Stacy Hurley

Stacy Hurley

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Question: Dear Stacy, as you know schools will be out in about a week or two and I am feeling anxious about what I am going to do with my children/family this summer? We usually take a big family vacation with smaller trips through out, but with gas prices so high and inflation raising prices, I am just not sure what we will be able to afford. Do you have any advice or ideas on alternative fun for the summer that won’t break the bank?

— Seeking Summertime Fun

Answer: Dear Seeking Summertime Fun, what a great question! Not sure if you are aware, but Baltimore/Maryland (and surrounding areas) has tons of fun things to do, most are even free!

Summer should be used to rejuvenate and recharge your mind, body and soul before the new school year begins again. Having fun does not always mean you have to spend money or stay in one place all day. I find that breaking up your days into smaller activities allows for more intimate moments and connections with your family and children. I was always taught that it is not about quantity, but quality.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has one definition of summer as “a period of maturing powers.” And states, “The concept of summer in European languages is associated with growth and maturity, especially that of cultivated plants, and indeed summer is the season of greatest plant growth in regions with sufficient summer rainfall. Festivals and rites have been used in many cultures to celebrate summer in recognition of its importance in food production.” Using this definition, you can look at your summer as a time of growing and exploring for your children and trying new foods and learning where the fall harvest comes from. “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Incorporating learning activities into your summer fun will be beneficial for your children and keep their mind sharp over the break to avoid “summer slide”. Go here for some ideas:

Summer is usually the hottest time of the year and I personally love to be by water as often as possible since there always seems to be a breeze. There are longer days and shorter nights which makes for more outside time and cookouts. Northpoint State Park in Edgemere has hiking trails, fishing, and a small beach with swimming, $3 per car, you can’t beat it! The weekends do tend to fill up, so call ahead before you go. There are many state parks in the area, so try them all out! Go here for the details:

Just this weekend there is Honfest, a two-day festival in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore. Entrance is free and it is kid friendly. There is food and drink for sale and other vendors. “Each year, revelers from every corner of our city, region, and nation – not to mention from overseas – have come to Hampden to celebrate Baltimore’s heritage and experience what makes the town like no other.” There is the little hon contest and the Baltimore’s Best Hon contest, so come, dress up and have some fun!

Also, this weekend is the Saint Nicholas Greek Folk Festival, a three-day festival. The entrance, parking and entertainment are free, but food and drinks have a cost, but depending on the age of your children, you can certainly pack a picnic and take it with you. Nothing like learning a new ethnic dance, listening to music, while trying new flavors.

Don’t forget about summer camps. Kids can do a week or more depending on what they are interested in and the cost you can afford. Don’t rule out church camps or Vacation Bible Schools. They are usually less expensive and a week long. Despite your religious or spiritual beliefs, they are a great way to build character and make new friends. Baltimore’s Child magazine has a variety of articles and resources for families, so check that out as well.

I hope some of these ideas are helpful, as I don’t have enough room here to share every resource but google searches and websites like these are a great place to start!

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Have an AMAZING Summer!

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