Gather up the kids, buckets, sand tools, towels, some sunblock and a cooler filled with snacks and head to the beach. Children can spend hours splashing in the water and building sand sculptures. Take a walk with the kids to collect cool sea shells and look for seagulls, crabs and other creatures.
If your children are out of school for the summer, keep their intellectual juices flowing by visiting some local or out-of-state museums. This teaches children about the world we live in (art, science, history) and reminds them that learning can be fun and year-round. Many museums offer summer programs for children and families, so take in one of these educational experiences.
Visit the zoo for the day or even a local farm with a small petting area. Many places let you feed some of the animals, which is always an extra treat that makes kids smile.
Keep children moving throughout the summer and not constantly in front of the computer, video game or television. Enjoy the outdoors by biking, hiking, walking, going to the park or playing soccer and other sports. Liven up a hiking trip with a fun scavenger hunt, or bond with the family by going camping. You can even camp out in your own backyard.
Because children may be spending more time at home in the summer, include them in some fun baking or cooking activities. Children love to be in the kitchen and help make cookies, homemade ice cream or even dinner. Use a cookbook with innovative, fun recipes especially for children.
Pack some sandwiches and snacks in a basket, grab a blanket and some toys, and head out to a park or local scenic site for a picnic. Keep an eye on the local newspaper for upcoming events (and weather!). Many parks and museums hold special outdoor music concerts or movies in the summer -- which is the perfect time for a picnic.
Cool down from the summer heat by going swimming, setting up a water slide or sprinkler in your backyard, or having a fun-filled water-gun fight with the family.
Forget about telling the kids not to play with their food. Make some chocolate pudding or vanilla pudding with food coloring, put your children in their swimsuits and let them paint away either on themselves or on large pieces of paper. Simply hose them off when the painting session is over.