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How do you find summer fun everyone can agree on?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 Leave a Comment

Summer officially begins bright and early Tuesday. After six years as a stay-at-home mom, I can tell you this: I am afraid.

Afraid my kids will be bored. Afraid that they'll watch too much TV and fight all summer. Afraid they're going to drive me nuts.

Afraid I just don't have the creative juice to create adventures for them that we can all agree on.

When my boy was a toddler, and it was just the two of us, it was easy: we went to the zoo, museums, and the pool. Wednesday was Music Together and cherry scones at Adagio Bakery. Friday was library day. We did mini-hikes at Eben G. Fine Park in Boulder. 

Then Kid #2 came along.

Now it's me trying to wrangle two stubborn, headstrong boys - 3 and 6 - and each with very different ideas of what's fun and where to go next. The pool is fun - but exhausting because the 3 year old doesn't quite know how to swim, but he thinks he does. Parks are OK as long as they both want to do the same thing (Riiiiiight. Like that ever happens. I'm now convinced that whoever designed the Purple Mountain Park never had to spend time with two children at the same time.) Libraries? Forget it. One wants Curious George, the other wants superheroes. It just turns into a fight. Music class? Once the older one said it was "stupid," it was over for the younger one. Heartbreaking. Hikes go something like this.

How do you keep two (or more) kids entertained and happy over the summer?

I suspect the answer is to keep it simple. Lucky for us, a few of these simple things never get old:

  • Dinosaurs, mummies, Native Americans, rock crystals, stars... my boys love everything at the Museum of Nature & Science.
  • The Zoo never gets old - and with Elephant Passage and the kid play area in Northern Shores, they're always happy there.
  • REI. My boys love that funny kid play area. They love getting chocolate milk at Starbucks. They could throw rocks in the Platte for hours.
  • City Park. I don't know why, but this park seems magical to my boys. Maybe it's the sheer size. Or the box canyon (just south of the Museum of Nature & Science), or the castle playground, or the fountain in Ferril Lake.
  • Denver Botanic Gardens. Another place that fascinates my boys - from the kid section to the pool that turns your hands blue.

What are your suggestions for a sane, fun summer? How do you keep two or more kids happy?