“What I did over summer vacation” is a classic back to school assignment. Faced with a blank page, kids often only remember the big moments of their summer like a vacation or a visit from family. As adults, we know that life is made up of thousands of small moments. This summer, let those small moments fill your child’s back-to-school essay and the memories of this summer will fill their hearts.

Cool Off

1.    Have a water balloon relay race.
2.    Head to the indoor ice rink and play a pick-up hockey game.
3.    Set up a bicycle washing station for friends.
4.    Wade in a creek and skip stones.
5.    Start a battle of the water guns—kids vs. parents.
6.    Beat the heat at the library and join the summer reading club.

Get Some Exercise

7.    Run in a Fun Run; try out a color or glow run for a great family experience.
8.    Perfect your cartwheel.
9.    Rent a tandem bike and enjoy the benefits of teamwork.    
10.  Run with the dogs at the dog park—even if you don’t have a dog.

Go Shopping

11.    Bargain hunt at garage sales. You never know what you might find.
12.    Head to Walgreens or Rite Aid and play “How much can you buy with $5?”
13.    Rummage through the booths at outdoor flea markets.

Take in the Sights

14.    Go for a trolley ride through the city and examine the historic buildings.
15.    Watch a parade from the sidewalk or watch the spectators while walking in the parade.
16.    See an outdoor summer concert or play.
17.    Take a cruise on a guided river float and pick out shapes in the clouds.
18.    Hit the trails on horseback and let someone else do the walking.

Foods of Summer

19.    Sample fresh produce at the farmer’s market.
20.    Host a potluck BBQ. Everyone brings their own meat and a side dish to pass.
21.    Enjoy curly fries, a corndog and squeezed lemonade at a festival or fair.
22.    Invite the neighborhood kids to participate in a watermelon eating contest.
23.    Make your own snow cones with Kool-Aid and shaved ice.
24.    Go to a U-pick farm for fresh-off-the-vine delights.
25.    Roast hotdogs over a fire for dinner and make s’mores for dessert.

Craft time

26.    Fold paper airplanes and test the best designs.
27.    Make colorful candles with leftover crayons.
28.    Enhance your wardrobe with custom made tie-dye shirts.
29.    Design your own fireworks t-shirts with glue lines and glitter.
30.    Show off your artistic skills by wearing DIY face painting designs.

Nighttime Fun

31.    Go to a drive-in movie.    
32.    Catch fireflies in a jar, but let them get back to their families when the night is over.
33.    Sit on the porch and watch the sun set.
34.    Play glow-in-the-dark bowling by placing glow sticks in empty two liter bottles.
35.    Write your name in the dark with sparklers.

Enjoy the Outdoors

36.    Rent a canoe and have a picnic on the shore.
37.    Hunt for nearby treasures by geocaching in your hometown.
38.    Play classic backyard games like Sharks and Minnows or Kick the Can.
39.    Go camping in a yurt.
40.    Race rubber ducks down a flowing stream or small river.

Rainy Day Fun

41.    Set up a photo scavenger hunt at the mall.
42.    Go roller-skating or head to the arcade.
43.    Make a maze or fort using cardboard boxes.
44.    Start a summer fun journal or scrapbook.

Give Back to Others

45.    Support childhood cancer research and set up a lemonade stand for www.AlexsLemonade.org.
46.    Make a meal for families at Ronald McDonald House.
47.    Spend the day performing random acts of kindness.
48.    Help find a forever home for animals by fostering kittens or puppies.

Get Silly

49.    Take forced perspective photos to make objects appear larger or smaller than normal.
50.    Have a paint war with goggles and non-toxic paints.
51.    Check out what really happens when you mix Coke and Menthos (with supervision).

Beyond the Backyard

52.    Cheer for the home team at a ball game.
53.    Ride the Ferris wheel at the carnival.
54.    Feed the goats at the petting zoo.
55.    Win a prize at a fishing derby.

Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three. She and her family hope to cherish these small moments together this summer.