Months of summer sunshine, pleasant weather, socializing at picnics and barbecues, traveling, and indulging in family fun are a breath of fresh air to a year of work and school responsibilities. By mid-to-late August, our shopping carts are filled with notebooks and folders instead of sunscreen and sand pails. We’re thinking ahead to carpool arrangements and sports practices. Where did the summer go?
At this point, it’s common to experience the “End of Summer” blues. If only we could slow down and hang onto summer a little bit longer! We’re all looking to pack a few more family memories in our suitcase before fragmenting into our own separate lives when school starts again. Here are four memorable finales for the summer that will leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling.
1. Get your thrills at one of the pop-up summer playgrounds made for adults and kids.
Playgrounds have come a long way from the metal slides, swing sets, and harrowing teeter-totters of our youth.
- The Bronx Zoo’s new adventure zone with zip-lines over the Bronx River, kid-friendly Nature Trek, and free public pools is worth checking out if you haven’t already.
- The Terrace at Brookfield Place offers a rooftop Coloring Bar on Monday evenings, free movies and music on Wednesdays, and shuffleboard on Fridays, in addition to French fare, best enjoyed in their shaded picnic grove.
- Rockaway Water Park features floating trampolines, rope swings, water slides, a Tarzan Boat, jet skis, and canoes in Jamaica Bay.
- Adventures at Governors Island is a new play area boasting a 24-foot climbing wall, themed mini golf, the city’s longest slide, and double zip-lines overlooking the Statue of Liberty.
2. Find something for everyone with an end-of-summer festival.
- Catch one of PuppetMobile’s Cinderella Samba free performances around the city.
- This year’s super popular FringeJR festivities, geared toward the 5-12 crowd, will include: an exploration of Amelia Earhart’s legacy through circus acts and puppetry; a Fairy Tale Villain musical; pirate comedy; kings, queens, and dragons; as well as a fort filled with crafts and cool character meet-and-greets.
- In September, the 31st Annual Queens County Fair offers a traditional celebration of pie-eating, pig racing, carnival rides, midway games, and blue ribbon livestock competitions.
3. Cram in one last getaway.
- Schedule at least one more day at the beach and your soul will thank you! Some of the best spots for families to swim, tube, water ski, boat, and play in the sand include: Brooklyn’s Coney Island, Jacob Riis Beach or Rockaway Beach in Queens, and Long Beach on Long Island.
- Camping is another scrapbook-worthy, end-of-summer event for the whole family. Take nature hikes, play a few board games at the picnic table, tell spooky ghost stories, and roast s’mores over the campfire. A few family favorites within a few hours of the City include: Hither Hills State Park in Montauk, Watch Hill Fire Island National Seashore, Floyd Bennett Field, Malouf’s Mountain Sunset Campgrounds, and Clarence Fahnestock State Park.
- NYC is blessed with a number of ideal road trip destinations for day or weekend trips on a budget. Try Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA for the littles, Hershey Park for the amusement park lovers in your family, and Mystic, CT or Cape Cod to find timeless fun for all ages.
- Staycationers can find plenty of family togetherness at home. The first rule is UNPLUG – pack those electronic devices away! Replace “the usual” with fun scavenger hunts, board games, crafting, swimming, dining out, outdoor movies, and backyard camping.
4. Volunteer with your kids to end summer with a humbling sense of purpose.
Worried your child will feel too self-indulgent or spoiled after all that summer fun? Ground them with a volunteer service project to wrap up the season with pay-it-forward kindness and generosity.
- Clean up local parks or plant in community gardens with NY Cares.
- Serve the community’s hungry at the Food Bank for New York City.
- Coordinate a food drive for City Harvest.
- Donate to Toys For Tots.
- Create spirit-lifting greeting cards for seniors with DOROT.
- Organize a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
- Deliver meals and participate in activities at senior centers with Citymeals On Wheels.
If you’re stumped for ways to transform a regular day into a memorable experience, we’re always happy to help with our wide range of pop-up classes, workshops, parties, and our Lighthouse Project. Contact us to add more fun, creativity, exploration, and fun to your summer. It’s never too late to slow down the pace, bask in the moment, and be a kid again!
By Jenn Fusion for Shine