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Making the Most Out of Summer Vacation: Simple Pleasures

June 23, 2012 16 Comments »
Making the Most Out of Summer Vacation: Simple Pleasures

Today was one of those days that I felt guilty. 🙁

Being a full-time working parent is tough, especially during the Summer months.

Summer vacation is about to begin for us here in NYC and I work full-time. Summer vacation isn’t really a vacation for me but my kiddo shouldn’t have to feel that way. So I went around and asked a few working moms, like myself, what they do to make the most out of Summer vacation.

To my surprise, I’m not alone. A few moms got together and shared their stories and tips on what they do to make the best out of their Summer vacation!

Here’s Tracy’s Simple Pleasures post that I’m sure you’ll love. Better yet! Print it out and make it a to-do list for this Summer.

It will be TONS of fun!


The kids are out of school and the warm sun is shining – summer is here! While neighbors and friends pack their bags and head out on vacation, our family doesn’t have plans to go anywhere. Last summer we took a trip to my husband’s homeland, El Salvador, but this year even a weekend trip to Ocean City isn’t in the budget.

I’m not going to lie – I would prefer to be on an airplane going somewhere far away right now, (preferably a place with palm trees), but I’m not going to waste time moping about it. Summer provides a unique opportunity to be together as a family without the limitations of the school year routine, and I want to make the most of it. Even when money is tight, there are simple pleasures to relish, activities that cost nothing, (or only a few dollars), and create priceless memories.

Here are a few things I’ve planned to do with my boys this summer. What would you add to the list?

1. Catch lightening bugs
2. Make S’mores
3. Lay in the hammock and find shapes in the clouds
4. Lay in the hammock and look at the stars
5. Go swimming in a local lake or river
6. Read a chapter book together
7. Go for a bike ride
8. Get ice cream from the ice cream man
9. Plant a vegetable
10. Play in the rain
11. Have a “movie night” at home
12. Watch fireworks
13. Play in the sprinkler
14. Get a Pen Pal and write them a letter
15. Practice our Spanish
16. Go fishing
17. Feed ducks
18. Play soccer
19. Lay in the grass and read a book
20. Go on a picnic
21. Let the kids run a lemonade stand
22. Go hiking
23. Play board games
24. Do a big puzzle together
25. Clean out the closets and donate what we don’t need
26. Make our own popsicles
27. Make a time capsule and bury it in the yard
28. Draw with sidewalk chalk
29. Blow bubbles
30. Teach the kids how to cook a few things
31. Teach the kids how to change a tire
32. Make a funny video
33. Build a sand castle
34. Visit a museum
35. Visit the zoo
36. Visit family
37. Stomp in puddles
38. Find smooth rocks and paint them
39. Have a “dance party” (especially fun with all the lights off and flashlights)
40. Look for tadpoles
41. Go to a local festival
42. Pick fruit at a local farm
43. Make a piñata and then have a little party
44. Water balloon fight
45. Watch the Olympics
46. Teach the kids a game from my childhood that they don’t know
47. Find a good tree and let them climb it
48. Go letterboxing, (look it up if you don’t know what it is!)
49. Make “get well” cards for the hospital to give to random patients
50. Take plenty of photos so we’ll never forget these special moments

Written By: Tracy López

 Tracy López is a writer living outside the DC Metro area. You can read more at her blog Latinaish.com.





If you want to share ways you and your family make the most out of Summer vacation, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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  1. Monica June 23, 2012 at 2:32 am - Reply

    Tracy, I love your list! I want to copy it and post it on my wall…Hmmm…

    • Rachel June 23, 2012 at 2:57 am - Reply

      Aren’t they amazing, Monica? And they’re almost all FREE. I see a lot of priceless memories this Summer. 🙂

  2. Migdalia - @MsLatina June 23, 2012 at 3:03 am - Reply

    I especially like #49. Great way to show the kids empathy and compassion for others. Those skills are priceless!

    • Rachel June 24, 2012 at 9:58 pm - Reply

      Migdalia, I agree. This list is amazing and it calls for an incredible Summer! I think these could be done in a month. I suppose we need another 2 lists 🙂 LOL

  3. Unknown Mami June 23, 2012 at 5:15 am - Reply

    Beautiful list. You really don’t have to go far away to have a wonderful summer vacation. I love being a tourist in my own city and going for long walks.

    • Rachel June 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      It is beautiful indeed. 🙂 And I agree with you. It’s crazy right? SO MANY THINGS to do in our own cities. You know what …. I don’t feel so guilty anymore.

  4. Justice Jonesie June 24, 2012 at 3:24 am - Reply

    Yes, great list! Fishing and making a funny video are some of my favs but I would add make the most of the weekends. It’s not easy working when kids are on vacation. But we do what we can.

    • Rachel June 24, 2012 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      Hi Jonesie! 🙂 You know what? I’ve made funny videos before and they are simply the best but never been fishing. I pronise to go with my family this summer. Thanks to Tracy, I will also try something new. As for making the most of weekends, I have to agree. I try to pack so much on weekends. I try not to over do it. Can you say exhausted Monday mornings? LOL

  5. Maria Amelia June 24, 2012 at 11:23 am - Reply

    I have another favorite to add to the list. National Parks are not only wonderful, they have free activities as well. There might be a small fee to enter, but you can spend days in them and the Park Rangers are wonderful. Try it out!

  6. Maria Amelia June 24, 2012 at 11:26 am - Reply

    I have another one to add to the list. Visits to National Parks!!! For a small fee you can enter, but the activities are always free and the kids get badges for them. We always visit some in the summer time. PLus you can keep a passport of all the parks you have visited. It is a wonderful, healthy and low cost experience.

    • Rachel June 24, 2012 at 10:25 pm - Reply

      You’re so right Maria! The memberships sometimes include local museums, zoos, aquariams, etc. Something to add to the list fo sure! 🙂

  7. Bren @ Flanboyant Eats™ June 24, 2012 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    Wonderful and thorough list. We go camping as a family but individually, my sis and I go for long bike rides. Sometimes intense, other times more leisurely.

    • Rachel June 25, 2012 at 1:18 am - Reply

      Hi Bren, I went camping once a realllllly long time ago. It wasn’t very pleasant but I’m willing to give it another go. Bike riding is great because it can be either one of the two or both. Maybe I should buy one the next time I see a bike on sale at one of the flea markets around me. 🙂

  8. Oriana from Mommyhoodsdiary June 25, 2012 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    I understand completely! It’s not just lack of time but money. Your list is wonderful and I’m sure you will have to have lots of fun. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Presley's Pantry June 28, 2012 at 3:28 am - Reply

    I can tell that list was made with love….. I like the look for tadpoles…. we don’t have that kind of adventure her in Los Angeles. We play with waterhose and run under the water fall!

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