you have little ones, bring bubbles for extra entertainment.
The Gwinnett County library has a summer ready program, or make your own. Take regular trips to the library and have your kids write down all the books they read. If they hit certain benchmarks, reward them with a special treat!
4. HIT THE TRAILS
Get up early and enjoy the beauty of nature. Many of the park in Suwanee have soft surface trails including George Pierce Park, Suwanee Creek Park and Settles Bridge Park, or take a drive and explore Laurel Ridge Trail on Lake Lanier, Amicalola Falls in Dawsonville, Tallulah Gorge in Tallulah Falls near Clarksville or Sawnee Mountain Preserve in Cumming.
Set out on the Suwanee Creek Greenway for some exercise and a great way to enjoy the outdoors.
6. HOMEADE PIZZA NIGHT
Let each person pick their own toppings and enjoy coming up with crazy combinations. Then settle in for a family movie and some popcorn!
7. TUBING OR KAYAKING DOWN THE RIVER
Kayak down the Chattahoochee or head to Dahlonega or Helen and rent tubes (just $5 or $10 per tuber). Link together as you float down the river, enjoying the scenery and company.
Have a member of your family pick their favorite board game, and snuggle in for a fun night. Some of our favorites are Monopoly, Pictionary, Scrabble, Checkers and Sock Monkey.
9. EVENTS AT TOWN CENTER PARK
There are lots of awesome free events in the park this summer! From Arts in the Park to Woofstock to Movies Under the Stars and more! See our calendar for a full list!
10. SPLASH TIME
The fountain in Town Center Park is great on a hot day and provides loads of free entertainment.
11. PLAN A SCAVENGER HUNT
Surprise your kids with a fun, interactive hunt made just for them! For a variety of ideas and lists, from a rainy day indoor scavenger hunt to outdoor activities, road trip or dictionary scavenger hunts, visit mykidsadventures.com/scavenger-hunt-ideas and for treasure hunt clues and ideas try: mykidsadventures.com/treasure-hunt-kids-guide.
Color the driveway and play tic-tac-toe, hopscotch, draw family portraits or outline a shadow of an object such as the mailbox or a bike. When the sun changes position, you’ll have captured a shadow!
13. BACKYARD WATER GAMES
Water Balloon Toss: Have your kids pair up (or pair up with them), standing right across from each other. Toss the balloon, and every time you catch it, take one step back until the balloon bursts.
Jump Over The Water: Shoot a stream of water from the hose near the ground and l et the kids jump over it. Each time they make it, move it a little higher.
Sprinklers: If you have them, turn them on and let the kids play! If not, there are great, affordable versions that hook directly to your hose. The grass gets watered and the kids will have a blast!
Squirt Gun Fight: This may not be for all kids, but mine love it and it’s great on a hot day. I like the cylindrical foam water guns, as you can fill them up fast by sucking up water from a bucket. And if you are the one in the line of fire, they don’t hold nearly as much water as a super soaker!
14. HIT THE BEACH
Pack your beach bag with towels, sunscreen, water, snacks, life jackets, pails and shovels and head to one of the beaches on Lake Lanier Islands. Build a sand castle, bury your kids feet, throw a frisbee and enjoy swimming!