Last Updated June 18th, 2019

6 Things You Should Do For Your Online Home Business This Summer

6 Things You Should Do For Your Online Home Business This Summer

Summer shouldn’t be all about slacking off on your online home business. Even if it’s a slow time for your business, there’s still a lot of work to do. Don’t take the entire summer as a vacation (take some vacation time if you can) – take the time to get these important things done for your online home business this summer.

Slow times in business are a great time to think of more ways to get ahead. It’s a great way to shift your focus from what’s going wrong to what you can make better.

Take time for your family as well, of course. This is especially important when you have kids. Summer breaks are great for making memories as a family. Find that balance between improving your online home business and enjoying the summer with your family.

1. Review Your Progress So Far This Year

It’s the middle of the year and a great time to see how much progress you’ve made on your goals for the year. Are you ahead, behind or right on schedule? What’s not working out? What is?

summer planning

Progress toward goals rarely goes smoothly. Sometimes you’ll shoot far ahead of where you thought you’d be. Other times you’ll fall short.

Don’t let these ups and downs trap you. You can’t assume that things will always go as smoothly as when they’re at their best. You certainly can’t assume that they’ll continue at their worst.

2. Plan For The Second Half Of The Year

Now that you know where you are, where are you going? Look at what you had planned already, and decide if that’s still the goal. What has come up to change things? How will you change them?

In particular, this is a great time to think about how you’ll handle the Christmas season. It’s not too early. Make plans for product promotions, guides you want to write, and so forth.

The back to school season should also be considered, if you haven’t done so already. This may relate to your family if you have kids in school as well as your online home business. Plan ahead so you don’t have to rush around right as school starts.

3. Catch Up

We all run behind on things – paperwork, emails, writing, etc. Be honest with yourself and find the things you’re behind on, then work on catching up.

For example, I just cleaned out my email inbox. It takes a little while to figure out how to do this efficiently each time, but it feels so nice to get the clutter out of there. It helps that I use a lot of filters on my email, so some categories can simply be deleted after no more than a glance.

Ideally, you should think about ways to avoid falling behind on these things again as well. It won’t always work out that way, but try.

4. Get Ahead

summer wahm

What can you work on ahead of time? This is especially helpful if you’re planning a vacation. You can keep things running while you’re away.

Blog posts, in particular, are easy to write ahead. WordPress allows you to schedule your posts easily, which is a huge help. When I go on vacation, I try to have my blogging already done, so I don’t have to check on things often.

It may mean some late nights when you’re trying to get ahead for a vacation, but it’s worth it.

You can also get ahead on your social media. There are tools that allow you to schedule your social media posts. You won’t be as responsive if you don’t pay attention to the things you schedule, but sometimes it’s nice to not have to stress over these things for a while.

Just one word of warning – be prepared to reschedule social media posts if real world events make anything inappropriate. Sometimes a scheduled post will come off as insensitive to something that just happened, even though it’s just fine any other time.

5. Train Some Help

Have you been considering hiring a virtual assistant? Summer could be the perfect time to do so. If you have some extra time right now, why not use it to make your work life a little easier?

Easy places to find virtual assistants include Fiverr and Upwork. There are sites that focus on such services as well. Start out with something relatively easy to get a feel for how the person you try works. Build your way up to the amount of work you need help with.

A virtual assistant may sound expensive, but if you do it right, you’ll earn more than it costs. They will let you focus on other things to build your online home business this summer and any other time. In the long run, that’s what you need to do.

6. Take A Break, But Don’t Slack Off Too Much

take a break

Just because summer is a wonderful time for a vacation doesn’t mean you have to take all of it off. Take the time your family needs, but make sure they understand that you need to work sometimes. A productive summer can put you ahead of the competition in the fall.

This isn’t always easy. Your family may have their own ideas as to what they want from you over the summer. Kids may hear from friends about all the neat things they’re doing, and be jealous. If you’re married, your spouse may have plans of their own.

Balancing it all can be tough.

Make a list of the things you need to get done and prioritize them. Make a schedule that takes the fun things you want to do into consideration. This way, you and your family have a plan and know what’s expected. Having a schedule is a big help when figuring out if you have extra time for slacking off or if you need to push yourself a little harder to get your work done over the some.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated May 28th, 2019

6 Ways To Encourage Your Children’s Creativity Over The Summer

6 Ways To Encourage Your Children's Creativity Over The Summer

Everyone admires a child’s creativity. It’s amazing seeing what they come up with, especially when they’re young and utterly uninhibited about expressing themselves. How can you encourage your children’s creativity over the summer?

Encouraging your children’s creativity is a great way to pull them away from electronic screens. These can be useful in coming up with ideas or learning a new skill, however. My kids love looking up how-to videos on things they want to learn to do, for example.

The other key is to have plenty of supplies waiting for them, of whichever sort your kids prefer. We have a craft cabinet which is full of paints, different types of paper, pens, crayons, crafting foam, and much more. They are also encouraged to use age appropriate tools.

1. Encourage them to read.

child reading

Reading is a great way to encourage the imagination, whether you’re helping your child learn to read or they’ve long since mastered it. Let your child pick the books he or she enjoys for the summer – time enough for required reading during the school year.

Take advantage of any reading programs in your area that may encourage your child. Many local libraries have summer reading programs. Barnes & Noble usually has a program over the summer where children in grades 1-6 can earn a free book by reading 8 books and writing the titles in a reading journal. The free book titles are listed on the reading journal.

Don’t push your child to read something they don’t want to over the summer, even if it means they read very little or at all. Do keep looking for what they want to read – even comic books have value as reading material.

2. Encourage them to make things.

kids painting

There are so many ways your children can use their imaginations while making things, and so many different toys that make it possible, from the long-popular Legos and K’Nex to programs such as Minecraft. You don’t want your kids to overdo it on the computer all summer, of course, but Minecraft and similar programs offer a great deal of flexibility and much less mess than toys which can be left on the floor.

Don’t forget traditional tools and materials as well. Once your kids are ready, they can learn to use a drill, screwdrivers, hammers, saws, and other such tools to make more challenging things.

For younger kids, you can check with your local hardware store, such as Home Depot, to see if they have any kids’ workshops available. Some do, some don’t. These are mostly geared toward younger children and are a great way for kids to learn some of the basics.

Arts and crafts are a good choice as well. You can get cheap crafting supplies at most dollar stores. Older kids and teens may want better quality supplies, of course, but younger kids can be so hard on them that cheaper markers and such can make a lot of sense.

3. Encourage them in music.

child guitar

Learning to play a musical instrument is good for kids in many ways. Let them choose the instrument they’d like to learn if at all possible – they will enjoy the lessons more this way.

Even if they don’t want to learn an instrument, you can encourage their enjoyment by having music play during the day. Turn on something they’ll enjoy – they might sing or dance along.

We keep a variety of musical instruments available. We have the inevitable recorders they learned to play at school, of course. But they can also play on a keyboard or a small harp.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to let kids make music. Even if they don’t want to sing, you can teach them how to blow across the top of a bottle to make sound.

If your kids are really into music, you may want to encourage them to learn about electronic music production. This could be a great creative outlet for them.

4. Encourage them to play outside.

sandbox

It may be hot outside in the summer, but your kids can play outdoors anyhow, just as you probably did. Have cold drinks and treats available so they can cool down as needed, but get them outside. Encourage them to catch bugs (at least the non-stinging sort), have water fights, climb trees and play with friends. Let them roam the neighborhood as they get old enough.

Bikes are a great way to get your kids out and exploring. My son love to go out riding in the wash near our house. I usually have him go with a friend, as there’s poor phone reception in that area. Usually, they’re so tired at then end that they text for a ride home, even though it’s less than a half mile back.

It is, admittedly, hard to get kids out when it’s miserably hot outside. You probably don’t want to leave the nice, cool house either. Just remember that playing outside in the evening is perfectly reasonable – plus you don’t have to worry about sunburn.

There are also lots of fun summer night activities you can do as a family. Get everyone out and have fun together!

5. Don’t overschedule them.

child dress mask

Don’t overschedule your children’s summer days. Give them time to just be themselves. Classes of various sorts can be good for your kids, but more important is that they have time to do whatever they want.

Free time is truly one of the best ways to encourage your children’s creativity, so long as you don’t let them sit in front of a screen the whole time. Let them be bored. Boredom is good. Kids who are bored are kids who will come up with something interesting to do.

This can be one of the more difficult things to avoid, as kids who are in activities are busy kids, and that means a nice break for parents. Also, many kids want to take fun classes over the summer, to learn things that are of interest to them.

You don’t have to deny them that. Just make sure that your children have a significant amount of time over the summer with nothing on their schedule. That downtime is healthy.

My personal suggestion for summer classes for kids includes swimming lessons. Even if they don’t have regular access to a pool outside of class, it’s a good idea. You never know when a friend will have a pool or you’ll have some other opportunity as a family to go swimming. It’s more fun when everyone knows how.

6. Spend time together as a family.

family climbing

You don’t have to do anything big, but do things as a family. Have game nights. Watch a movie together. Have a picnic. Go camping. Go on vacation. Have a water balloon fight. Read. Talk about things you’ve done and dreams you have. Big or little, do things together as a family.

You can also take on a family project for the summer. Work on a garden. Build a fort. Make it fun for everyone.

Volunteering over the summer can also be good. You don’t have to sign up for anything formal if you don’t want to – cleaning up the trash in a local park is always an option. But you can also see if any local retirement homes need volunteers, or animal rescues, or whatever you want to do. Get together and do something to make the world just a bit better.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated May 16th, 2019

How To Prepare For Summer As A Work At Home Mom

How To Prepare For Summer As A Work At Home Mom

Summer break is getting close for schoolchildren. That means all too soon the kids will have many extra hours in which to express their boredom. It pays to prepare for summer as a work at home mom if you want to get some decent work hours in.

Not all of my ideas are about making things fun for the kids. Fun is good, and children need plenty of it, but you have to expect them to help around the house too. They don’t have school over the summer, and that means they have more time to help you, like it or not. And so…

Plan Ahead

The very first thing you need to do to prepare for summer as a work at home mom is plan ahead. There are several things you need to consider:

  • Will you make any changes to your regular schedule?
  • What do you need from your spouse?
  • What do you need from your kids?
  • How are you going to keep the kids out of your hair when you need to work?
  • What will you do when the kids say they’re bored?
  • Do you need to put the kids in daycare?
  • Are there vacations or events you need to plan around?
  • Of the things the kids want to do over the summer, which are realistic?
  • What could possibly go wrong?

Depending on what you do from home, you may have to keep to much the same routine or you may be able to change things around to suit yourself. Not all work at home jobs have flexible hours, after all. Be realistic when making your plans.

The changes you have to make to prepare to work at home during the summer will depend on the ages of your kids, of course. Kids who are too young for school won’t change much at all. School age children will have a more significant change, but their needs will change as they get older. A time will come when they won’t need all that much from you aside from rides and such.

Talk With Your Family

Once you know what you need, it’s time to talk things over with your family so that everyone’s on the same page or close to it. You can’t assume that they’ll understand otherwise.

Remind the kids of the rules regarding your work hours and interruptions. This is especially important if you’re going to be on the phone or if distractions are a major problem for you.

Be sure your spouse or significant other is on your side and ready to help. If they’re home during your work hours, they should be the one to help the kids with whatever – the kids should not be interrupting you at all if there’s another responsible adult available. They should also know how much background noise you can handle while working.

Once everyone understands your expectations and needs, you can think about the other things your family can do over the summer. You don’t have to manage every minute of your kids’ days, but you can make some plans.

Add New Chores To The Kids’ To Do Lists

child cleaning

Children are quite capable of helping around the house, and they should do it often. How many people have stories about the college freshman they knew who had never done his or her own laundry and was at a complete loss, or the friend who didn’t know how to cook even the most basic of foods?

Summer is a great time to encourage your kids to start cooking, even if they don’t want to. It’s an important life skill. If you have any doubts about how well kids can do in the kitchen, watch shows such as Masterchef Jr. Those kids are amazing.

If they can cook already, consider having them cook more often.

Think about what your kids are capable of cleaning, even if they won’t immediately do it to your standards. Dusting, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, laundry, all that fun stuff. Surely some of it can be made at least partially a chore for the kids.

Keep Their School Skills Fresh

One big problem with such a long summer break is that children forget what they learned in school. Then their teachers have to go over all over it again at the start of the new school year. Summer learning loss is a real problem for kids.

There are plenty of websites which can help you help them retain the things they learned at school. You can find printable math worksheets and more online. Khan Academy has only a little suitable for elementary school aged kids, but it gets better as they get more advanced. Prodigy is better for younger kids, as it’s more game based.

You can also make up your own assignments for them. I prefer to keep summer work within the interests of each child when I can. The child who loves cats, for example, will read books about cats or with cats in them much more willingly than other books. Comic books and other easy reading are perfectly acceptable too. Reading anything is better than reading nothing.

I don’t suggest hours of schoolwork a day or even necessarily doing schoolwork every day. Even a half hour once or twice a week may be plenty, depending on the skills you’re working with.

Summer Camps And Classes

You don’t have to do all the educational stuff on your own, and it doesn’t all have to be educational anyhow. Look into summer camps and classes for your kids that fit into your budget and their interests.

When my kids were younger, for example, I insisted on swimming lessons for them every summer. My older ones have aged out now, but the youngest still gets them. My main reason for this was because their grandparents had a pool, as did some friends. These days we have less pool access for them, but it’s still a good idea to teach kids to swim. It’s a big part of water safety.

If camps and classes don’t fit into your budget, don’t feel bad. There are lots of other things your kids can do. Believe me, I know how hard it is to afford these things at times. There have been times where getting the money for swimming lessons was hard, and they’re relatively affordable. Fortunately, there are lots of free and cheap things you can do as a family that will be lots of fun.

Go To The Park

playground

Getting out to the park regularly gets the kids away from the electronic forms of entertainment, and if you have one young enough to nap yet, encourages naptime later on. If your kids are old enough to only be lightly watched as they play, you may even be able to bring your laptop and work while they play.

I suggest going either early in the day or in the evenings after dinner, as those are the cooler times of day. You’ll also have to worry less about sunburn.

We like to go to the movies in the park our local parks do in the summer. Free movies and a good chance of running into friends makes for a great evening for all concerned.

Trade Time With Other At Home Parents

If you know other stay at home or work at home parents, consider trading times where you have each others’ kids come over. If the kids are friends, this works great! They’re excited to see their friends, and no matter which house they’re at, they’ll probably be more focused on having fun together than on you.

Obviously, if you need quiet because you have a work at home customer service job or other phone work, don’t schedule your turns with the kids when you have to work. They’re going to be loud.

Alternatively, you may be fortunate enough to have family who can help you out. My kids sometimes spend a part of the summer with their grandparents. My sister and I will sometimes trade kids around, although that’s a 1:1 trade which means I still have kids around. But the cousins get along well and generally enjoy their time together, leaving me out of it.

Get A Mother’s Helper

I loved it when I had a mother’s helper when my oldest was a baby. It made life much easier. My helper was too young to be a babysitter, but quite aware of how her older sisters made money with babysitting. Of course she cost less to hire, as I was right there, able to change diapers and so forth. She just had to keep the baby entertained.

If you have a toddler and an older child, you can also pay the older child to have more specific duties toward the younger, beyond what you expect simply for the fact that you’re all family. It’s a good way to teach them responsibility and the value of earning money.

Go To The Library

child reading

If your kids love to read, heading to the library is a great way to encourage the habit without spending a fortune on books. Younger kids in particular have changing tastes which can make it difficult to keep a decent selection of books for them. The library, on the other hand, should have lots of books available.

Libraries can have a variety of programs for kids over the summer. Many have reading challenges, but they may also have events. We’ve seen magic shows at our library, for example, as well as many other fun programs. Check your local library’s website to see if anything interesting is coming up.

Have Arts And Crafts Supplies Available

Just how available you make the arts and crafts supplies depends on how much you can trust your kids to use them properly. You may need to keep some out of reach of younger children who might misuse them, while older children should have more or less free access. You know how far you can trust your kids.

As kids get older, the supplies should allow for their greater skills. We have a soldering kit for my kids, tools they’re allowed to use, good quality paints and more.

If your kids aren’t sure how to do something, encourage them to find resources. Library books can be a great place to start. YouTube videos are available on all kinds of subjects. It’s much easier to pick up a fun skill than it used to be.

Get Them Playing Outside

I know summer is hot and kids will grumble about it, but they should still play outside when possible. The trick is to make sure that they will have fun.

backyard soccer

The first thing to do is to have lots of fun things they can do outside. Consider all of the fun things you could have ready for them:

  • Bikes
  • Skates
  • Skateboards
  • Water toys
  • Soccer balls, baseballs, footballs, etc.
  • Sandbox
  • Swing set
  • Sidewalk chalk

If the days are too hot or you’re concerned about sun exposure, encourage your kids to play outside earlier or later in the day. Many outdoor games are more fun at night anyhow.

If you’re ambitious, set up the barbecue to cook dinner outside some nights. Dinner outside makes for great family time and gets everyone outdoors. Don’t forget the marshmallows!

Have A Dedicated Play Area

Just as you are better off working in a dedicated home office space in most cases, kids are often better off in an at least somewhat dedicated play area. It might be their bedrooms, but at least they’re playing someplace where they’re out of your hair. Just be sure to check out that suspicious silence. They’re either up to something or being so cute you’ll need a camera. Maybe both.

You don’t have to do all of these suggestions, of course. These are simply ideas that can help make your summer as a work at home mom better so you can be productive while letting your kids have fun.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated June 22nd, 2018

Keeping The Kids Busy When It’s Miserably Hot

Keeping The Kids Busy When It's Miserably Hot

Summer is a great time for children. School is out for most of them and it’s time to play. Running, climbing, building sand castles, swimming…

Sweating, sunburns, complaining.

It’s not easy keeping the kids busy all summer long, especially on those miserably hot days when no one wants to go outside. And while you can take advantage of summer nights to have a little more fun while it’s cool outside, that doesn’t entirely take care of those long, hot summer days. What can you do to keep them busy, short of turning the AC on full blast, driving up your electrical bill and letting them watch television or play video games all day? Plenty!

Make Cool Treats

First of all, have some cheap, cool treats on hand. Otter Pops or homemade popsicles don’t cost much. You may need to enforce a rule that they are eaten outside to limit the mess. If it’s really hot, these may only keep the kids out for a short time. Then again, they might find something fun to do outside. Sometimes getting the kids outside is half the battle.

I like to make homemade popsicles from fruit and vegetable smoothies. This way they’re a healthy snack, but the kids still adore them. They’ve even been known to have smoothie popsicles for breakfast, a fact which sometimes astonishes their friends. I wouldn’t hesitate to give a healthy smoothie for breakfast, so why not the same smoothie in popsicle form?smoothie before mixing

There are tons of smoothie recipes out there. Here’s my basic starter recipe. It varies depending on what I have available, and I really don’t measure quantities. Everything just gets thrown in.

Handful of spinach
One carrot
One banana
Celery
Single serving container plain Greek yogurt
Assorted frozen fruits to top the whole thing off
Fruit juice or preferred milk to make enough liquid for blending
Honey if needed for sweetness (to taste)
Squeeze of lemon juice to bring out flavors (to taste)

Mix the whole thing together. You can add cacao nibs, chia seeds and so forth to boost the nutritional content if you want.

If cherry season has been good, this chocolate cherry smoothie is really good as well. I have my kids pit and freeze lots of cherries whenever the price gets low enough.

Get The Kids Outside Early Or Late

Try getting the kids outside to play in the earlier and later parts of the day, when it’s cooler outside. Then you won’t feel so bad if they’re watching television in the hottest part of the day. Try to keep television watching/video game playing under two hours a day total.

If you can get your kids playing outside until about 10 a.m., the day won’t be too hot for some fun, unless it’s going to be one of those miserably hot days. If it’s already hot out, there’s nothing wrong with some early water play.

Encourage your kids to do things like ride bikes, roller skate, play tag, and so forth before the day gets too hot or after it cools down a little. Physical activity is so important, but it can be hard to get enough of it when they weather is so hot. These are also good for encouraging independence in your children.

If you all want to get out, first thing in the morning or in the evening is the perfect time for a family hike. We have hills in our area that have some very nice hikes… so long as it isn’t too hot out. Some of those trails have very little shade. Pick the right time, and it’s a pleasant way to get some exercise as a family.

water balloons

Have Lots Of Water Toys

If there’s one thing that gets kids outside even on hot days, it’s water. And while we can’t all have swimming pools, there are plenty of ways for kids to have fun with water on hot days. Be sure to remember the sunscreen!

For very young children, a water table is a lot of fun. Add in a few toys to move the water around, and they’ll be happy for a while. Some sandbox toys work great with water as well as sand.

If you have a big enough yard, a Slip n’ Slide is a lot of fun. Sprinklers are another great option, plus you get to water your lawn a little that way. You don’t have to buy the ones made for kids to play with – just about any sprinkler you own will do just fine.

Squirt guns and water balloons can be a lot of fun too. My kids have found Bunch O Balloons to be both fun and frustrating. They’re fun because they fill up so fast, but frustrating because the balloons don’t always seal up well, and tend to leak. And like most water balloons, they often bounce rather than break.

Squirt guns are a lot of fun so long as you get the right kind for your child’s age. Little kids find the larger ones too heavy, and the need to pump them up makes them too difficult. Big kids, on the other hand, rarely enjoy smaller squirt guns. They’d rather have a Super Soaker type, and the greater the range, the more fun.

Of course, if you do have a swimming pool, make sure you and your family follow all the water safety rules. So many accidents can be avoided with a little caution.

water table

Find Fun Ways To Keep The Kids Busy Indoors

Have fun things ready for them to do indoors that have nothing to do with electronics. Screen time has its place, but you don’t want it to be the only thing your kids do.

Board games work very well, depending on the ages of your kids. Choosing a board game can cause a lot of arguments, as do some games, but overall they’re a great choice. You may need to help your kids negotiate if there’s a big age or interest range, so they learn to balance these things out.

Subscription boxes for kids can be a great idea for the summer. My kids have had fun with Groovy Lab In A Box. You can do a subscription or choose single boxes to ensure you get something your kids will enjoy. Subscriptions are cheaper than single boxes, but you don’t know what you’re going to get. They’re pretty good, in my experience.

If you’re more creative, you can buy things locally or on Amazon to make your own versions of subscription boxes. Think of a theme and go for it!

I encourage my kids to pick up a new skill or improve an old one each summer. My artistically inclined kids draw or paint a lot. Using a computer drawing tablet doesn’t count as screen time since they’re working on a skill. Just about any skill will do, and it’s fun for kids to work on their own interests, rather than do whatever their school requires of them.

And of course, encourage your kids to just play with their toys. They don’t need to spend every minute doing something educational.

Sign The Kids Up For Activities

Many parents choose to enroll their kids in activities for the summer. This is good if not taken to extremes – kids need time to just be kids.

My kids do swimming lessons every summer until they hit the top level of the available classes. While they no longer have the regular pool access they had when they were younger, we never know when a friend will turn out to have a pool. It’s just safer to have all kids learn to swim, even if they won’t use that skill at home.

Check with your local community center for more activities you can sign your kids up for. Art, drama, martial arts, gymnastics, dance… the list goes on, most places. Make sure it’s something your kids want to do, so they enjoy the class.

There are a lot of free and cheap activities you can do as a family as well. Many of them don’t require any kind of signup, just show up and participate or do completely on your own.

Reading Time

Encourage your kids to spend some time each day reading for pleasure. You can take them to your local library for books, head to the bookstore, or get more books on Amazon, depending on what your kids want to read.

My youngest loves the Warrior Cats series, for example. She will run out of books in that series eventually, but for now, it has gotten my very reluctant reader to enjoy reading.

Your local library may have a summer reading challenge as well as summer activities your kids will enjoy. Earning a prize for reading is just one more incentive.

Don’t force your kids to read something they don’t want to read over the summer. Help them find something they will enjoy, whether it’s novels or comic books. They’ll have plenty of assigned reading from their schools as they grow. Of course, if your child’s school assigns summer reading, make sure they take care of that too.

Be Ready For Grumbles

Of course, just because the kids are complaining that it’s too hot outside doesn’t mean you have to give in and let them play inside. In many cases, it isn’t that it’s too hot to play outside, it’s that your kids are bored.

That’s why you need to have a lot of things for your kids to do. Don’t give your kids ideas for what to do every time… it’s better for them to learn to figure that out on their own as they get older. If they have options available, they will figure it out. Or you can always assign them chores. Whatever works.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated June 8th, 2018

Summer Night Activities To Make Your Summer Amazing

Summer Night Activities To Make Your Summer Amazing

How difficult is it for you to get your family out and doing things during the summer? It’s just so hot out! You have to worry about sunburn or even heatstroke if the day is hot enough. That’s why I’m so fond of summer night activities.

Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the night. Summer nights are generally warm, and it’s just such a relief after the heat of the day to get outside and do something! Get away from all the devices as a family and go have some fun. But where?

Take a look and see if there are any places in your area that have special summer night activities. Most communities have something going on.

Planning fun family activities for summer nights can even help you be more productive when you work at home during the summer. The promise of something fun to do later can encourage your kids to let your work during the day.

Try The Zoo

Many zoos are open at night during the summer. The animals are very different at night. Nocturnal animals are so much more active! It’s a lot of fun, and no one complains that the sun is too hot on them at night.

We start in the late afternoon when we go to the zoo during the summer. Mostly that’s because it’s always the San Diego Zoo, and it takes so long to see everything there. But it’s also because it’s fun seeing things change as the sun goes down. We have passes, so it’s not like we have to worry about getting out money’s worth for the day.

I strongly recommend getting zoo passes when you have kids. The zoo is a great place to get out with your kids anytime. Try it on a rainy day sometime too.

Backyard Camping

Camp out in your backyard. Many nights it can be more comfortable to sleep outside in the tent than in the house, which is still retaining heat from the day.

Once your kids are old enough, you can consider allowing them to camp in the backyard without you. Kids love that little bit of independence, yet they’re close enough to get you if they need anything. So long as they aren’t noisy enough to bother the neighbors, you don’t have to worry about bedtime when they camp in the backyard.

Don’t be surprised if the kids need to sleep a little during the day after a backyard campout. You know how early the sun comes up during the summer, and they probably tried to stay up late. They’re tired.

camping

Take A Camping Trip

Alternatively, try a one night camping trip at a local campground. Roast marshmallows around the campfire, tell stories and just relax. Don’t forget to leave a little time for a family hike during the day.

Some campgrounds also offer night hikes. You don’t want to hike anywhere you might get lost at night, but clearly defined trails will usually be safe enough so long as you stay on them.

telescope

Stargazing

Go stargazing. Whether you look at the stars from your own backyard or drive out to someplace a little darker, children love to look at the stars.

Help your kids identify the constellations. SkyView is a great app that can help you identify what you’re seeing in the sky. You can also use gadgets such as the Night Sky Navigator to find different stars and constellations.

If you have a telescope, set it up and start looking for interesting objects in the sky. Jupiter and Saturn can be pretty easy to find when they’re up. The moon can be amazing, but very bright through a telescope. Depending on your telescope, you may be able to get a look at nebulas and other interesting things.

If you don’t have a telescope, you can use binoculars to look at the moon. Binoculars aren’t steady enough or strong enough for most other objects, but the moon can be interesting through them.

Another alternative if you don’t have a telescope is to head out to a local planetarium or see if a local amateur astronomers’ club has a night when they do stargazing with the public. You can talk to some very knowledgeable people that way and see things you might not have known to look for.

Don’t forget to look for shooting stars. If you want the best luck, head to a dark place on the night of a meteor shower. The Perseids are most active in August, but they start in late July.

Movies At The Park Or Your Backyard

My kids love that our community does Movies At The Park every summer. It’s a wonderful chance to go to the park, play with some friends and then watch a movie. We get there at least an hour early so we get a good spot on the grass and so the kids can play at the playground.

Movies At The Park is one of my favorite summer playdate ideas. I tell all the moms I know that we will be there most weeks and the kids would love to see their friends to play. No one has to clean their house for company or deal with their house being messed up after. If no one shows up, it’s still a pretty good time.

You can even bring dinner and have a picnic at the park. We do this some of the time, but in the early summer especially, the movies start so late that dinner at home makes as much sense as dinner at the park, and much less trouble at the end of the night.

You can also set up movies in your backyard if you have the equipment. Video projectors can be very reasonably priced, and then you need a light colored, reasonably smooth wall or a white sheet to project the image onto. Some models are less than $100. You can watch the movies of your choice from your collection or subscriptions in your backyard whenever you want this way.

summer concerts

Outdoor Concerts

Many communities not only do movie nights in their parks, they offer outdoor concerts during the summer at night as well. Take a look at your community pages to see what kind of events are available in your area, and which concerts you would like to attend.

Outdoor concerts aren’t at night everywhere, but it’s so nice when they are. It’s much more pleasant to sit and listen when the sun isn’t beating down on you.

sunset

Watch The Sunset

Head out to the best place in your area to watch the sunset. We see them pretty well even in our front yard, but there are better places to watch a sunset. There’s a park in our area that overlooks the entire town that is great for sunsets.

Change up where you watch the sunset occasionally. It can be a part of a family adventure while doing something else to catch a great view of the sunset.

Play With Glow In The Dark Toys

Glow in the dark toys offer so many possibilities for summer night activities. It can all start with those glow in the dark necklaces that kids love and you can often find in the dollar store, but you can do so much more.

Glow in the dark frisbees are fun if you have enough room to throw them. It can be frustrating to lose one on the roof, which is why I always prefer that my kids use them at the park.

You can buy glow in the dark soccer balls, golf balls, basketballs and so much more to make any sports you like more fun at night. Some will use LEDs while others will be true glow in the dark items.

You can even make your own games, such as glow in the dark bowling. It’s super easy to set up at home.

Kids may also enjoy glow in the dark body paint. Most glow in the dark body paint requires the use of a blacklight, which could make an interesting addition to flashlight tag.

Flashlight Tag

Flashlight tag is an easy game to play. It’s much like hide and go seek, as the person who is It must first count to whatever number while the other players hide. They then try to catch other players in the light of a flashlight.

Flashlight tag is best if there’s a reasonably large area for people to hide. You don’t want the space so big that people get really lost, but you also don’t want it so small that there aren’t enough interesting hiding places to make the game a challenge.

Laser Tag

Laser tag is a great game to play at night, and if your kids enjoy it enough you can save a lot of money buying your own set of laser tag equipment rather than going to the arena every time. Make sure you read the reviews to ensure that you get equipment that is worth the cost. Some of the cheap sets don’t last very long.

If you can, give the kids a large area with some hiding spots to make their laser tag game more interesting. It much more fun if you can duck behind something to catch someone else off guard.

The one problem may be that some sets are noisy. Be sure that you don’t play laser tag too late at night if other people in your neighborhood can hear you.

barbecue

Make Dinner Outside

There’s a reason why barbecuing is so popular in the summer – no one wants to heat up their house by cooking indoors if they can help it. Well, that and because most people love barbecued food.

Shishkebabs can be a lot of fun, especially if you have picky eaters. Set up the ingredients so everyone can set up their own shishkebabs with the food they like. Make sure everyone washes their hands after handling raw meats, of course.

Don’t forget dessert when you make dinner outside. Keep those coals warm, and the kids can make traditional desserts such as s’mores, or have a little extra fun making campfire cones.

Picnic Dinner

Just because you made dinner in the house doesn’t mean you have to eat dinner in the house. Grab that food and have a picnic outside. If you choose the right time, the evening breeze feels wonderful.

You don’t have to go anywhere special to have a picnic dinner. Your backyard is good enough. If you’re feeling more ambitious, however, or just need to get away from the house that badly, move the picnic to the park. Having dinner and letting your kids play on the playground is a great way to let them get out that energy at the end of the day. Pay attention to local park rules, of course. Some close at dusk.

Sit Around The Firepit

Even if you don’t cook dinner in the barbecue, you can always set up a firepit to sit around on summer nights. They’re a great place to sit and talk while enjoying the night air, the stars, and maybe some marshmallows.

Make Treats

You don’t have to go outside to have fun. Stay indoors, open all the windows to let in the breeze, and start making cookies! You can let each child pick a recipe or so, depending on how many cookies you want to make.

Ice cream is another fun treat to make, especially if the night is warm. Pick a recipe and start up your ice cream maker. Or be lazy and get ice cream at the store. Either way, make it even more fun for everyone by setting up a topping bar. You probably can’t set up the range of treats the local frozen yogurt place has, but you can make it interesting enough.

Of course, you can always make treats around a campfire too.

Tell Stories

Whether you sit around a fire or you’re sitting around however you like, summer nights are a great time to tell stories. Scary stories are traditional, but you can also read books to your kids or make up something fun.

Make sure you have your kids tell stories too, whether they read a book out loud or make something up all their own. It’s a great way to encourage their creativity over the summer.

Night Swimming

I loved going swimming at night when I was a kid, the rare occasion that I had access to a swimming pool. It’s the perfect way to handle an overly warm summer night.

If you want to make it even more fun, get some glow in the dark pool toys.  The lights look amazing in and on top of the water, and kids love anything glow in the dark.

Catch Fireflies

If you live in an area that has fireflies, odds are that your kids will love catching fireflies. They’re a lot of fun to look at as they fly around, or get a closer look while they’re in a bottle. Let them go when you’re done, of course.

fireworks

Watch Fireworks

In some areas, the only chance you’ll have all summer to watch fireworks is the Fourth of July. In other areas, there may be places that have fireworks often throughout the summer.

If you live near a theme park, for example, some of them shoot off fireworks most summer nights. It can be pretty easy to watch the fireworks from outside the park. It won’t be quite as spectacular as the view in the park, but it can be a good show regardless.

If they’re legal in your area, you can do fireworks on your own, of course. Be sure you use proper safety precautions and watch the children carefully. There’s a risk of injury with any kind of fireworks that you and your family must be aware of. You don’t want to add to the statistics on fireworks injuries or start a fire.

Take A Walk

It may be too hot to take a walk during the day, but that shouldn’t keep you from taking a walk in a safe area at night. Night is the perfect time to take your dog for a walk during the summer – no worries about burnt paws after the sun goes down.

Take appropriate safety precautions of course. Have a flashlight and your cell phone with you, and it’s generally safer and more fun to walk in a group.

Of course, not all your summer activities with your kids have to be done at night. Don’t forget to consider these free or cheap summer activities to make this a great summer for your family.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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