11 ways to celebrate the first day of summer

June 15, 2019

Summer is many people's favorite time of the year, especially kids. School is out, the weather is warm and it's time to relax and recharge. Now the only question is ... what to do on the first day of summer?

Jill Tipograph, CEO and founder of Everything Summer, says that "summer is a fantastic time for families to reconnect and unplug together. Make an 'unplug pact' and see if your family can take a break from all electronics together at least once a day."

Wendy Hogan, owner of Kids Turn Central, feels kids need to break away from the computer during the summer and participate in other activities, too.

In the spirit of getting kids outside and into a summertime groove, our experts suggest some of their favorite screen-free activities. What will you do to celebrate the changing of seasons and longest day of the year? Here are 11 ideas to get you started.

1. Throw a "First Day of Summer" party

Make the backyard into a water park by turning a plastic tarp into a giant slip n' slide, hanging a cluster of water balloons from the ceiling like a piñata and giving everyone water-squirting toys for a splashing good time.

2. Make a "Welcome to Summer" fun box

Create a kit that will help make this summer one to remember. Give kids a box filled with some of their favorite activities, like sand toys, art supplies, games and books. It will provide inspiration for fun things to do and will help keep them occupied during the warm weather months.

3. Write a summertime activity list

Have kids write summertime activities they would like to do on index cards. Then store them in a jar and draw one each day or every time they need things to do or say "I'm bored!"

4. Spoon up some ice cream

One of the quintessential summer symbols is ice cream. Make the first day of summer even better by stopping by your favorite ice cream stand or setting up a make-your-own sundae bar for dinner.

5. Freshen up your home

Perhaps spring cleaning got away from you. Let the official change of seasons be your cue to freshen up the look of your bedroom and organize your kids' rooms and get them ready for summer. For example:

  • Clear out any old papers, books or clutter that accumulated over the school year and you don't need any more.
  • Reorganize the room's layout — even if it's not really necessary, it's fun to change things up.
  • Purchase airy curtains to let the sunlight in.
  • Put out memorabilia from previous summer fun (like shells from a trip to a beach).
  • Place repositionable stickers on the walls of your kids' rooms to create a warm-weather inspired mural.

6. Have a picnic

Celebrate the first night of summer with a dinnertime picnic in an unusual place, like on top of your building's parking garage for city dwellers, or in a spot along a scenic country road. Play games or perhaps it's time to dust off your bikes and ride until hunger — or an inspirational patch of grass — strikes. Revel in the relaxation and watch the stars come out as you polish off dessert.

7. Set up a lemonade and cookies stand

Start off summer by earning a little fun money to support all the big plans you have up your sleeve for vacation. There are lots of fun and easy ways to make a lemonade stand and start turning a profit. 

8. Play ball

Set a trend for an active summer and organize a baseball or softball game with family and friends.

9. Fly a kite

Channel Benjamin Franklin and make your own kites in preparation for the first day of summer. Then spend the day flying them in a field or park.

10. Camp out

Kick off summer with a night under the stars. Go camping in a state park or even your backyard. Do traditional fun camping things like grilling hot dogs and telling ghost stories.

11. Enjoy a summer-themed feast

What's your favorite summertime treat? Maybe it's homemade ice cream, BBQ ribs, burgers, s'mores or fresh fruits and veggies from your garden. Combine them in a meal that's a toast to the season and reminds you of all the good times past and those to come over the next couple of months.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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