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15 Summer Things to Do Before School Begins

Are there some fun, relaxing things you planned to do this summer but never quite got around to?

It’s amazing how quickly summer vacation flies by, isn’t it? In mid-June, 10 unscheduled weeks sounds like forever. Many of us have grandiose plans of how we will soak up the glorious sun, kick back and drink ice-cold lemonade, or finally get to visit friends, family and places that we can’t seem to fit into our winter schedules. 

Newsflash: Schools and will be back in session before we know it. And we still haven’t done half of what we planned to do this summer!

Well, here is a list of things to do before those school bells ring.   

1.  Go to the drive-in.  Believe it or not, there is still a Drive-In here in New Jersey—the Delsea Drive-In in Vineland.  It’s a nostalgic favorite with up-to-the-minute movies!

2.    Play mini golf. Check out Essex County Mini Golf in West Orange.

3.    Have a picnic: Pack up sandwiches, fruit salad and chocolate chip cookies and head to your favorite park or the South Mountain Reservation. 

4.    Enjoy a quiet summer evening.  Nothing marks a lazy summer night like dancing fireflies. Sit outside and listen to the crickets. Watch the moon and enjoy the mild summer air.

5.  Go to a summer festival. There are still plenty of summer fairs and festivals to visit in August. For a complete list, click HERE.

6.  Roast marshmallows and make s’mores.  One of the quintessential summer experiences is roasting marshmallows over a fire—or your own backyard fire pit.  

7.  Take in a summer baseball game. Much easier than going into New York, the New Jersey Jackals offer families the summer baseball experience right on the Montclair State University campus. Or check out the Newark Bears in action. Don’t forget to bring your mitt!

Click HERE for the New Jersey Jackals schedule. To see the Newark Bears schedule, click HERE.

8.  Go to the zoo. The Turtle Back Zoo is West Orange great fun for the whole family. Check out the butterfly and Komodo Dragon exhibits, and try out the  Treetop Adventure, an aerial obstacle course. The kids will love it!

9.  Play backyard games. Frisbee, hula-hoop, badminton, splash-n-slide, a backyard sprinkler—even an old-fashioned scavenger hunt.

10. Get together with friends or family you haven’t seen all summer.   Have you been meaning to get together with friends and family all summer long but it just hasn’t happened yet? Grab the dogs and burgers and light up the grill. 

11. Practice a random act of kindness for a neighbor, family member or stranger. Too busy during the school year to reach out to someone in need?  Now is the perfect time to do it. Bake some cookies for a neighbor who doesn’t get out much, pick up trash in your local park or visit a nearby hospital.  Whatever it is, make it a family affair and sit back and watch how happy your efforts have made someone.

12.  Take a Lazy Day Off for one full day.  Sometimes summer can actually be exhausting! All that running back and forth to the beach, bringing kids to camp, rushing through airports, etc. So take one day to stay in your PJs all day long and indulge in whatever lazy thing meets your fancy!

13. Start an End-of-Summer Tradition. The end of summer is definitely bittersweet. One way to ease the kids back into their school year routine is to have an “end of summer” tradition. After your annual school shopping trip, go out to lunch and a movie. The night before school starts, have a special dinner and go out for ice cream afterward.

14. Take a day trip. There is still time to schedule a day trip or two for the family. Whether it’s a trip to a water park, an educational jaunt or a train ride over the Hudson, make the most of it!  For some suggestions of same-day daytrips for families, click   

15. Plan a date night with your spouse or significant other before the nightly homework routine begins. If you’re like most parents, you’ve been playing cruise director all summer long and haven’t had much time to connect with your honey.  Plan a date night someplace scenic and summery and for some special memories of your own.

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