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You might agree with me on this:
It’s REALLY hard to find the perfect activity that fits your preferences, time frame and budget.
Or is it?
You can drastically increase the likelihood of having fun things to do on summer days off when it’s affordable and more readily accessible to you.
Makes sense. Right?
There are plenty of ideas on the internet of things you can do on summer days off, but many of them may be out of reach right now for whatever reason.
Some of them may just sound like silly ideas that no one really does or they aren’t all what they’re cracked up to be.
You might have to click through an endless slide show to find mediocre ideas or comb through a list of a 1000 ideas to maybe find one thing you can actually do in your spare time.
If you’re tired of those posts, haven’t had time to brainstorm and you’re working within certain parameters, questions like “What activities can you do in summer?” or “What should I do in summer 2020?” might be swirling around in your head.
Here are some of the best things to do on sunny summer days with a kid (or kidless) right now:
1. Visit a Pick Your Own Farm
If you have a farm close by that allows you to pick your own fruit, make it a mini day trip. Since visiting, I’m a little hooked and have become a bit of a fresh fruit snob. It’s hands down my favorite thing to do in the summer.
Picking the fruit myself makes me appreciate it that much more. You realize how hard someone has to work to grow something, harvest it and then sell it to the customer. In my opinion, it’s also super fun to pick your own fruit.
I now have a more profound respect for people who farm and want to support their efforts by frequenting their businesses.
If you’re hoping to find farms where you can pick your own fruit, Google “farms near me” or a term like “fruit picking near me.”
You can even include the exact fruit you want to pick in your search like “pick your own raspberries near me” or “peach picking near me.” You’ll see what farms are closest in proximity to you.
You’ll be able to gauge a general time frame of when you can go too. There’s usually some information about when your local farm’s picking schedule is.
Depending on when you go, you can make a stop to pick your own:
- Asian pears
I picked strawberries and blueberries with my kids when they were younger, but it’s something I enjoy doing as an adult whether my kids come or not. Though it started out as as more of a boredom busters list, it turned into “pick every type of fruit” as our own informal couples bucket list this summer.
Many of the items for pick your own extend into the fall. Mark your calendar so you remember to go at a time when you can pick what you like.
Pick Your Own Raspberries
I swear every year I would see a sign for pick your own raspberries and just completely forget to go. Other times I wouldn’t look up the farms website or Facebook page and it would be too late.
It’s easy to forget. Farms have different schedules and don’t always give exact dates as to when the official first day of pick your own is.
You’ll have to keep tabs on when you can pick what. It can’t hurt to follow your local farm on social media to keep it on your radar. You also have to make sure it’s a sunny day with no chance of rain.
If you’ve never gone raspberry picking before, here are some frequently asked questions. I asked myself these questions before my recent trip so I thought I’d share what I found out.
When are raspberries in season?
Raspberries are in season usually from July to August. I recently went to a farm where you can pick raspberries in July. However, an orchard closer to me doesn’t have raspberry picking until August.
Blooming seasons are different for different farms. It all depends on the farm and Mother Nature so it’s good to check.
How do you pick raspberries?
You just have to be gentle when you pull on them. It’s easy to squish them. They will slide off the stem easily when they are ripe.
Here’s a technique I found on YouTube for how to pick raspberries with some tips. It can’t hurt to take a peek.
According to PickYourOwn.org, raspberries will not ripen after they are picked. Be sure to pick ripe raspberries. Aim for plump, firm raspberries that are free of dents and bruises.
How do you know when raspberries are ripe?
Ripe raspberries look more fully developed. They will look like what you would normally see at the grocery store. If you have to tug to get them off, then that raspberry isn’t ready to be picked so you’re better off leaving it.
I picked the raspberries, now what?
If you’ve never gone raspberry picking before or made a recipe containing raspberries, you might want to figure out how you’ll use them before going since they have to be eaten within a day or two, unless you freeze them.
You might also be wondering:
- What can I do with a lot of raspberries?
- What do you eat raspberries with?
- How do you cook raspberries?
Cooking with raspberries doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some recipes to get you started.
Healthy Raspberry Recipes
- Ellie Krieger’s Refreshing Raspberry Fool Dessert
- Add raspberries to Greek yogurt with a little honey
- Raspberry Baked French Toast Recipe
Savory Raspberry Recipes
There are many recipes out there for using frozen frozen raspberries too.
2. Visit a Sunflower Farm or Field and Snap Some Photos
If you’re jumping for joy about this idea and you want to round up more details, I answer some basic questions to point you in the right direction. I recently visited some in my own area so I can share everything I learned.
What time of year do sunflowers bloom?
A snippet from the pros at Garden Design explains that, “Annual sunflowers bloom during summer and into autumn. Perennial sunflowers bloom for a period of 8-12 weeks with some beginning as early as July and others finishing as late as October.” Check your local listings to see what’s available in your area so you can plan a trip.
Where are sunflower fields?
Sunflower fields can be found all over the world. As long as there’s loose, nutrient-rich soil where their roots can go down deep and six hours of direct sunlight shining on them, they can grow and thrive. Search for “sunflower fields near me” or “sunflower farms near me” to see if there are any near you.
What do sunflowers symbolize?
A plant guide from the USDA explains that sunflowers are a plant of the genus Helianthus. The name is derived from the Greek words helios anthos, known to us as sunflower. Incas worshiped sunflowers and many other cultures have a special connection to them. They often symbolize something profound.
Today, people are still drawn to sunflowers. They even go out of their way to take amazing photos of them. Outside of taking a random selfie to put on Instagram or Facebook, some people even schedule professional photo shoots at sunflower fields.
No matter why you’re going, here are some pointers for what to wear.
What do you wear to a sunflower field?
Since I already mentioned how people like to take photos at sunflower fields, I thought I’d start here, but I’ll explain a little more for those who just want to visit to see the flowers.
What to wear for a photo
If you’re asking that question because you plan on taking photos, one article suggests wearing “an outfit that is fairly neutral, or maybe includes some denim. Overalls are always a good idea, but a classic pair of jeans will do just fine. The key is to leave the color up to the sunflowers in the field. (Let’s be honest: They’re about as bright as it gets, and you don’t want to steal their thunder by bringing a bold red into the mix.)”
Keep in mind that some farms may have photography policies that explicitly state on their websites what you can and can’t do while taking photos. There might be more general policies if you were just hoping to take a few instagram-worthy shots.
If you wanted to take it a step further and hire a professional photographer for a full on photo shoot, there might even be a site fee and more detailed rules to follow. Find out before you go so you can plan accordingly.
What to wear for comfort
I would wear comfortable clothing. Depending on what time of day you go, it can be hot and you’ll most likely be in full sun. Bring sunscreen and possibly a hat.
Also, wear comfortable shoes that could potentially get dirty. If you have a pair of old tennis shoes, think about using those.
You’re going to a farm so brace yourself for uneven and potentially rocky terrain. You don’t want to twist an ankle so be careful.
What to wear to not attract bugs
A sunflower field is a playground for bees. If you’re anything like me, my outfit will be based around any color that is the least likely to attract bees and bugs in general.
I avoid bright colors. I may even go as far as wearing grey or a neutral color.
But maybe I’m flattering myself because the bees are truly focused on the flowers and probably don’t care about me at all. To double down on bug prevention, a layer of bug spray on your skin might not hurt.
Vanity tip: I made the mistake of wearing new sneakers to a lavender farm recently and it started raining. They were soaked and had flecks of grass on them.
Granted they were black so they were fine, but I’m a little funny about that. You might want to wear shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
3. Visit a Farm Stand
If you’ve never gone to a farm stand, you might be wondering, “What is a farm stand?”
A farm stand is a place where people sell their agricultural goods. It can be a permanent or more temporary set up.
Where I live, they’re on the side of the road or near farms. It’s usually a place to buy fresh produce for less, but some areas offer a wide array of other items like honey, syrup, preserves and more.
I just visited one that had ice cream and llamas!
If you’ve ever thought about buying directly from a farmer and asked yourself “How do I buy from local farmers?” or “How do you buy vegetables from a farmer?”
This is one way!
You can buy from local farmers by going to a farm stand, farmers market or a farm itself. A little planning and effort can go a long way.
Purchase vegetables from a farmer at the places I mentioned too. It all depends on what they grow and what they have to offer.
Do your research in advance if you’re looking for something in particular. If you need things to do on a weekend or you have time off during the week when it’s less crowded, it’s a nice way to mix things up.
Since I can’t always be so planned, I sometimes find a recipe afterwards for what the farmers have available. You can also pick something versatile like cucumbers or tomatoes. You can always throw them into a salad.
We stumbled upon this farm stand in a nearby town just by taking an alternative route home one day. I’m kicking myself for not going there sooner.
4. Go on a scavenger hunt
Need fun things to do in the summer for kids (or the kid in you)? Go on a scavenger hunt.
I recently visited a lavender farm that had one there for all ages. You can also make your own or download one off the internet.
Budgeting Expert Andrea Woroch likes this idea too. She explains, “This can be as simple as looking for objects around your home or walking around your neighborhood to find insects and flowers with your kids.”
Depending on how much time you have or how involved you want to get, Woroch suggests creating “a more extensive one that requires you to drive around town to complete different tasks like snapping a photo near a monument or trying a new flavor of ice cream from your favorite candy shop. The ideas are endless— just have fun with it! My daughter has been enjoying our nature scavenger hunts!”
5. Make sun tea
If you’d like to harness the power of the sun for a refreshing drink, why not make sun tea? Grab a pitcher, some tea bags and check out FoodNetwork.com’s step-by-step guide for what to do.
What makes sun tea so good?
I’m grateful for the little things in everyday life and this one. There seems to be something magical about putting a few tea bags in a glass container and allowing the sun rays to work it’s magic for a few hours. Once the tea is brewed, you can pop a few ice cubes in and you’re good to go.
According to SeriousEats.com, “The story is that the heat of the sun makes tea extraction faster, giving you ready-to-drink tea within a couple hours without the need to heat up water indoors. Some folks also say that the flavor is different because of the lower temperature extraction.”
How long do you leave sun tea in the sun?
From what I gather, you can leave it out for a few hours, but the longer you leave it, the stronger it will taste. Just be sure not to leave it too long. Follow reputable recipes for the best tips and to avoid potential bacteria growth.
Do you need sun to make sun tea?
Well, this one is a no-brainer. Yes, you do in fact need the sun to make sun tea.
6. Make a “sun jar”
It’s great to be outdoors to soak up the sun, but doing a DIY project to harness the power of the sun can be equally as enjoyable. For a little over $10, make your own sun jar garden light with solar powered lights, a few canning jars, inexpensive garden lights, some tools and a little elbow grease.
You can also just take some battery powered lights and stick them in a jar for a quick and easy way to have lighting at night.
7. Reframe your thinking about bucket lists
A bucket list doesn’t have to only contain trips to far away places that you do here and there. Come up with a list of ideas that are more accessible in everyday life. Here’s more details on how to make one so can easily weave them into your schedule more regularly.
Scouting out everyday bucket list ideas has been a focus for Michelle Jackson. She blogs over at MichelleisMoneyHungry.com.
She’s recently scheduled some quick overnight trips in neighboring towns and fun camping trips with Meetup groups. Her goal was to maximize her time and mix things up as inexpensively as possible.
These ideas were great things to do in summers past with my kids and continue to be today. If you need things to do on sunny summer days with a kid, teenager, college student or grownup, push yourself to try one of the ideas mentioned.
You can also string all of them together to make a summer bucket list or take it a step further by and try a simple challenge. You’ll soak in the sun and have enjoyable memories for years to come.
What do you like to do in the summer?