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Think back to your childhood—a simpler time, before the craze of cell-phones, iPads, laptops and other gadgets. When you weren’t playing outdoors, you were using your imagination, dressing up or building and creating something indoors. It seems our children’s generation has become a bit removed from the good old days where all you needed was a skipping rope and a couple friends for hours of entertainment. As parents and educators, it is up to us to create playful and fun experiences and build memories our children will cherish for years to come!

 Water Play

Summers are short, take advantage of every opportunity to engage in different water play experiences with your children. Stay cool by visiting one of Mississauga’s splash pads, or outdoor community pool. At home, children can wade around in a kiddy pool or ride a slip ‘n slide!  Water tables provide endless entertainment for children, especially toddlers. You could have a family water balloon, or squirt gun challenge.

Explore outside

Families should go on regular biking or rollerblading trips together. You can bike or blade in your neighbourhood, or take the scenic route along Mississauga’s picturesque nature trails. Visit one of Mississauga’s many nature parks and trails including: Culham Trail, Lake Aquitaine Park Trail, Rattray Marsh, Erindale Park Trail, or the Waterfront Trail. You can turn a simple walk along the trail into a scavenger hunt where your kids can find a list of nature items.

Try introducing your children to some of the activities you enjoyed as a child including skipping, hopscotch, Pogo Ball, Skip It, tennis, badminton and bocce ball. You could even start a mini gardening project together!

Get involved in your community

Visit your local community centre to get your kids involved in programming or visit your local library to borrow books for summer reading. Libraries have drop-in and registered programs from story time to movie nights to book clubs and Lego clubs! Visit http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/residents/programsforchildren for more details.

Also, this summer, you can teach your children about acts of kindness the importance of giving back to the community. Have your kids go through their old toys and clothes and donate items to a local charity group. Your children can also open a lemonade stand to raise money for a charity of their choice. If you have older children, you could take them to pick up trash at a local park!

 Get Creative

Make a summer photo scrapbook with your children, capturing their favourite memories of the season. You could give your children a large furniture or appliance box and they can turn it into a house! You could paint birdhouses to hang in your yard or paint flower pots and plant flowers in them. Bring your easel out back and do some outdoor drawing and painting! Or create a painting wall by putting up big sheets of paper along the side of your house for a giant canvas! Make your own puppets or make playdough to create hours of endless fun! You could also go on a nature scavenger hunt and collect items to make a collage. School aged children can do summer journal writing to record their experiences and keep up with their writing skills!

These activities are a great way to have some summer fun with your kids and create memories that will last a lifetime!