Who doesn't love summer evenings? Warm breezes, the light lingering long past bedtime. What makes them sweeter is the fact that, at least in the North, they don't last. Here are a few ways to really enjoy them:
1. Light a fire
No, really! If it's allowed in your town/city/county, have a campfire in your back yard. You don't need a fancy fire pit. A few stones or bricks will do. Make sure to keep a close eye on it and to teach the kids about fire safety. In return, you can have hours of family fun time. You can gather sticks in the neighborhood, buy marshmallows for roasting, and sing a few songs. Can't do a fire? Don't let that stop you from enjoying s'mores anyway...there are plenty of recipes for making s'mores indoors.
2. Find a body of water
It's o.k. if you don't live near a beach. Find a spot near a river, lake, reservoir, creek, or pond. Settle in on a blanket for the sunset. There is nothing quite like watching the gorgeous colors of the sunset reflected in water. It's double the spectacular show!
3. Make it to an event
Summer is prime time for free outdoor concerts, plays, performances, and even pajama story times. Go on your community calendar, visit your local library, and log on to your town's website to find out what is happening where you live. After attending a memorable version of Shrek the Musical at a local park, my daughter announced she wanted to "be a backstager." Never underestimate how much your kids can learn by staying up a little later than normal.
4. Host movie night
Who wants to pay to take a whole family out to the movies? Instead grab a white sheet and a projector and head outside. Play family classics, or the newest movies out on DVD. For even more fun, make it an event with your kid's friends. Provide the basics (like popcorn) and have the parents of the other kids bring their favorite snacks to share too.
5. Revisit the familiar
There's something very neat about visiting a place you love at a time that you usually don't come. The playgrounds have emptied for dinner. The busy pools are quiet. The back yard has cooled off. You can catch fireflies, splash around, or just see who can spot the first star. Speaking of which...
6. See the stars
These days you don't need to be an astronomy major to appreciate the vast glory of the night sky. There are apps for your phone or tablet, printable star charts, and local telescope events at science education centers.
7. Give your day a sweet ending
End your day with a sweet treat. Taking the whole family out for desert is a lot less expensive than going out for dinner. Want an even more frugal option? Buy a pint of berries and whipped cream or a box of ice cream sandwiches at the grocery store.
Whatever you feel like doing, do it soon! Before you know it, winter will be here again, and all we'll have of summer is the memories.