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15 Summer Pastimes You Must Do Before the Kids Go Back to School

When I looked at the calendar this morning and noticed that next week is the 4th of July, I couldn’t believe it! Sure the 4th of July comes every year on, well, the 4th of July, but I can’t believe our summer is half over. I had grand plans of all the fun things I wanted to do with my kids this summer, both for their sake and my sanity.

When I was a kid, summer seemed to last forever. I have so many fond memories of all the summer pastimes my brother and I enjoyed while growing up. I don’t want summer to zoom by for my kids without them getting to do all those fun things that you just have to do in the summer!

Here are some of the things I don’t want them to miss out on!

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  • Make Homemade Ice Cream 1 of 15
    Make Homemade Ice Cream
    There is absolutely nothing like homemade vanilla ice cream in the summer. All you need is a little patience, rock salt, a great ice cream recipe, and an ice cream maker for this must-do summer pastime!
    (photo credit: Flickr)
  • Go to a Baseball Game 2 of 15
    Go to a Baseball Game
    We're lucky to have a minor league baseball team nearby and go to as many games as we can every summer. This summer, our kids finally got to see their first major league game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
  • Catch Fireflies 3 of 15
    Catch Fireflies
    Whether you call them fireflies or lightning bugs, this is a great summer pastime that every kid needs to do at least once!
    (photo credit: Flickr)
  • Eat Popsicles 4 of 15
    Eat Popsicles
    By this point in the summer, we've usually eaten our yearly allotment of this icy treat. We have a lot of catching up to do! My favorite flavor is grape, but my kids aren't picky!
  • Swim! 5 of 15
    Swim!
    My kids favorite summer pastime has to be swimming. We've been so busy, that we've only been a few times. With these hot summer days, a dip in the pool sounds pretty good!
    (photo credit: Flickr)
  • Set Up a Tent and Sleep Under the Stars 6 of 15
    Set Up a Tent and Sleep Under the Stars
    Our favorite camping spot is right in our backyard! We grill hot dogs, make s'mores, and sleep in our tent...just steps away from a clean bathroom.
    (photo credit: Flickr)
  • Send the Kids to Summer Camp or Vacation Bible School 7 of 15
    Send the Kids to Summer Camp or Vacation Bible School
    It's great having the kids home for the summer, but it's really fantastic when they are away for the morning at summer camp or vacation bible school! Not only do the kids get to have a whole lot of fun, moms get a much needed break. From art camp to superhero camp, there are lots of great affordable summer camp choices.
    (photo credit: Flickr)
  • Go to a Drive-In Movie 8 of 15
    Go to a Drive-In Movie
    What's summer without sitting in the back of a truck and watching a movie on the big screen?! I miss the days of the crackly speakers, but at least they haven't done away with the concession stand.
  • Go to the Fair 9 of 15
    Go to the Fair
    Nothing says summer like a corn dog and a ride on the tilt-a-whirl! Now with the advent of deep-fried EVERYTHING, the fair has truly stepped it up a notch in the culinary department. We also love the farm animals and people watching, where it just doesn't get any better than the fair.
  • Have a Water Balloon Fight 10 of 15
    Have a Water Balloon Fight
    There are all sorts of products on the market, like water balloon launchers and special devices for quickly filling the balloons, but really all you need is an outdoor faucet and some balloons. Get the kids to fill the balloons and you have just figured out a way to keep the kids occupied for at least an hour!
    (photo credit: Flickr)
  • Have a Lemonade Stand 11 of 15
    Have a Lemonade Stand
    Who can resist a lemonade stand? Nobody, that's who. Kids have a great time while earning a little money and learning something about business. You can even have the kids donate their earnings to a local charity.
    (photo credit: Flickr)
  • Watch Fireworks 12 of 15
    Watch Fireworks
    With the 4th of July around the corner, make sure to scope out the best spots for viewing the spectacular fireworks displays. Bring earplugs for the little ones if they're sensitive to loud noises!
    (photo credit: Flickr)
  • Take a Road Trip 13 of 15
    Take a Road Trip
    Logging some miles on the open road not only builds character, it also trains kids to scope out gas stations with clean restrooms. That's an important life skill, you know! Explore a new town, discover some fun tourist traps, and find some great local food to grub on. Here are even some tips for having a great road trip!
    (photo credit: Flickr)
  • Go Berry Picking 14 of 15
    Go Berry Picking
    Check out pickyourown.org to find the nearest strawberry, blueberry, and blackberry farm near you. Make a cobbler with your haul and serve it with your homemade vanilla ice cream!
  • Have a Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest 15 of 15
    Have a Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest
    Trust me, the kids will LOVE this. The best part is that you actually get to eat juicy, ripe watermelon!
    (photo credit: Flickr)

What are some other must-do summer pastimes that you plan to do with your family?

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