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Boost family fun with these 12 summertime ideas

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Bring on the laughter

Don't beat the summer heat by sticking with the status quo. Instead, boost your summertime fun by breaking expectations with these 12 hot ideas for families.

Children doing handstands | Sheknows.com

Photo credit: yaruta/iStock/360/Getty Images

1. Transform boredom into a bucket list

Photo credit: Somewhat Simple

Until your children enter adulthood and realize that childhood summers were literally the best thing ever, they'll act like a bunch of ingrates when their time isn't filled. Prepare yourself with a summertime "Mom, I'm bored" jar, so that you'll have a bucket list activity on hand anytime one of your children utters those dreaded words.

2. Make a tastier popsicle

A sugary-sweet popsicle will make your kid bounce off the walls in no time flat. Instead of relying on storebought varieties, make homemade popsicles by pouring juice, fresh fruit and even yogurt into popsicle forms before freezing. Tasty and nutritious, in a flash.

3. Swap sidewalk chalk for paint

Swap sidewalk chalk for paint | Sheknows.com

Photo credit: All Things Simple

Sidewalk chalk is fun and all, but sidewalk paint takes the fun to another level. Your kids will love to paint vibrant and longer-lasting designs on your driveway with this super simple and stain-free recipe, courtesy of All Things Simple.

4.Turn swimming into a watermelon crawl

OK, so a watermelon crawl is actually a country line dance. In my home state of Texas, however, the watermelon crawl is also a crazy water game. Slather a whole watermelon with Vaseline and toss it into the deep end of the pool, and watch the kids go nuts trying to drag it out of the water for snack time. Just keep a close eye on the action, Mom, because it can get a little wild out there in the deep end.

5. Turn your bubbles into superheroes

Bubble superheroes | Sheknows.com

Photo credit: Play at Home Mom

A bubble that bounces? Yes, please. Immediately. Your kids will feel enamored by this whimsical homemade bubble recipe that produces bubbles that you can catch, bounce and even use as building blocks.

6. Put your seashells to good use

If you make it to the beach this summer, put those seashells to good use by turning them into crafts, decor and even jewelry. Furthermore, you can frame your memories by gluing your kids' seashell collection to storebought craft picture frames.

7. Exchange ice cream for a giant ice cube

Giant ice cube | Sheknows.com

Photo credit: Crumbbums

Say goodbye to plain vanilla fun. Instead of cooling down with ice cream, cool down with an afternoon of giant ice cube excavation. Fill a large bucket with blue- and green-dyed water, and plop in plastic dinosaurs and other sea creatures. Allow the water to freeze and then send the kids outside to excavate their own fossils.

8. Give your oven a rest while giving your kids a chore

Swap out your cold-weather entrees for the fresh and fuss-free entrees of summer. The warm months are the best time to grow a small vegetable garden with your kids, so that you can feature a bountiful harvest of tomatoes, basil and radishes in meals that you can easily prepare together.

9. Infuse America's pastime with water balloons

Water baloon baseball | Sheknows.com

Photo credit: iCandy Handmade

Call me nuts, but just about every baseball game would be better if it was played with water balloons. Soak the kids by having them hit batting practice with a bucketful of water balloons for a delightful afternoon cool-down.

10. Create a custom bike

Provide your children with access to crepe paper, streamers, ribbons and a deck of cards so they can decorate their bikes for summer. They'll enjoy the new look of their ride — especially if that swagged-out bike is ready to go for a Fourth of July parade.

11. Turn reading lists into a reading tepee

Reading teepee | Sheknows.com

If your kids have a summer reading list, the least you can do is make it fun. Consider building or buying a special fort or tepee so your wee ones can grow their brain cells through literature and imagination. (Etsy, $115)

12. Catch up on the classics

Summer is technically the time for TV reruns, but please don't shortchange yourself and your loved ones by watching Everybody Loves Raymond on repeat. Instead, take the opportunity to introduce your kids to summertime classics, like Sandlot or The Parent Trap.

Tell us about your favorite family summertime activities in the comments below.

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