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16 Days of Summer Fun

If "I'm booorred" is an all-too-familiar phrase around your household during the summer, you'll probably want to jump start the fun this summer with the following activities. Here at LDS Living, we've pulled together some ideas to keep your children busy, many of which can be done without even leaving home. Try them and you may find that not only has the monotony ceased, but your family has created traditions your children will look forward to for years to come.

Day 1 Have a pajama day. Start the summer right by letting the kids relax. Make your first day a fun family activity. Make a favorite breakfast, watch cartoons, and enjoy a day of relaxation.

Day 2 Hold a family reading competition. Make summertime learning fun! Challenge each other to read a certain amount of books before the summer ends, either aloud and together or individually, and then reward yourselves with a fun trip or other family activity if you succeed. Make a simple chart to show progress.

Day 3 Host a car wash. Let your kids choose if they want to offer their services free to your neighborhood, or if they think they are professional enough to charge money. Let the kids save their earnings for a fun trip or activity.

Day 4 Play with bubbles. There are many ways to get fun and creative that go beyond buying bottles at the store. Let your kids make their own soap (dishwasher soap and water) and wands (pipe cleaners, coat hangers). Also, using powdered tempera paints, dish detergent, and liquid starch you can make colorful bubbles.

Day 5 Host an Olympics. Get together with other parents and create a Summer Olympics for all the kids on your block. The kids can help create different races and events; let them spend a few days "training" and then let the games begin!

Day 6 Hold a no-electricity day. At this point in the summer, you might think your kids' brains have already melted from TV rays. Pull the plugs on all your electronics and drag out the board games, have a picnic in your backyard, and spend some time together the old-fashioned way. Use candles at night instead of overhead lights.

Day 7 Make an "anything goes" lunch. For just one day, invite your family to have anything and everything they want for lunch. From Oreos and pancakes to potato chips and marshmallows, they'll think you're the coolest parent in the neighborhood!

Day 8 Grow butterflies. For $20, your kids can watch the life cycle of a butterfly in your own home. Go to insectlore.com to purchase a live butterfly garden.

Day 9 Live outside for a day. The fresh air does the mind good, and enjoying a cool summer breeze can be great when compared with a hot house. Go fly some kites during the day. When night comes, pull out the sleeping bags and get cozy. See if a friend has a portable fire pit you can use for roasting s'mores.

Day 10 Organize a block party. People often choose to move during the summer, so there's a good chance at least one new family will move into the neighborhood. Why not host a potluck block party and give everyone a chance to get to know one another better?

Day 11 Play Uno. No matter your age, you will always enjoy this family favorite. Start an Uno tournament that goes all week, complete with tournament bracket and elimination game. The kids will have fun playing with Mom and Dad, and even more fun beating them every now and then.

Day 12 Paint crazy. Tie up large canvases or old bed sheets, buy some nontoxic paint, and let the kids express their creativity with paintbrushes or their hands.

Day 13 Take a day trip. Find a new destination - that's only a half a tank of gas away! Tripadvisor.com/tankofgas lets you choose how much gas you want to use on your road trip (quarter, half, or full tank) and then gives you suggestions for places to travel to.

Day 14 Be chef for a day. Teach your kids to cook a meal. It can be as simple as a peanut butter sandwich for young children, or a casserole or roast for older children.

Day 15 Volunteer at an animal shelter. If your family doesn't have a pet and your kids are animal crazy, they would probably love to take some of the sweet shelter dogs for a walk. Contact your local animal shelter for more information.

Day 16 Play night games. It's summer; let your kids have one night to stay up really late. Play family night games and end the night with some hot chocolate.

For LDS Living's entire list of summer activities, check out our May/June 2010 issue. From Day 1 to Day 77 of summer vacation, we've got you covered!

Comments and feedback can be sent to feedback@ldsliving.com