Summer weekends are increasingly rare occurrences, and not to be taken lightly. Truly, there are only a couple left before everyone starts wearing pumpkin-adorned Shetland sweaters and olive cords and talking about snowshoes. It is strongly to be hoped that you have prepared adequately for two days in the uninterrupted company of those you love or to whom you are irrevocably related. The scenario is fraught with pitfalls, and as more than one wise man has noted, in such unpredictable situations it’s best to learn from the mistakes of others, for lo, ye shall never live long enough to make them all yourself, right?
We suggest going old-skool.
Summer weekends are exactly those periods of time when it’s best to fall back on things your grandparents would have found delightful, when they were about four. This is both cheaper and easier than flying to Paris for a shopping spree, scaling Everest to “show those snotty Scouts,” or renting a theme park for Timmy-Billy-Bob’s birthday party.
Old-skool summer weekend activities include:
- camping; yes, even in the backyard, but it only counts if you make s’mores and tell at least one ghost story
- playing pleasantly dopey games like charades, hangman, Life or anything using the Pop-O-Matic
- making and/or consuming lemonade and sun tea
- lemonade stands (particularly lucrative if you live near a bike path; raincoaster is generally good for buying five rounds)
- the zoo
- pony rides/hay rides
- making popcorn the old-fashioned way, whether or not you use the magically enchanted brand that poufs into a silvery turban (but come on: why wouldn’t you?)
- reading to each other, particularly kids to parents, for lo, kids always think you’re reading crap and have better stuff they could show you, if they thought you wanted to know
- cooking together. NOT reheating together
- pointless wandering around, either in a car or human-powered (bikes, skates, or pedestrianization).
Things to avoid:
- anything one of you has done before and knows s/he actively hates
- anything mildly pleasant that you do in a typical weekday anyway. A weekend is a moderately special occasion, and kids deserve to have fun on special occasions. And so do adults
- anything demanding batteries or extension cords
- anything chosen primarily for its photo possibilities. What good are memorable pictures of forgettable experiences?