20 Wonders of Summer That Will Make Your Kid's Childhood Complete

Sheri Reed | Jun 14, 2013 Being a Mom

kid splashing lake
Kevin Krejci/Flickr

This summer is going to be our family's best yet. How do I know? Because we've decided it's going to be. And no, we don't have any big trips to Disneyland planned or a 10-day cruise booked. In fact, we have very little planned -- except that we've all talked and we're all hell bent on making the most of summer's simple, most wonderful gifts. 

Of course, that means my husband and I have to let loose a little and do some things a little outside our comfort zones -- like maybe wear bathing suits in public! -- in order to get out there and show our boys everything summer has to offer.

Summer only comes but once a year, so go for it this year ... really go for it! To get you started, here are 20 of the key wonders your kids should experience for one incredible summer.

summer childhood joys
Design by Sheri Reed

  • 1. Cannonball

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    Upon one's first cannonball, the summer officially begins. Right?

  • 2. Popsicles

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    Top of the summertime menu? Popsicles! A box of pops from the grocery or homemade popsicles, no matter. Cold and icy treats are a hot weather must.

  • 3. Adventure

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    There are a million ways to adventure in the summertime. Wade through the tidepools, go boating with friends, gaze at the stars (aka look for UFOs), or head out to the nature trails. We wait all winter for this weather. Enjoy! Seek! Discover!

  • 4. Bare Feet

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    Nothing says summertime like peeling off your sandals and hitting the cool grass or the warm pavement in your bare feet. Yesssss. Free tootsies make everybody happy!

  • 5. Water Fun

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    The best summer memories always include lots of wet and wild fun. Swimming, Slip 'n' Sliding, water gun fighting, sprinkler dancing, or just floating peacefully on a raft, it's time to jump right in!

  • 6. Peaches

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    Eating a perfectly ripe peach is like devouring summertime. It's not summer until you've sunk your teeth into a sweet and fuzzy one and let its juices run down your arm.

  • 7. Water Balloons

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    Water balloons, oh yeee-ah. The traditional water balloon toss is fun for littles, but a full-on water balloon fight might be more your family's style (be careful!). For some really wet action, try water balloon baseball. Those homeruns get you drenched!

  • 8. Friends

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    Summertime is all about palling around with your favorite friends. Call 'em up, text 'em, go knock on their door. Let the memory making begin.

  • 9. Air Conditioning

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    Nothing feels better after a full summer day at the pool than dry underwear and an air-conditioned house (yes, a fan blowing across a block of ice works too!). Heaven.

  • 10. Play

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    Playtime is what summer's all about in a kid's life. Staying late at the besties', hiding and seeking out back after dark, and goofing off past "school year bedtime" every night -- playing never felt so good.

  • 11. Books

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    Summer means reading whatever you want ... finally! The library and their insanely high checkout limits await.

  • 12. Hammocks

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    Heck yeah, haaammmock, take me away!

  • 13. Sunscreen Smell

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    The smell of sunscreen evokes beautiful summertime memories in all of us. And besides ... Burnt = sad. Not burnt = happy. 

  • 14. Drive-In Movies

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    If you're lucky enough to still have one of these old-school, drive-in movie theaters, then go ... THIS summer ... GO!!! It doesn't even matter what's playing as long as there's popcorn, sweets, and a cozy blanket.

  • 15. Fireflies

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    If you live in or are visiting firefly country this summer, nothing makes for a more magical evening than catching fireflies. Catch 'em in a jar, check out their glow up close, and then set them free again.

  • 16. Mischief

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    It can be small and fairly meaningless (and should involve no harm to any animals ... or humans), but there's simply got to be a little mischief in every good summer.

  • 17. Backyard Camping

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    Real camping is fun, but it means time away and takes a lot of planning. When you can't fit in a getaway, pitch your tent in the backyard, make s'mores on the BBQ, and stargaze until you slip into your sleeping bags for the night. Simple, satisfying summertime!

  • 18. Watermelon

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    There is no such thing as too much watermelon in the summertime.

  • 19. Blanket Forts

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    Every kid should build a gigantic fortress (or as they're known to adults, a small blanket fort) now and again. Blazing hot summer days full of boredom and angst are PERFECT for fort-building, and an imaginative fort is the place where any kid can disappear for awhile (wink, wink, moms!).

  • 20. Marvel

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    Some day your kids will sit back and remember fondly the first time they laid eyes on a Redwood tree, the Pacific Ocean, the Big Dipper, a real live swimming hole -- and how sweet it was! You can give them that. The tiny beginnings of a childhood memory.

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