Summer is in full bloom, with plenty of time left to get out and play between now and Labor Day. Enjoy your favorite family activities or try something new on your sand-bucket list. The key is to jump on an idea when the inspiration strikes. As you experience the magic of time together, watch the special memories grow with your children. Here are creativity-on-the-go ideas:
Hike and hunt: On your next hike to a familiar destination, such as a waterfall, fishing hole or scenic lookout, experience the trek with new eyes and ears by challenging the kids to a surprise nature scavenger hunt. Before you leave home, make a list of sights, sounds and smells you recall from previous outings on the trail. Copy the list for each hiker, hand it out at the trailhead and let the explorers check off the finds as they discover them.
Picnic in public parks: When you add an "s" to "park," a whole new world of adventure opens for your family and friends. Check out venues in your area online, set dates on your calendar and meet weekly with your friends and their kids until school starts. Bring some food to share or plan a group barbecue around picnic tables and a charcoal grill.
Look and listen: Go to free outdoor art and music fairs and listen to live entertainment as you wander through booths and exhibits. At some art shows, observe how artists create new works "live ... in the open air," known in French as "en plein air." Your
Hang on to the memories: At the end of summer, produce an impromptu "video special." Use smartphones, video recorders or tape recorders to interview family members like guests on a morning talk show. Save the recording, including the bloopers!
Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."