This week brought the first day of summer and the last day of school for local students.

When my four children were growing up, they couldn’t wait for summer vacation to start, but it was never long before I heard those two words that all parents dread: I’m bored.

But summer doesn’t have to be boring!

I believe the best kind of summer fun happens at home.

Your backyard is a great place to spend time with your children, deepen your relationships, and create lasting memories. 

Here's a list of five at-home summer activities to enjoy with your family.

1. Make a summer bucket list
Kick off summer by making a list of activities that your family can do together. Think about what brings you the most happiness, what leaves you feeling recharged, where you want to visit, and what new skills or subjects you hope to learn. Brainstorm, prioritize, and create a fun poster board to hang at home where your family can see it.

Here’s a list of 101 things kids can do at home to get you started:  

2. Build a campfire and roast s’mores

A campfire is a great place to connect and tell stories. Put together a ready-to-go s'mores picnic basket that includes marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers, sticks, and wet wipes.

Have you seen this fun smore’s caddy?

Try these churro marshmallows:

3. Watch an outdoor movie – You remember drive-in theatres, right? The glow of the screen against the sky is pretty magical! Grab some blankets and popcorn and watch a movie in your own backyard.

Learn how to set up your movie night here

Buy an inexpensive projector on a resale site like Craigslist or here

4. Sleep outside
Pitch a tent in the backyard or hang a hammock and camp under the stars. You can hike around the neighborhood, create a scavenger hunt, pass a book around the campfire, tell stories, and look for constellations using one of these apps

Here’s a great hammock:

5. Make treats – Do you remember making homemade ice cream in your backyard with a hand crank freezer? So much fun! This old-fashioned ice-cream maker received great reviews:  You can also make popsicles, snow cones, and ice cream sandwiches.

Try these Dole Whip popsicles:

Try these peanut butter ice cream sandwiches:

Find 20 snow cone flavors here: