10 old-school summer activities kids should try

Delightfully low-tech classic summer activities your kids should do at least once.

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1. Skip stones
Head to the beach and pick a thin, flat stone no bigger than your palm. The trick is to throw it with a quick flick of the wrist, which should get it to skim along the surface of the water at a 20-degree angle. World record: 88 skips!

2. Catch fireflies
Fireflies hang out in long grasses and marshy areas near water. Turn off your home’s exterior lights and blink a flashlight to attract them, and then use a net to gently scoop them into a jar. The jar should have air holes and a damp piece of paper towel to keep the air humid. Enjoy for an hour or two and then release again at night. Visit firefly.org for more tips. 

3. Go to the drive-in
Gone are the days of window speakers; the audio is broadcast through your vehicle’s FM radio. The iPod Nano (fifth to seventh generation) also has a FM tuner. 

4. Binge-read a series
Think Sweet Valley High, The Girls of Canby Hall, Encyclopedia Brown, Macdonald Hall, The Baby-Sitters Club and Choose Your Own Adventure

5. Play a marathon card game
Uno, War, Cribbage and Crazy Eights are classics. If your child has trouble holding cards, make this easy holder: Take two medium container lids (yogurt ones work well) and place the smooth sides together. Make a small hole in the middle and join them with a brad fastener. Slip the cards between the lids. 

6. See a falling star
Your best bet is the Perseids meteor shower, which peaks on August 12 and 13. 

7. Build a fort
Good basics: clothespins, sturdy metal or plastic clamps and clips, twine, cardboard boxes and sheets. Bonus points for digging out a string or two of holiday lights. 

8. Make a DIY slip and slide
Place a sheet of heavy plastic weighted with sandbags or big water balloons on the lawn. Squirt on a bit of (preferably biodegradable) baby soap or shampoo, turn on the sprinkler and go! Heavy-duty cut garbage bags would work too.

9. Decorate your bike
Grab some washable paint, homemade handlebar streamers (using ribbon, string or yarn), straws and crepe streamers for the spokes and cardboard for a front shield. 

10. Make a grass whistle
Pick a tough, wide blade of grass. Hold between your thumbs, with a small space toward the bottom knuckles. Make a small slit with your lips and blow into the space so the grass vibrates. 

Read more:
7 cool camping games for kids
50 essential summer activities
8 outdoor activities that develop fine motor skills

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