Welcome Summer: Top 5 Ideas for Enjoying Your Vacation “Unplugged”

Summer is the perfect opportunity to step away from the screens and “get connected” to other things.

For all the talk about teenagers needing to “unplug,” sometimes adults have a hard time putting down the electronics, too. That’s why summer is the perfect opportunity to step away from the screens and “get connected” to other things.

The warm weather and time off of school allows you to go outside with the kids and experience nature, or gives you an excuse to lounge around inside together, enjoying air-conditioned activities. There’s plenty to do, so enjoy some of the ideas on this list while keeping your phone in your pocket.

Ride a Bike

If you want to hop on a trail and ride for miles, there are several natural areas to bike near the Waxhaw area, including Twelve Mile Creek Greenway, Mineral Springs Greenway, and Cane Creek Park. But the simplest way to enjoy low-key biking is to just ride around your neighborhood. Spend the entire morning exploring close to home. Then, if you feel adventurous, cycle to a nearby restaurant with the kids and grab some lunch.

Stop By the Library

In the afternoon, drop by the library for an impromptu escape from the summer heat. Spontaneous visits are always welcome, but planning ahead is a good idea, too. Checking out the schedule in advance allows you to grab a spot in your favorite summer programs. Both the Union County Public Library website and Facebook page list events for all ages. If you thought activities were limited to preschool story hour and grade school reading lists, it’s time to take a look at everything else that’s going on.



Set up a Puzzle Table

Back at home, set up a family puzzle table in a common area. Choose a puzzle that everyone can work on as they pass by throughout the day. You may want to make it more challenging by setting goals, such as having the puzzle finished by the end of the week, or attempting to complete a certain number of puzzles by the end of the summer. Up the excitement and competition by awarding a prize to the person who places the last piece.

Play Outside and Catch Lightning Bugs

Dusk is one of the most magical times of day in the summer. After dinner, go outside for a game of tag. While it’s still daylight, you can also switch things up with hide-and-go-seek, or its silly variation, sardines. When the Lightning Bugs come out, take a break to see who can carefully collect the most bugs in a jar. Once it’s completely dark, pull out some real flashlights (not the kind on your phone) and play an exciting round of cops and robbers.

Host a Game Night

When the mosquitoes start to bother you, bring the party back inside with a family game night. If you have a wide age-range, begin the evening with kid-friendly snacks and games that have easy gameplay. After the early-bedtime crowd has been tucked in, it’s time to pull out Risk or Settlers of Catan. And even though the weather may be sweltering, it can still be fun to sip hot drinks in the evening. Take the time to try a new recipe for a fancy hot chocolate or European coffee to set a festive atmosphere.

If you have a wide age-range, begin the evening with kid-friendly snacks and games that have easy gameplay.



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Annie Beth Donahue lives in Indian Trail, North Carolina with her husband Brad, and four children. She is a professional writer for both the web and print, and she can be found at www.anniebethdonahue.com.

Annie Beth also has a bachelor's degree in music therapy from Queens University of Charlotte, and has either been working with or parenting children with special needs for the past 18 years. She is a children's book author and the founder and president of Signposts Ministries, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves families that have children with chronic health problems or disabilities. In her non-working time, she homeschools and oversees the children's care of their small menagerie made up of chickens, two donkeys, a dog, a cat, and a snake.