When I was a kid it seemed like the last day of school would never come.
Now it seems like summer is rushing at us full speed and I'm still wondering where Spring went! And last summer? I honestly couldn't tell you what we did, as I work Mon-Fri and my husband works Thursday through Sunday - resulting in very little time spent with all of us together.
This summer I am aiming to make as many memories as I can with my littles, and to share as much as I can with you. Les time with kids arguing over tablet time, less time arguing with kids to put their toys away for the millionth time.
Please, don't argue guys, I'm begging you...
I digress (which has become my new catch phrase). Instead I plan to lazily love every mud covered, bug bitten, sun burned, paint splattered, glue smeared, berry stained moment. Last year I asked our followers on social media what they have on their Summer Bucket Lists and I put together checklist for those of us that may be running low on ideas to keep our kiddos busy..
Hit the local fishing holes and see who catches the biggest fish. Our family frequents Wilmore Dam, Lake Rowena and Chest Creek as some of our closest fishing spots. Set up a tent and eat s'mores under the stars while the kids take turns telling spooky stories to see who can scare each other the most. Catch lightning bugs or hunt for nightcrawlers. Jamee from Shanksville recommends Quemahoning Dam & Family Recreation Area, located in Boswell, PA as a local favorite. Not only do they have camping but swimming, boating and more to keep your family busy!
Play a full game of Monopoly.
OK, it doesn't have to be Monopoly, but finding time for game night will be much harder once school starts. Plan at least one evening of game night fun before summer ends so you can crown a family champion. Not a fan of board games, try a game of volleyball, badminton or horse shoes. A little competition between family and friends can make for some fun memories. Prefer card games? Try out a game of Spoons, Crazy 8s and even Poker for those willing to bet their Oreos or snack mix. Just have fun with it!
Go visit that park you haven't found time for.
Maybe it's not a park, but a hiking trail. Or a new restaurant. Or a new local attraction. Now is the time to find the time! Nichole from Johnstown likes Penns Cave for a fun local attraction. Other options could include hiking through Stackhouse Park (recommended by Michelle from Westmont), exploring Ohiopyle (a favorite of Andrea) and Falling Water in Millrun (a summer must for Cheryl in Johnstown.
Get to the water.
There's something about spending an afternoon at the water -- whether it's an ocean, a lake, a pool, or a stream -- that makes people unwind and relax. Skipping stones, digging holes, diving under over and over ... being on the water is what summer memories are made of. The Laurel Highlands has an abundance of water attractions: from Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park (recommended by Andrea), Coal Tubing (a favorite of Cheryl from Johnstown), the Juniata Memorial Spray Park in Altoona (a top pick from Michelle in Westmont), and the ACRP Splash Park in Johnstown. Choices abound for some cool fun on hot days!
Take a long bike ride.
Spending time together leisurely exploring your town on two wheels is the perfect way to spend a late summer day. Stop at your favorite restaurant for lunch, or pack a picnic to make a day of it. Stackhouse Park in Westmont is a beautiful spot for a ride; as well as the Ghost Town Trail stretching from Black Lick in Indiana County to Ebensburg in Cambria County.
Eat more ice cream.
I mean, do we really need to expound on this? Some of the recommended spots include The Shake Shak in Boswell, the Frosty Cow in Altoona, The Ranger in Saint Michael, Shaffer's Frosty Freeze and of course the Ligonier Creamery. After your cool treat, check out Hogues Fun Factory Facebook page to see where they will be set up next for some bouncing fun!
Close down your local amusement park.
Amusement parks are fun during the day, but after dark when the lights come on, they are magical. Give the kids the experience of staying until closing time at least one night before the season ends. Delgrosso's has all the rides and water fun your family can handle and is a favorite of Tara's from Richland! Or you could head over to Idewild & Soakzone, Kenywood or Lakemont Park!
Be a tourist in your own town.
Visit the local museums. Eat at the local restaurants. See the sights the tourists don't miss. You and your kids will gain a new appreciation for what makes where you live special. Flight 93 Memorial is a spot that both Nichole and Cheryl from Johnstown appreciate. Also making the list was the National Johnstown Flood Museum, Living Treasures Zoo, Heritage Discovery Center & Children's Museum and Horseshoe Curve.
Go to a drive-in.
Nothing says summer like an outdoor movie. Don't have a drive-in nearby? Make your own "theater" outside by showing a movie on the side of your garage, a white sheet, or even on your ceiling. Don't forget the popcorn and candy! Some favorites include the Silver Drive-In located in Johnstown, Bar Ann Drive-In located in Portage, Palace Gardens Drive-In located in Indiana, and the Hi-Way 219 Drive-In located in Carrolltown.
Go back-to-school shopping.
Kids everywhere love back-to-school shopping. Get them excited about the school year by taking them out to choose new shoes, outfits, and school supplies. Want to save money? Macaroni Mamas know how to do it! Then don't let them touch anything until the first day of school.
After all, it'll be here before we know it.
Jestine Mayes is Publisher of Macaroni Kid Johnstown - Laurel Highlands - Altoona, PA