5 Ways to Celebrate the Start of Summer

posted: 06/19/15
by: Blythe Copeland
daughter and father playing in a pool

The start of summer -- officially June 21 -- is the perfect time to relax your usual routine and celebrate with a once-a-year event: backyard movies, a neighborhood-wide water fight, ice cream for dinner, and other fun activities for the whole family.

1. Start a summer journal.

A summer journal is an ideal way for people of any age to keep track of all their warm-weather adventures, but it's especially helpful for school-age kids, giving them a way to practice writing, reading, and other key skills when classes are out of session. Younger kids can use their journal to draw pictures of their favorite summer activities; get them motivated by providing new art supplies and stickers along with a fresh notebook.

2. Have dessert for dinner.

Mark the official start of summer with an ice cream sundae party: set out vanilla and chocolate ice cream, invite friends and neighbors to bring their favorite toppings to share, and give the kids a pass to skip dinner and go straight to dessert. (You can also offer cheese, fruit, and yogurt as healthier side options, but don't be surprised if those go uneaten in favor of the treats!)

3. Pack a picnic.

Lunch or dinner al fresco in your own yard will work, but to create a more special occasion, pack a picnic meal to eat at your local park or playground. Simple sandwiches, cold salads, and easy-to-transport finger foods are a fun change from more formal dinners at the table. Don't have a fire pit? Finish the meal with tasty s'mores cookies for a true taste of summer.

4. Have a water fight.

Put together an old-fashioned water fight in your neighborhood, complete with water balloons, water guns, and soaked "sponge bombs". Set up buckets or coolers to act as squirt gun refill stations so you can keep the fun going until everyone is fully soaked. Or if the water fight scene isn't your style, set up sprinklers, a slip and slide, and a kiddie pool to help everyone cool off without the battle.

5. Host an outdoor movie night.

With a projector and a sheet, you can turn your backyard into a memorable movie theater. Choose a family-friendly film that all your neighbors can enjoy; encourage friends to bring chairs and blankets; offer cups of popcorn and candy; and let the kids stay up way past bedtime to enjoy their favorite movie under the stars.