Summer Fun For the Whole Family!

Beach SummerNow that warmer weather has settled in and schools are out for the summer, busy families are out and about enjoying the sunshine. There are so many places to explore, making the days seem to fly by! Summer brings picnic and pool season, outdoor farmers markets, fairs and festivals. With a little information and imagination, you can make this a memorable summer for your little ones.

For kids in motion, parks all across the Lehigh Valley provide free fun. For something a little different, I like visiting the Bob Rodale Cycling and Fitness park in Trexlertown where my kids can play in a giant sandbox or ride around the tricycle trail. The setup works well for moms who have to keep an eye on multiple children. Family walks are another great way to burn up energy. Hiking trails abound, although I’m a fan of the Lehigh Parkway where a walk, run or bike ride can end with a visit to the Li’l-Le-Hi Trout Nursery to feed the fish. The Lehigh Parkway is also home to the Lehigh Valley Road Runners kids race series, which is free to children ages 3-14.

Swimming is a summer favorite, whether you have your own pool or join a community pool. If managing multiples around water seems tricky, then a day pass may be a better investment than a season pass, and you can bring extra help. Splash pads are a great alternative, especially for moms watching several kids. Bucky Boyle park and Fifth & Allen Street park feature motion-activated spray parks. Moms looking for a caffeine fix can let their kids enjoy the free pop jets at the Promenade Shops, located next to the Starbucks. Personally, I want to check out the splash pad at the Boyertown Community Pool. It’s situated next to a great little playground for kids and an athletic trail.

This year, I signed my older son up for summer camp at his preschool. He loved it so much, I wish there were more dates to choose from. You can usually find a summer camp based on your child’s interests and abilities, from theater to sports to wildlife. The Wildlands Conservancy offers some very hands-on nature camps. The Da Vinci Science Center summer camps will also spark imagination and learning.

Amusement parks offer an experience like no other, especially for those of you with fearless and adventurous children. Some of the favorites within driving distance include Sesame Place, Dutch Wonderland, Dorney Park (featuring Planet Snoopy for the little ones), and Knoebels Amusement Resort. Other than the family vacation, amusement parks may be one of summer’s more expensive outings. Parks like Knoebels can save you money with free parking and admission – you can even bring your own lunch. Also, choosing a Pay-One-Price plan or just paying for each ride individually can help you save.

Sports enthusiasts can enjoy watching their local teams live in outdoor venues this summer. The Reading Fightin Phils and the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs make a fun outing for the whole family. The Valley Preferred Cycling Center not only offers child and adult cycling classes, but on Friday nights throughout the summer you can watch professionals in the World Series of Bicycling (and admission is free for children under 12!).

Summer activities for the kids don’t have to cost a penny! Most local libraries, and even Barnes & Noble, have summer reading programs. Many cities and townships hold free summer concerts, including Allentown, Emmaus and Bethlehem. Some also have a free Movies in the Park series, with kid-friendly events leading up to movie time. The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley hosts a free summer concert series, and the Carmike Cinemas located there has a summer kids movie series ($4 for a ticket, small popcorn and small drink is nearly free considering regular prices!). You can get creative and have a picnic lunch in a park, hold a scavenger hunt, or camp out in your own backyard. Whatever you plan, give your children lots of fresh air and variety, and you’ll never have to hear that they’re bored.