Alternative Summer Activities for the Family

Every summer as a kid, I remember being so excited about the end of the school year, especially before my family started homeschooling. Next to Christmas, I looked forward to summer the most—there was no need to wake up early, no school bus to catch, and no homework in the afternoon. Instead, there was plenty of time to watch movies, go on a couple of beach trips, and most importantly, to sleep in.

Then several days would pass and I would get too bored; trips were too expensive, and the usual destinations too crowded. Family members had used up all their leaves from work to plan yet another out-of-town trip. My sister and I had watched all the movies I wanted to catch up on—twice. Worst of all, I had slept for what already seemed like months’ worth of sleep.

What do you do then?

Here are some ideas to save your family from boredom and huge expenses, without taking all the fun out of the summer days.

Visit Museums

Alternative Summer Activities for the Family |

Museums are educational, interactive, and instagrammable—a must in this day and age, especially for your teenagers! When planning out of the country itineraries, we excitedly plan a number of museum trips to learn about that destination’s history and culture, so why not explore that of our own country’s? Cities in and out of Metro Manila are filled with museums that kids and adult alike will enjoy, not to mention they definitely cost less than out-of-the-country trips. Popular go-to’s that are worth a visit include the National Museum, Ayala Museum, Mind Museum, and many more. But if Manila traffic is too much to deal with, then I suggest paying a visit to your local museums and heritage sites—yes, we have those! It will surely be a great way to bond as a family, kindle a love for history and culture, educate the kids (and even prepare them for the next school year), and take lots of good family photos!

Host Themed Parties at Home

Alternative Summer Activities for the Family |

This is perhaps the easiest activity on this list to plan and execute. All you need is Pinterest, a trip to the grocery, and a few kids from the neighborhood. As children, my sister and I would usually come up with theme ideas after watching a movie, reading about a cuisine, or meeting someone from another country. We would then go on Pinterest and research recipes, decorations, and music. We loved discovering how to prepare the dishes, and our friends would come over bringing dessert or drinks, too! Tacos for Mexican nights, homemade Pinoy streetfood for merienda, ice cream parties for hot summer day—all so easy and so fun to make! I loved having themed parties as a kid (and in fact enjoy them until now)—from planning to cooking to dressing up to making the playlist and, of course, to eating. Another fun thing to try is to take turns among your neighbors in hosting these parties.

Go on Nature Trips

Alternative Summer Activities for the Family |

We cannot deny that summer breaks inevitably mean long days in front of the screen for our kids. But why not invite (not command!) them to take a break and go gadget-free on some days and plan a nature trip? It could be as exciting as a quick hike to a nearby mountain, a visit to a local farm, or even as simple as a family workout at the park. Fresh air is free, so even an activity once a week would be worth it. Believe me, kids need the fresh air, and so do parents!

Sign Up for Summer Camps

Alternative Summer Activities for the Family |

All the summer camps I’ve been to from childhood to now have all been memorable in their own way. I thank my parents for signing us up to every single one of them because not only did these camps give us something to remember the summers by, but they really gave us valuable life lessons, experiences, and friendships. Even as a kid who loved the indoors, camps were something I looked forward to. So much so that even as I outgrew the age limits in these kids camps and youth camps, I would always sign up to be a volunteer or part of the organizing committee. So go ahead and ask around your neighborhood, church communities, and schools for upcoming camps. (Besides, a few days all to yourselves is a well-deserved treat!)

Do Volunteer Activities

Alternative Summer Activities for the Family |

Another activity that will surely add a lot of meaning to your family’s summer is volunteer work. Find an area where your kids have a particular passion or interest in, and commit to helping them discover more about it by looking for opportunities for them to grow. If your kids love animals, ask neighbors if you could walk their pets every day. If your kids are good in sports, volunteer to teach younger children some basics. If they enjoy nature, organize eco-friendly activities such as recycle drives. If they have a heart for children, regularly visit the nearest children’s home. These activities may seem simple, but they open new directions for young kids to explore as they grow up.

These are just some ideas that will hopefully help your family create stronger bonds this summer. Whatever activity you choose from this list or from your own, the key is to do it as a family. Don’t let the season pass without getting to know one another a little deeper and loving one another a little more.

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