Summer has arrived and it’s time to get ready for a slew of exciting family activities, long days under the sun and evenings relaxing on the patio. If you’re a bit late to the game, you may have to do a little shopping to get the most out of the time spent with your family. Don’t forget to buy locally and support your own neighborhood whenever possible. Here are some things you may need.




Once you’re finished tucking those sweaters and coats away deep in the back of the closet, take inventory of what the kids need for the summer months. Shorts and T-shirts from last year may not fit their growing bodies, so get ready to spend a little cash, though not too much as there are ways to save. Money Crashers puts “ignoring collections” at the top of its list. And it might be best to let them choose what they want to wear.


Sports Goods


Baseball, basketball, football, soccer and maybe tennis. That’s basically it, right? Actually, Parenting Healthy Babies has a list of 22 sports that are ideal for growing kids in the summertime including a few radical ones such as surfing and skateboarding. With that many options, let them try a few first before going all out on hundreds of dollars of equipment. Remember, for just a few bucks you can pick up everything you need for a spirited game of Frisbee golf.


Camping Gear


Before you go any further, write “large can of mosquito repellant” on your shopping list. Now you can move onto the other essentials such as the tent. The size depends on how big your family is, but remember that the number of people that it fits as marked on the tag is usually the maximum. Play it safe and buy big so you don’t end up too cramped, and feel free to test it out by camping out in your own backyard.


Beach Items


You’ll need more than just swimming trunks to make the best of your day at the shore, and something always seems to get left behind. To keep that from happening, here’s a handy checklist of everything you’ll need from flip-flops to sunscreen and everything in between. Don’t forget to bring along a quality cooler as the kids will need a refreshing drink after a hard day of splashing in the water and building sand castles.




Wherever you go, you’ll want to bring your reading with you. For those who prefer turning paper pages the old-fashioned way, that means a trip to the bookstore. Besides the latest romances and mysteries, you’ll also find coffee, pastries and even pizzas as local independents expand their offerings to turn exploring literature into an event that can fill up an entire afternoon. Best of all, you’ll have a chance to pass on your passion for the written word to the kids.




Nothing tastes more like summer than hamburgers and hot dogs fresh off the grill. Before you even hit the shops, you need to decide which side of the “gas or charcoal” debate you’re on. Of course, you could just get one of each: gas for quick cooking on weeknights and charcoal for the weekends when you’ve got time for quality, as the grilling experts tell U.S. News and World Report. The only place to eat them in style is outside on the picnic table.


Board Games


After all, not every day is sunny, even in the summer. The likes of Monopoly, Scrabble and new additions such as Exploding Kittens are leading a board game renaissance that has both adults and kids stepping away from the computer for some old-fashioned fun at the dining room table. Choosing what to buy may have you scratching your head, so it’s best to let the little ones make the big decisions on this.


If the weather’s nice today, there are plenty of ways to kick off the fun and set the tone for the rest of the season. Don’t forget the sunscreen!


A special guest post by:

Kris Louis

Trish Reeves