By the time August rolls around, parental burnout starts to creep in. But rest assured, you can actually enjoy these last few weeks of summer with your kids—by keeping activities simple. Here are seven summer activities that won’t leave you (or your bank account) drained by the end of the day.
1. Take a low-pressure hike
Pack some snacks and choose a new-to-you trail to explore. Let the kids lead the way without a specific destination in mind. Child-led hikes will keep them happy and allow you to enjoy their awe and wonder at their own pace (that doesn’t involve complaints about how much walking is involved). Pack a summer picnic and enjoy nature time before back-to-school. And, if you have toddlers, here’s how to make hiking work for both of you, too!
2. Visit your local library for some outdoor fun inspiration
Head to your local library and let the lending options inspire you. Let your kids choose their own outdoor adventure. From books about outdoor activities to free sports equipment and provincial park passes, your library might just surprise you with its multiple free and fun activity options. Our local library has a lending area, and recently my kids chose some pickleball rackets to try. It was an easy yes (free!), and we got to enjoy trying a new sport with no commitment or cost.
3. Check out a new-to-you playground
Pick a nearby town that you don’t typically visit. Check Google for some park reviews (and pictures) and let your kids pick which park to try. You might be surprised how much renewed energy they’ll have for independent play when faced with a new playground to explore. If you need some inspiration, here are our top picks for cool playgrounds from across Canada.
4. Bike, scoot, or skateboard at a nearby empty parking lot
I never thought I’d say this, but we love playing in our school’s empty parking lot during the summer because of the wide-open (usually empty) space. The kids have plenty of room to zip around on their bikes, it’s very low effort for me because we live close to the school, and they expend a ton of energy before (easily) heading back home.
5. Bring a bunch of sports equipment and a few friends to a wide open field
A stomp rocket, some baseball gloves and balls, a tennis racquet, croquet. It doesn’t really matter which equipment you bring. If there are kids and sports equipment in a wide open field, the play will happen on its own.
6. Find a stream (and bring a net and bucket)
My kids will play for hours at our local stream. They kick off their shoes and wade barefoot through the creek, nets in hand, looking for critters to catch and then observe in their bucket before releasing them and doing it all over again. All I need is a picnic blanket and refreshments nearby for snack breaks. It’s a low-effort, high-reward activity that we keep coming back to again and again.
7. When all else fails, pull out the sprinkler
No matter what age, sprinklers seem to delight all kids. Invite some friends over, maybe get a few snacks ready, and pull out the sprinkler. You’ll have an afternoon of fun without a lot of work on your part. And for even more fun, try one of these unique sprinkler game ideas.
What are some other activities you might do during the last few weeks of summer?