10 Simple Ways to Have an Old-School Summer for Kids

Remember–in the times before iPads and smart phones–when summer was dedicated to swimming pools, idle time, dripping ice cream cones and juicy slices of watermelon?

Remember catching lightning bugs and putting them in jars? Staying out so late that your sunburn already melted into a perfect golden brown tan by the time you actually headed inside for the night? Entire days spent at the local pool with your friends?

Growing up, we didn’t do summer camps, at least not regularly. We did Outside. Did it involve fresh air and being out of the house for as long as possible, preferably away from our parents? Sign us up.

I grew up in a house that was situated near woods, so when we had the time, my sister and I were outside. And not to sound too “When I was a kid…” but we didn’t have to rely on anything other than ourselves and a block of unsupervised time to have a blast.

I want my kids to have those kind of summers.

So in the spirit of some old-school, simple summer fun, I’ve put together a bucket list of sorts—just some old fashioned ways we used to enjoy summers, no screens or plugs required.

My own kids may be a touch young for some of the things on the list, and we also have a newborn this summer, so that’s an added challenge, so we’ll tweak this list a bit. But the goal? To get them out and playing with as much unstructured time as possible.

Hope you can steal a few ideas, and let me know below what your family is hoping to do this summer, old-school style!



10 Old-School Ways to Enjoy Summer with Your Kids!


1 – Open a lemonade stand in the neighborhood. (Funny story: We lived on a very busy main road but still sat at the bottom of the driveway and literally screamed at cars going past to sell our lemonade. Needless to say, our only customers were our across-the-street neighbors.)

2 – Sidewalk chalk + driveway

3 – Catch lightning bugs

4 – Cannonball contest in the pool

5 – Three words: Slip ‘n slide

6 – Pillow forts, popcorn and late movie nights

7 – Wandering in the woods. (Oh, how I wish we had the wooded space here in Florida that I had at home, growing up in Pittsburgh. We had a backyard with enough trees to carve out our own trails and to have two treehouses. Here, we will have to drive to a state park to make this one happen. Open to suggestions from any Central Floridians out there!)

8 – S’mores by the fire. Or on the grill.

9 – Sprinkler

10 – It Tag/Freeze Tag/Hide and Seek/Capture the Flag




How do you plan on slowing things down this summer? I’d love to hear your favorite ways to spend those lazy summer days. Let me know in Comments below!


Sonni Abatta hates writing about herself in third person, but the damn SEO optimization requires her to do so. She (dying to say “I”) runs a lifestyle and mom blog in Orlando and is a wife and mom of three. Please reach out with questions, comments, collaborations and free cupcakes to Sonni@SonniAbatta.com

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