Cincinnati Family Magazine

Your # 1 Hometown Family Resource

September 29, 2022

Summer Fun Ideas

Summer’s supposed to be fun and full of adventures for kids. Here are some summer fun ideas to help you make the most of it with your family.

The lure of slowing down over summer sounded idyllic in the whir of hectic school schedules, but what to do when your child starts singing the summertime boredom blues? Try filling his dance card with this head-spinning assortment of creative, educational and exhilarating activities. Not only will you fight off boredom, you’ll create plenty of new memories while relaxing, playing and learning together as a family!

1. Tend a garden.

Together with your child, cultivate containers of herbs, tomatoes or peppers. Take a digital photo each day to track the progress of the plant’s growth. Have your child put the photos in order in a journal and write down any observations. Together, prepare a meal using your child’s homegrown produce. Or, visit the community gardens at Valley View (5330 S. Milford Road, Milford) where you can purchase a plot of land to plant, grow and harvest your own bounty. Call 513-218-1098 or visit valleyviewcampus.org.

2. Sleep outdoors.

Chris Starnes, a mom of three, says her family loves to camp. They look forward to hiking, biking and swimming and a break from electronics. Want to take your family? Starnes suggests downloading a camping checklist from the internet and reserving a site at a state park. “State parks are cleaner, well-patrolled and usually have activities for the kids at some point during the day or weekend,” she says. “Go where there is a playground. And, don’t camp too far from restrooms — think evening or middle of the night trips!” Visit ohiocamper.com for a complete list of places to camp in Ohio; or kentuckytourism.com for Kentucky campgrounds.

3. Stare at the stars.

On a clear night, direct your family’s gaze toward the heavens. Try identifying a few of the 88 different constellations, many of which are named after mythological men, women and animals. Is your child interested in learning more about the characters dotting the celestial night sky? Read D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire. Better yet, head to the Cincinnati Observatory Center (3489 Observatory Place; 513-321-5186) for Saturnday on June 7 at 9 p.m. Families can look at the “Lord of the Rings” through the Observatory’s historic telescopes and enjoy tours of the buildings, too. Make an afternoon visit from 1 – 4 p.m. on June 22 for Sun-day Sunday Sundae and learn all about the sun, sunspots and solar flares, all while enjoying a tasty treat. Cost is $7 per person for both events; visit cincinnatiobservatory.org.

4. Build and fly a kite.

“The experience never fails to fill adults and kids with wonder every time they fly a kite,” says Sean Beaver, a kite enthusiast and father of two. Kite flying is an inexpensive and relaxing activity. Check out the American Kite Association website, aka.kite.org, which provides educational resources, including the history of kites and the science and math behind kite flying.

5. Pick berries.

Bring summer home in a bucket of berries. Check out pickyourown.org to find a farm near you. Celebrate the fruits of your labor by baking muffins or enjoying berries over homemade ice cream!

6. Go local.

Area farmer’s markets offer an assortment of colorful, seasonal produce. There’s no better time to taste locally grown foods and experiment with new wholesome recipes in the kitchen with your child. Visit our website at cincinnatifamilymagazine.com/directory-categories/farms-orchards/ for a list of local farmers’ markets.

7. Cook up a story.

Recipes help kids practice math and reading skills, but also try giving cooking a literary twist that will delight even preschoolers. Krista King-Oaks of the Kenton County Public Library recommends Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert. “Lois’ books are so colorful and engaging, it feels as if the foods are bouncing off the page,” she says. She also likes Thundercake by Patricia Polacco: “Perfect for those stormy summer afternoons and the recipe from the author’s grandmother is included at the end of the story!” Lastly, King-Oaks likes The Official DC Super Hero Cookbook by Matthew Mead, adding that the book is spiral-bound, making it user-friendly, and full of colorful pictures and easy recipes.

8. Tour a working farm.

Show your child how foods make it to grocery store shelves by touring a local farm or dairy. Many places offer tours by appointment and schedule themed events. Sunrock Farm offers family tours during which parents and kids can do things like help milk a goat, gather eggs, pet a pig, brush a horse and more fun. Cost is $10 per person and reservations are required. Call 859-781-5502 or visit sunrockfarm.org.

9. Chase fireflies.

Fireflies like grassy, humid areas near ponds and lakes, as well as treed areas and fields, away from urban lights. To attract fireflies to your garden or yard, try turning off your home’s exterior lights. If you capture any fireflies, put them in a ventilated jar with a wet paper towel to keep the jar humid and allow the fireflies to breathe. Due to light pollution and insecticides, firefly populations have decreased. Be sure and let them go after you’re done admiring their flashing lights. To learn more about fireflies, visit firefly.org. Cincinnati Nature Center’s Long Branch Farm and Trails (6926 Gaynor Road, Goshen) hosts a Firefly Fiddle Fest on Saturday, June 21 from 7 – 11 p.m. Families can explore the trails, chase some fireflies, and eat from the food trucks. A limited number of spaces are available; RSVP to 513-831-1711 or community.cincynature.org/firefly-fiddle-fest. Cost is $10 for adults, and $5 for children.

10. Birdwatch.

Learning about birds local to the area helps children appreciate and build interest in their natural surroundings. Purchase or make a bird feeder to attract birds to your backyard. Use a local bird guide and listen for different bird song to try and identify the birds visiting your yard.

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