15 Ways to Squeeze in Some Final Summer Fun

It happens to most families. This time of year, as kids are gearing to go back to school, it hits you: How is it almost fall? Don't panic. There’s still plenty of time to enjoy the warm weather. Need inspiration? Here are 15 ideas to make summer memories bonding with your crew. Bonus: Nothing's expensive.

1. Hit the local library. You remember that place, right? Let the kids play in the children's section. Ah, peace and quiet. Encourage the kids to try something old-school: Check out books. Take one home yourself too and spent the afternoon reading in the backyard.

2. Go to your local craft store. Let your kid pick out any craft project. You'd be surprised how excited he'll get over a wooden rocket ship he painted himself.

3. Ask your kid to show you how to do a cartwheel or a handstand. Try really hard to do it.

4. Do a trick off the diving board. You want your kids to see how awesome a mom they have -- the kind who can jackknife a cannonball into the pool.

5. Host a clambake. It's not as hard as you think to pull one of these off. AllRecipes.com has a few suggestions, including a stove-top version.

6. Make homemade goodies, such as salsa, frozen juice pops, pickles or sun tea. Or whip up guacamole with four average-size Haas avocados (the ones with the dark, wrinkly skin), two medium diced tomatoes (fresh from the garden at this time of year), one small coarsely chopped onion, and one tablespoon lime or lemon juice. Mash the avocados in a large bowl with a potato masher. Blend the rest and add sea salt to taste.

7. Get the kids up early to watch the sunrise. Can’t get them to rise and shine? Gather the family together at sunset and chase the fireflies.

8. Eat ice cream for breakfast. Think of all the calcium! For kids, there's nothing sweeter than breaking the rules.

9. S’mores! Pick up the fixings to have on hand. That way, the next time you've grilled some burgers and the coals are still hot, you're ready to go.

10. Go bowling … outside! Fill jars or empty soda bottles with water and drop in glow sticks. Use these “pins” with a soccer ball “bowling ball” for a lit-up outdoor game.

11. Have a food fight. Fill up water balloons and spray whipped cream in dollar-store pans, and let your kids run wild.

12. Give back to your community. Volunteer at a local nursing home, food pantry or animal shelter. TheVolunteerFamily.org has lots of ideas.

13. Help the kids make a lemonade stand. You may have a future business mogul on your hands! Here’s what you need to whip up a homemade batch:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water  (only grown-ups should handle the boiling water)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (8 large lemons)
  • 5 cups water

Stir together sugar and boiling water until sugar dissolves. Stir in lemon rind, lemon juice and water. Chill, then serve over ice.

14. Make a shaving cream slide. Never heard of this?! You've been missing out. Buy a few cans of store-brand shaving cream. Squirt it all over a small backyard slide or a Slip ’n’ Slide. Or if you have a small incline in your yard, you can simply cover it with a plastic tablecloth and squirt away. It’s messy fun! Just have your kids run through the sprinkler when they’re through.

15. Go on a scavenger hunt. Divide the family (or kids) in two teams and give each a list of random things that can be found locally. A few examples: a lawn flamingo, a parking meter, an orange tabby cat, a mail carrier, etc. Then let the teams find all the items on their lists; the first one to return home wins!