10 Simple Summer PLEASURES

Stargaze. Locate the summer triangle – the first three bright stars (Vega, Altair and Deneb) you’ll see in the eastern sky when the sun goes down.  Look for the planet Venus in the western sky, and don’t miss the Perseid meteor shower (August 11 to 13). For more summer sky-watching tips, check out Science North’s websie at www. Sciencenorth.ca or The kids Book of the Night Sky by Ann Love and Jane Drake.

Watch an outdoor movie.  Cities across Canada are hosting outdoor film festivals where you can watch family-friendly flicks under the stars. Don’t forget lawn chairs, blankets and popcorn.

Go fishing. Pack up some poles, a tackle box and lots of snack and head off to a local stream or trout pond.

Make your own movie. Loan kids your video or digital camera and help them think up a story, write a script and cast family and friends as actors.

Play ball. Throw a baseball, kick a soccer ball or whack a croquet ball. Also, check out Book of Ball Games (Klutz, 2005) by Doug Stillinger, which includes 25 of the best kids’ ball games and three tools of the trade: a tennis ball, whirly ball and pink high bounce ball.

Create a keepsake collage. Or go for a scrapbook.  Collect summertime souvenirs, concert and movie ticket stubs, vacation photos and pictures of friends.

Play a classic board game.  Sit on a shady porch with a pitcher of Lemonade nearby. Monopoly, Scrabble, Sorry and Risk have timeless kid appeal.

Fly a kite.  Choose wide-open spaces where you have room to run-and can avoid trees and power lines.  Keep in mind that small kites are easier to transport and launch, especially for beginners.

Tell stories by candlelight. Sit in a circle, choose one person to begin (“The scariest thing that ever happened to me was..”) and have each person add a line to the story as you move around the circle.

Camp out. Pitch a tent, make s’mores (toast the marshmallows on the barbecue, an outdoor campfire or on a chiminea) and sing campfire songs.

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