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Set a goal for family fun this summer

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Summer’s here!  If you have kids, this may be a stressful time, trying to figure out how to keep them active for over two months without breaking the bank.  Whether you’ve got preschoolers or teenagers, Flower Mound-based Family eGuide has some tips to help you get set for summer fun.

First of all, set some rules for screen time.  Spending time in front of the TV, video games, and computer can become a habit quickly.  If kids know there are clear guidelines right from the start, they’re less likely to whine on a daily basis about “turning off.”

Let your kids plan activities with you.  Have them share their favorite activities.  Give them ideas about activities they may not have considered.  Then put together a bucket list – things all of you really want to do before summer is over.  Keep the list handy, and have the kids cross off activities as you complete them.

Be sure to include friends!  Kids are always more likely to enjoy an activity if they have someone their age to share it with.  And they’ll be more willing to try new things, too!

So, where do you begin? 

Start in your own backyard.  Teach your kids some classic games (Hopscotch, Red Light Green Light, Freeze Tag, etc.).  Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten the rules… that’s what Google is for.  Start a garden. Set up a tent.  Create an obstacle course or scavenger hunt in your backyard.  Eat watermelon in big wedges or make your own ice cream or snow cones.  The ideas are endless.

When you’re ready to venture out, visit one of our local parks.  It may be a habit to go to your neighborhood playground, but we encourage you to try different parks, as well.  Some local favorites include Kids Kastle in Highland Village, Memorial Park in Lewisville (shaded areas and bathrooms), and Staton Oak in Flower Mound (great for the little ones, and lots of shade).  Head to the pond with food for the ducks or your fishing poles.  Start out early to avoid midday heat.

Then check out all of the free and discounted activities provided by our rec centers, libraries, and local businesses.  Many offer great summer reading programs, movie clubs, and more.  Libraries bring in special entertainers throughout the summer.  Cities and towns schedule an array of free concerts and outdoor movies.  Some local theaters offer weekly G and PG rated movies in the morning for a discounted price.

Consider memberships to local rec centers and attractions.  If you know you’ll be going to the aquatic center or the zoo a number of times this summer, it may be more affordable to simply purchase a membership.  And you’ll love the freedom you’ll have, knowing you can visit for an hour or two whenever you’re schedule allows.

Let the kids enjoy a free workshop.  Many businesses such as Home Depot, Lowes, allow children to learn something new while having lots of fun.

Attend a local festival or special event.  Summer is filled with great events like the Denton Air Show, Summer Stampede at Texas Motor Speedway, and numerous 4th of July activities.

Sign the kids up for a summer camp.  They’ll have fun, and you’ll get a much needed break.  There are options out there for every interest, age group, and budget (there are even a few free ones).  Visit our Summer Camp Page at www.familyeguide.com for details on area camps.  Many are still registering.

Check out cool smart phone apps and websites for outdoor fun and learning:
Geocaching.com (A global treasure hunt), Star Walk (Hold your phone to the skies to see maps of the various constellations), Satellite Tracker (Track satellites over the earth).

Take a tour! Your child can learn the inner workings of the local police station, fire station, grocery store, or theater.  Sports arenas such as Cowboys Stadium, the Ballpark in Arlington, and Texas Motor Speedway all offer tours as well.  Visit their websites for details. 

Finally, relax.  While kids enjoy lots of stimulation and activities, they need a little downtime, too.  Be sure to stock up on books and games for some family fun at home.

For more information on all of the activities and camps mentioned, as well as a comprehensive community calendar which includes many more local events, visit www.familyeguide.com and sign up for the weekly newsletter. 

Have a great summer!

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