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Summer is a season known for hot, lazy days and outdoor activities with friends. Even if your summer won’t include the beach, boats or trips to expensive amusement parks, there are plenty of ways to have fun at home. Your summer doesn’t have to be a bummer. We have put together some ideas that are a must to make sure your summer isn’t a bust.
The “Dog Days of Summer” can be stifling and suffocating if you try to fight against this season and its unpredictable and sometimes unforgiving nature. In fact, the “Dog Days of Summer” saying comes from the period following the rise of the star system Sirius. Sirius is the brightest in the night sky and colloquially known as the “Dog Star” as it began to rise in the sky before the sun. It was so bright, the Roman’s believed it gave heat to the sun.
Historically, Greek and Roman astrologers connected the “Dog Days of Summer” to thunderstorms, heat, drought, mad dogs, bad luck and fever. It might make you want to hide until the season departs, but you can’t because hibernating is for winter and summer doesn’t have to be fraught with misfortune.
For many who stop to listen to the sounds of summer, your first thought may be the sound of crickets chirping. An interesting fact is that the chirping of crickets is influenced by the temperature to such an extent that counting the chirps can give you a rough idea of the temperature outside.
To figure out the temps using only cricket chirps, count the number of chirps in 15 seconds then add 37. The number you will get will be impressively close to the temperature.
The Great Outdoors is Really Great
The summer season invites outdoor activities, but the weather can be quite temperamental. Let the weather determine what you plan to do on a given day. However, it is important to remain flexible with your plans as those summer storms can gather without warning, the way some relatives show up to visit and waltz in without so much as a knock on the door.
If the summer plans you want to make include going outside of your home but staying around town, Farmer’s Markets and places that allow you to pick your own berries are fun to visit and will leave you with some beautiful photos and memories. Taking a walk and window shopping or taking a hike and immersing yourself in nature are also relaxing ways to spend the day.
Depending on where you live, many towns have zoos, museums, smaller amusement parks, mini golf and bowling. Be aware that if you do decide to visit a zoo, it is best to go earlier in the morning during the summer. Most animals get a bit lazy in the heat and may hide themselves away from the sun later in the day.
If you are bored and feeling listless and uninspired, volunteering is a great way to get more involved in your community, make friends, gain experience and feel good about time well spent. Nonprofits and charities are always eager for more help. Finding an organization to coincide with your interests, whether it is animals, children, nature or politics, shouldn’t be too difficult.
Visiting a factory, petting zoo, wildlife refuge or fire station can be interesting, especially if you are entertaining children this summer. Be sure to call in advance because some of these places require notice.
Appreciating nature and the beauty of the world is the best part of summer. A photo scavenger hunt is a way to get inspired to collect photos of flowers, lady bugs, squirrels, birds and butterflies. A good pair of binoculars can assist you in initially spotting the plants and animals on your list.
Another idea that is gaining popularity as an interesting outdoor recreational activity is geocaching. With geocaching, participants use a GPS, mobile device or other navigational technique to hide what are known as geocaches or caches at locations marked by coordinates. Accounts for geocaching, which is the world’s largest treasure hunt, are free for sign up.
A Nod to Nostalgia
There are plenty of outdoor activities that have an air of nostalgia that will prompt you to recall the time when streets were full of children with dirty knees riding bicycles all over town, building forts and playing sports outside.
The good ole days aren’t out of reach, even for adults. Grab a bicycle and just ride. Enjoy the feel of the wind and the warmth of the sun. Stop at a playground and just swing.
For those of us who were young at a time before technology changed how we live and what we do, it can be surprisingly enjoyable to recreate a time when people were legitimately bored. A lot of great conversations and fun times emerged out of boredom.
There are more old school, kid and adult friendly options for enjoying summer in the great outdoors. Skip rocks, fly a kite, climb a tree (if you can without injury resulting), or play soccer, kickball or basketball.
If summer feels like it may be too hot to handle, incorporate water into activities. Play water balloon baseball with a plastic bat. A water blob is another idea for outdoor fun for everyone. Water blobs can be purchased, but it is more fun and affordable to make one yourself with some plastic sheeting and duct tape. Keep it outside because there is a high likelihood of leaks.
If you have a group of people looking to get fit and get wet, create an outdoor water obstacle course with things like kiddie pools, slip n slides, hula hoops, sprinklers, water balloons and buckets. Wet sponges are also fun to throw for the obstacle course or even dodgeball.
A little friendly competition in the form of capture the flag and tug-of-war can get a group excited. For more mellow outdoor fun in the sun, games like cornhole, croquet, lawn darts, and horseshoes can give friends something to do while spending time together outside.
Out of the Frying Pan into the AC
If you can’t stand the heat, have some fun cooking in the kitchen. You can even invite friends over for a rustic dinner party. Cooking together is a great way to gossip and chat without succumbing to boredom or uncomfortable lapses in conversation.
There are plenty of crafts that make for a productive way to spend a summer day. Thoughts of summer might conjure the idea of the summer of love, this might also make you think of tie-dye. Tie-dye is available in craft kits or for do-it-yourself, it can even be accomplished by food coloring. Either way, it is messy. Wear old clothes or an apron and gloves and do it outdoors. Tie-dye will keep you occupied and give you a keepsake to cherish long after the summer ends.
Some other amusing crafts include friendship bracelets, origami and jewelry making. To make your jewelry coincide with summer, make bracelets and necklaces with seashells. Pipe cleaners and fluff balls can become little animals you can make with children or give to children as toys. Crafts like dreamcatchers, homemade greeting cards and water color painting can bring the mood of summer into your home.
To really get into the swing of summer, try some nature-inspired crafts. With some empty toilet paper rolls smeared with peanut butter and rolled in birdseed, you can make a DIY bird feeder to hang up in a tree with string. Watch as the beautiful wild birds visit your yard for a snack.
If you live near nature, seasonal wildflowers can be gathered to make a fragrant potpourri. If you don’t live near any wildflowers, it is best not to plunder the yards of your neighbors. If you desire flowers and nature, planting your own garden can help you create a peaceful and inviting place for you to relax and unwind.
Sometimes you just want some gorgeous flowers arranged in a pleasing way. If that is what you are looking for, consider letting our florists at Polished Petals in Mt. Vernon, NY put together a beautiful bouquet that will be the perfect representation of summer.
For mellow, rainy days or night indoors, baking, puzzles and boardgames can be a relaxing way to pass the time. If you aren’t into mellow and prefer more of a party atmosphere, karaoke and dancing can be a great time, especially if you make a video of it.
You can also have a dinner theater party where everyone attending dresses up and assumes the identity of a character to let the plot unfold naturally and see where it leads.
Movies are a great way to lose yourself in a whole new reality. There is no reason to step outside of summer when you pick a flick if you stop to consider how many great films take place during the summer. A few titles include “The Way, Way Back,” “Kings of Summer,” “Now and Then,” “Blue Crush,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” and “Weekend at Bernie’s.”
Since it is often too hot to comfortably camp in the summer months, indoor camping is the next best thing. Put up a tent or even build a blanket fort for a spooky setting for scary stories.
Summer Self Improvement
For some people, summer may mean more free time. If this is the case, why not utilize that extra time in a way that will benefit you beyond the end of the season? You can make summer a time of self-improvement.
If you want to improve your health, try yoga or tai chi and make it a group activity. Cook dinner together and make it a meal of healthy items full of antioxidants because health starts with nourishing your interior. It is also important not to ignore the external. A spa night with natural products is a great way to relax and pamper your skin.
Self-improvement isn’t only physical. Think about something you wish you knew and set aside some time to work toward that goal. If you have ever wanted to learn a foreign language, now is the time. Similarly, think of your goals and dreams. Summer is a great time to contemplate your life and daydream a bit.
Another aspect of being well is having an environment that promotes calm and peace. In order to create surroundings that will nurture and inspire, organization is key. If you didn’t get your spring cleaning accomplished, let summer inspire you to open your doors and windows, so you can toss the items you don’t need. We often fail to realize that the less we have, the less we should worry about.
Since technology is connecting more people and making it possible to reach out to anyone in the world, consider your goals and whether now may be the time to try to make your dreams a reality. With free website builders, you can start getting your message and/or ideas out there. Get creative and be yourself, and you just might stumble onto developing your own business or finding a new career.
If the summer sun has kept you indoors, night time is the right time to get back outside. With a blanket and your eyes, enjoy the night sky and its vast emptiness stretching out like a blanket. Meditate on what it all means. Most problems and worries seem small in comparison.
To take it a step further, summer is a special season. We wait for it the rest of the year, anticipating the sun and good times on the horizon. Once summer arrives, we are often tempted to hide from the oppressive heat in front of the television with the A/C blasting cold air. No matter how hot it gets, don’t hide from summer.
Embrace summer and its promises of sun, warmth and free time. Seasons pass, so don’t let summer pass you by. Grab a camera but put down your phone. Unplug from your devices, so you can plug into your life. Make the most of your summer because it won’t be long before summer says its goodbyes for the rest of the year.