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Summer fun: 31 days, 31 ways

Lisa Steinke, with Liz Fenton, is the co-author of the debut chick lit novel l'll Have Who She's Having and the popular Chick Lit blog chicklitisnotdead.com.

31 Ways to have fun during the last month of summer

Is it August already? Are there really only 31 days left until Fall is here... until the kids go back to school? Well, why not make the most of the last month of summer with these 31 fun, kid-friendly ideas?

Homemade popsicles

1

Make popsicles

Nothing says summer like a cool treat. Get creative with your popsicle flavors — try grapefruit, lemonade or mango. You can even create your own flavor. The experimenting will be half the fun!

2

Have a dog wash

Washing the car is so yesterday. From your own pooch to the neighbors' four-legged friends, host a dog wash! It'll be a great way to beat the heat.

3

Volunteer

How can you and the kids help someone in need today? From volunteering to reading at a senior center to picking up trash, it will feel good to contribute to your community. You'll even teach the kids something in the process.

4

Reverse roles (within reason)

Let the kids make the meals and (some of) the rules. You can have fun being a kid, and they can have a little fun with authority.

5

Plant something

Depending on where you live, what you can plant will vary. But the idea is to get outside, be together and plant something. From flowers to herbs, dig in!

6

Have a water fight

The kids will love this. Put on your suits and get prepared to get wet. From water balloons to the garden hose, have fun! Check out these top 10 water games to cool you down.

7

Make an inspiration board

Help the kids make inspiration boards for their rooms. They can cut out or draw pictures, words and sayings. Whatever makes them happy.

8

Rearrange the kids' rooms

Maybe it's time for a change (big or small) in your child's bedroom. Let them come up with the idea for what they'd like to move and where they'd like to move it. Maybe they'll even want to purge some toys or other items in the process.

9

Create art for your home

Get a few canvases at the art store and let the kids create some new art for your home. They (and you!) will love seeing their art posted instead of that generic print from the store. Read more about making art and crafts with your kids.

10

Have a garage sale

Out with the old ... Let the kids help you price the items and run the sale. Who knows? Maybe Mom will even let them keep some of the profits.

11

Go to the drive-in

Get online and search for a drive-in theater close to home. Make a comfy area for the kids in the backseat and head out. It will be fun reliving some of your own childhood memories with your children. No drive-in in your area? Plan a family movie night at home instead.

12

Get ready for school

The first day of school is just around the corner. Let the kids help purchase the items they'll need and clean out their desk or whatever area they usually do schoolwork in the process. Read these tips for adjusting kids' routine for school.

13

Bake

From cookies to cupcakes, let the kids decide what you'll bake. Not only will it be fun and delicious but you can sneak in a little math lesson and teach them about measurements. Baking traditions with kids are a great way to bond.

14

Make it backwards day

Have ice cream for breakfast. Don't get dressed until dinnertime. Today's all about starting with the good stuff and working your way backwards.

15

Read

Take today to just kick back with some good books. Head to the library and pick up some new reads. Not to mention, this will help get the kids into a back to school mindset. If your kids are relunctant readers, start a sibling reading challenge.

16

Ask your child to teach you something

What is your child good at that he can teach you? Maybe it's bumping a soccer ball on your knee or making oragami. Whatever the lesson, it will be a great bonding experience for you and your child. Check out these things that you can learn from your kid.

17

Donate

What do you and the kids have to give to someone in need? Let them help pick what they'd like to give away. Take them with you to drop it off. Read more about teaching charity to our children.

18

Write down your goals

What do the chidren (and you) want to accomplish this school year? Write it down and pin it up somewhere you'll see it every day. Revisit the goals mid-year and see where you are. Find out more about creating vision boards for the school year.

19

Say thank you

It doesn't have to be your birthday or a holiday for you to have a reason to say thanks. Have the kids dial up family members and tell them why they're grateful for them. Read more about raising grateful kids.

20

Build a sandcastle

You have to go to the beach at least one more time this summer! And when you're there, don't read that book. Get down in the sand and help the kids build a sandcastle or — if you're brave — let them bury you. The picture alone will be worth it. Check out the anti-beach mom's guide to surviving the beach.

21

Do something special for grandma and grandpa

Help the kids get creative and think of something unexpected to make and send to the grandparents. Maybe it's a photo collage of the fun things they've done this summer. Read about more ways to keep your kids connected to their grandparents.

22

Write letters

In this digital age, it's good to show kids that there are other ways to communicate besides texting and emailing. Grab some paper and pencils and write some letters to friends and family.

23

Make a pride board

Have the kids help make a board where you'll display their art projects, homework and awards they're proud of this year.

24

Build a fort

Inside or outside, help the kids gather materials and make a fort they can play in all day. The only question? Will moms be allowed?

25

Get fit

Do something outside that will get your heart rate up. Power walk, take a bike ride or make an obstacle course in your backyard. Try these fun ways to play your way into shape. After, cool each other off with the cold water from the garden hose.

26

Enjoy your summer night

Have a picnic outside, go to a concert in the park, take a walk after dinner. Breathe in the (hopefully) cool night air and enjoy relaxing with your family.

27

Take a trip down memory lane

When was the last time you looked at your childhood photos? Dust off the old photo albums and open them up for the kids. Show them what you looked like at their age. Then, compare your photos to theirs. Check out these ways to create special family memories.

28

Make a playlist

Ask the kids what their favorite songs are. Have them help you make a playlist based on their favorite tunes and then you can do the same for them.

29

Interview each other

Have the kids come up with a list of questions for you and you do the same for them. Now, interview each other (on or off camera — up to you). It will be a great way to broach some interesting conversation topics with your kids.

30

Get your tech on

Who cares if you usually don't allow video games, TV or time on the computer. Let the kids have a free tech day where they can play as much (or as little — you might be surprised) as they want. Even better? Get down and play with them. There's nothing like a good game of Wii Tennis to get the heart pumping!

31

Have a back-to-school party

What better way to get the kids in the school spirit than with a summer party? (Plus, Mom might have cause to celebrate too!) Get together with your neighbors and host a potluck. You can grill meat and veggies and have your guests bring the sides, desserts and drinks.

More summer activities

Summer activities to keep the kids busy
Learning a second language: Great summer activity for kids
10 things every kid should do this summer

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