Life Used to Be Simpler
“I’m bored,” Have you heard that one yet? The summer has just started, but I already feel like I am our family’s entertainment director and taxi driver.
Life was so much simpler when we were kids, don’t you think? We made our own fun. My siblings and I enjoyed three-day weekends camping with six cousins. Tent camping was inexpensive back then. One day, when all of the parents wanted to play cards in peace, Uncle offered to pay us a penny for each cigarette butt we collected. Do you realize how many butts nine broke and bored children could find in the 1970s? That was the last time Uncle offered to pay us for our environmentally good deeds!
In his book Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Josh Foer says, “Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it…It’s important…to have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories.” [p. 77]
When we have a little more free time during the summer, we need to make memories proactively otherwise the screens and boredom take over. In this article, I provide a list of more than 100+ Ways to Make Fun-in-the-Sun Memories. I hope all generations of your family have a blast!
Be the one who asked your parents and grandparents to share their fun-in-the-sun stories before it’s too late (and maybe you can borrow an idea or two when you hear, “I’m bored,” this summer.)
Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it.
- Josh Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein
100+ Ways to Make Fun-in-the-Sun Memories
The words, “I’m bored,” are like nails on a chalkboard for me. Although I think it is advantageous for children to “feel the boredom” and make their own fun, I realize that most memories are made—not watched on a screen.
I have always tried to give my kids opportunities to make memories. Admittedly, I am sometimes at a loss for new ideas so I created this list for myself—and for you! I hope you find this useful and make some memories with all generations of your family this summer!
Sit by the campfire
Search for salamanders & frogs
Collect shells & sea glass
Walk the boardwalk
Visit a local farm or a discovery farm
Hike a local mountain
Take a walk in a state forest
Search with a metal detector
Go for a bike ride or a hike
Backyard BBQ or Seafood Boil
Corn on the cob
Eat on the boardwalk (e.g, taffy, fried dough)
Local fruits and vegetables
Host a cupcake or pizza Wars party
Host a chili cook-off
Host a tea party
Host a teddy bear picnic
Hold an impromptu dance party
Decorate cookies & host a cookie swap
To skate or rollerblade
To ride a bike
To ride an ATV
Research your genealogy
Living history centers (e.g.,
Local enrichment classes (e.g., Kaleidoscope, colleges, summer camps)
Learn to dance (ballroom or hip-hop!)
Try a few science experiments
Video games (together)
Games from your childhood
Swim in the pool
Join a re-enactment
Theme based day camp adventures (e.g., Camp Half Blood)
Host a hoe-down
Start a water gun or balloon fight
Start a manhunt game at night
Play Quidditch or Cricket
Rock climbing (gym or outdoors)
Ride a mountain coaster
Slide an alpine slide
Theme based adventures (e.g., Espionage and 20,000 Leagues at Patriots Place)
White water rafting
Local movies at the park
Local concerts on the common
Professional soccer game
Minor league baseball game
Mansions (e.g., Newport RI)
Local children’s theater
Distant family members
Neighbors during a block party
Host a progressive dinner party
A new state or country
An ice cream or chocolate factory
A winery or brewery
Residents of a senior living facility
Crafts (e.g., jewelry, cards, etc.)
Comic book or children’s book
A Comedy routine
A board game
Build a volcano
Plant a vegetable or flower garden
Sort your belongings
Host a “Pass It On” party: Invite friends to bring items they want to pass on to other friends
Scan your photographs & memorabilia; share your stories
Items on eBay
Yourself - Write resume & college app
Hold a yard sale
Yardwork for seniors
Help animals: Humane Society, SPCA
Help families: Red Cross, local non-profit organizations
Feed families: Local soup kitchens
Vacation Bible School
Run a 5K road race or walk in a walkathon
After you make the fun-in-the-sun memory with your family,
1 Turn your audio or video recorder on and allow each participant to replay the experience from his or her viewpoint (and in his or her own voice).
2 Talk about what you learned, what you liked, what you want to repeat, and what you never want to experience again. Share your childhood experiences.
3 While you are at it, visit or call your parents and grandparents to record their memories of their childhood fun in the sun!
4 Be sure to download your photos and recordings to at least 3 digital locations.
Email me your stories! I'd love to hear how you made some memories this summer.
This publication is based upon personal experience, research, and education. Although the author has made every reasonable attempt to achieve complete accuracy of the content in this article, the author and Sunday Dinner Stories assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or inaccurate information. For privacy reasons, some names may have been changed or omitted. The content is not intended to replace common sense, legal, medical, or other professional advice; it is meant to encourage, inspire, educate, and inform the reader. That means you should consult with your attorney, doctors, and other professionals if you have any concern about implementing our advice. But we hope you'll consider us your memoir professionals and will consult us for all your storytelling needs!
© 2021 Michelle Beckman, Sunday Dinner Stories, All rights reserved internationally.
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