Scary Mommy’s Fantastic “10 Ways to Give Your Kids a 1970’s Summer”

Readers thynfhaatt
This is the holy grail of summer activity guides! It’s on the site Scary Mommy, and it begins:

10 Ways to Give Your Kid a 1970’s Kind of Summer by 

Summer’s basically here. The Pinterest pages, Facebook feeds, and family magazine features are loaded up with all the fun-filled activities you should do with your kids summer.

AS.IF. As if we need more activities. MORE I say!

As if I am sitting here, ok, really laying here in my end of school year coma, thinking, “OMG! I CANNOT wait to tackle that homemade moon sand recipe  we will dye ourselves with the skin of organic vegetables, then shape our homemade sand into a perfect replica of the Millenium Falcon! ” Or, “Why yes, I am going to schlep 4 kids to that new science museum two hours away, where we will eagerly wander through the exhibits,  each completing the 10 page scavenger hunt I created last night. Then we will come home and ‘discuss’ at great length the scientific theories we learned, because — brace yourself — what if we don’t keep our minds active ALL summer?

One of her suggested activities? I love them all, but especially:

9. Build a fort in the backyard. No, I am not gonna help. Yes, you can use the $125 Pottery Barn Kids duvet cover from your bed. I don’t care anymore. Making a memory trumps 400 thread count cotton.

Read them all and rejoice!! – L. 

Yes, Koolaid is part of this "project."

Yes, Kool-Aid is part of this “project.”

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26 Responses to Scary Mommy’s Fantastic “10 Ways to Give Your Kids a 1970’s Summer”

  1. no rest for the weary June 11, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

    🙂 , just 🙂

  2. no rest for the weary June 11, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

    That’s supposed to be me just grinning. Emoticons fail me.

  3. BL June 11, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    … and if you have to play a game, ditch the video games and get out a backgammon board! Very 1970s!

  4. Emily June 11, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

    Most of these tips are good, but I wouldn’t encourage kids to sneak from one movie theatre to another. The penal system is much tougher these days than it was in the 1970’s–I’ve heard stories of chain convenience store workers calling the police on kids stealing candy, even if they turn themselves in.

  5. Nobody June 11, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    It is important to keep in mind that it is not ACTUALLY the 1970s. I think trying to sneak from one movie theater to another will likely land a child (and by extension the child’s parents) in big trouble in this day and age.

  6. Scary Mommy June 11, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    Such a huge fan of your site, Lenore – thanks so much for sharing!

  7. Havva June 11, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

    Agree the movie theater one is asking for trouble.
    Would really like to see the reaction if you made Kool-Aid in front of a kid educated to treat that sort of junk as poison.

  8. Jenny Islander June 12, 2014 at 1:56 am #

    I left my favorite list of enrichment supplies over there. (Hint: Most of it arrived at my house as grocery packaging or junk mail.)

  9. Michelle June 12, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    I’m supposing the sneaking into movie theaters wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. More of a nostalgic, “Remember the innocent trouble we got into as kids?” Sort of like when my mom and I drove my daughter past the house where Mom and I both grew up, and we *both* admitted to spending large portions of our childhoods playing in a bayou where we weren’t supposed to be. 😉

    With that in mind, this is exactly the kind of summer I want my kids to have. Heck, it’s how their fun goes pretty much all the time. Although I do like to scan those “fun activities” lists for things my kids can do on their own, and make suggestions. Anything where all they need from me is permission, and maybe their allowance.

  10. Jen (P.) June 12, 2014 at 10:05 am #

    I think I must have hung out with this woman circa 1978. This sounds exactly like the summers I remember, including the sneaking from one movie into another 😀

  11. anonymous mom June 12, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    This makes me future-stolgic for a summer when I won’t have any babies, toddlers, or preschoolers in the house. 😉 This summer we’re having a “Help mom survive the last month of gestating this baby and then having a newborn” kind of summer, and if that requires days where my kids do nothing but watch Netflix and eat graham crackers, so be it. They’ll survive.

  12. Nadine June 12, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    Six is grand!!!

    6. Make stuff, like from stuff you find. No trips to Hobby Lobby for pre-cut, pre-stuck, pre-fabricated crafts. Find crap in the garage and assemble it into something you can play with. No, you can’t Google how to do it. Ropes are fun.

    I used to do that. But then from age nine i also fixed my own bike, learned to sew my own doll clothes and taped my cassettes back together.

  13. Melissa June 12, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    I love it!

    It brought back fond memories of the Koolaid jug in my childhood refrigerator. My dad would make four or five packets in the giant purple bucket with a spigot (like a koolaid keg), stick it in the fridge, and we were free to come in and draw off a cup (plastic tupperware cups stacked in the fridge beside the jug, that may or may not get washed everyday) whenever we were thirsty. He topped it up nearly everyday. So much sugar. So much food colouring. Once in awhile he would get fancy at dinner and fill a clear pitcher with koolaid and float orange slices in it! haha.

    More seriously, my summer this year has ZERO organized activities. They’re in daycare all week, but on our weekends we do our household stuff (groceries, etc) then we go hiking or the park or the beach. We have a science centre membership for the truly too hot days. That’s it. My kids are only 4 and 2, but my friends are already down the activity overload route – my son’s best friend has soccer, T-ball, swimming, and summer ice skating lessons! He’s 5!! All on Saturdays and Sundays.

  14. SOA June 12, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    I love the one about sleeping over at a friend’s house several nights. That is what I did in the summer as a kid. I had a couple friends and we basically alternated between houses all summer long. I would spend a couple nights at C’s house and then she would spend a couple nights at my house and then another couple nights at another C’s house etc. It was fun. We played for hours and hours and hours. C actually was home alone too as her parents worked so me, her and her older brother just hung out all day and got into fun kid stuff.

    My mom just trusted I would be okay.

    I feel that is just unheard of now. People do not want to let their kids spend the night. I have a hard time talking people into letting their 7 and 8 year olds come sleep over. I am willing to send mine to other people’s houses but they don’t wanna deal with my kids. The food allergies and autism scare them.

    I had a mom who redshirted (related to another topic) who just can’t let her 8 year old spend the night somewhere with a friend from school and when she knows the mom. Rolling my eyes. Her kid is a lot more independent than she gives him credit for. It is no surprise he sleeps in the bed with her I think that is more about her than him.

    then I have another friend who also let the kids sleep in the bed with her and she was acting like I was nuts for letting my 7 year old attend a sleepover party at a house 45 minutes away from us with a family I have known about a year now. I told her he did fine and had fun and I was not worried at all. Her kid is freaking 10 and she still hardly ever lets her go spend the night at a friends house. By that age I was spending weeks at friend’s houses and even going on vacations to states away with friends.

  15. SOA June 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    I am with others on no sneaking to other theaters but by all means if they can behave themselves, drop them off for a kid movie and come back and pick them up when it is over. I did that all the time as a kid.

  16. SOA June 12, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    We decided on no summer camps this year. I normally do one but I decided this year just to go to the pool we are members at whenever we could and just hang about. I am trying to get some friends to have sleepovers here and trying to arrange sleepovers at other kids houses. I am just letting them chill. No vacation bible schools. I think they really just want to be free and I do too. So we are just chilling. Its nice.

  17. SKL June 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    Not sure where to put this, but here goes. Yesterday I was at the park and a boy, maybe 9 or 10, was with his sister, age 4 or 5. Sister wanted to be taken to the toilet. There was a porta potty there, you know, the kind that only one person can enter at a time and everyone would see if someone went in. The boy tried to get his sister to take herself to the porta-potty. She loudly screeched, “noooo, I can’t be aloooone, someone will steeeeeal me!” (Ha, no chance, kid.) This went on for a while and finally the boy got his other sister, perhaps age 8, to come on over. Sister also tried to get the little one to use the toilet on her own, but the screeching continued until Sister went into the porta potty with her. Ugh.

    The day before, I had my kids at another park. I was doing my walking while they were playing. Another mom had 4 kids, the youngest in Tee Ball up the hill. She was very afraid of leaving her three sons (youngest was 8) at the playground while an eighth of a mile away (in sight of most of the playground). She gave them instructions: “don’t climb on anything you can’t reach with your feet still on the ground. Don’t go on the rock wall at all.” (The rock wall is plastic and reaches a height of ~7 ft.) She went away for a while. (And one of the kids went straight for the rock wall.) When she returned, 2 of her kids and 1 of mine were down playing by a little stream that is part of the playground. “Get out of there right now!” “Why can’t we – ” “You’re talking back, now you have to come with me and watch T-ball.” Then my daughter wanted to know why I didn’t also yell at her sister for being down there. I explained that there is no posted rule against it, and I haven’t forbidden it, and it’s not patently unsafe, so therefore it’s OK for my kids to do. I explained different parenting styles. My kids were a little confused, but I guess they will catch on.

  18. SOA June 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    SKL: those poor kids. I see a lot of moms who freak about kids getting dirty. And another reason why I am not a fan of the sports stuff, all the kids have to get dragged along to their sibling’s ball games and then sit there and be bored all day long as this example showed.

    Maybe the 4 year old was scared of the porta potty? My 7 year olds are still scared of them. I mean I hate them too. So I see why they are scared of them. I have chosen to pee in a bush rather than a port a potty. True story. But otherwise yeah the someone is going to snatch me thing is nuts but she may have just been using that as an excuse for why she was scared of going in the port a potty.

  19. SKL June 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    Dolly, I agree that she could have been afraid of the porta potty, but who taught her to say “someone could steal me?” That didn’t come from her own head.

    Though my own kids have said (not screeched) that once or twice, thanks to the aunties who won’t get on the FRK bandwagon. :/

  20. derfel cadarn June 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    I grew up a little before the seventies but we roamed freely and lo and behold we all survived even thrived. And my mother did not go to jail!

  21. SKL June 12, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    Yes, I was actually telling my kids the other day that they needed to buck up and act like kids on summer vacation. They seem to think a whole day of freedom is quite taxing. So much work thinking what to do next – especially without a pile of videos to watch.

    Granted, they don’t have a bunch of neighborhood kids to visit with like I did at their age. I would get bored, but then I’d go to a friends’ houses and see if they could come out and play.

    Which brings up something I have seen on another forum (more than once). A parent is unhappy and wants to know what to do about neighborhood kids knocking on her door and asking if her kids can come out and play, multiple times per week! And a lot of the commenters agree that this is a serious problem. “That kid’s mom is expecting you to do free babysitting!? Cut them off!!” Lordy.

  22. SKL June 12, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    When I was a kid, there were some semi-structured things to do. We’d walk about a mile to a Vacation Bible school, participate in the library’s summer reading club, and there were young adults paid to hang out at the playground all day and encourage kids to play ball & checkers and learn crafts. We would congregate there around noon for the free hot lunch program (I now hear this is unethical since we were not on welfare). Stuff like that. But it was all optional, and we’d come and go as we pleased.

  23. anonymous mom June 12, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    My oldest uses “somebody will snatch me!” quite often. Ask him to drop off the rent check (a block and a half away), return a stockpot I borrowed to a friend (around the corner), walk his little sister over to a friend’s house (the next block over), and about half the time he’ll tell me, “I can’t! Somebody will snatch me!”

    Nice try, kiddo. Sorry, but nobody wants you that badly, except for us. So get off your lazy bottom and go.

  24. anonymous mom June 12, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    @SKL, that actually reminds me of a summer day camp program I worked at all through high school and college. There’d be a camp run at each local elementary school, we’d be there from 9-12 and then 1-4, and we’d have a variety of stuff set up for the kids: soccer, art project, card games, places to just run around and play.

    For the first few years it was a drop-in program, so that the kids could come and go as they pleased. But, the last couple of years I worked there, it became a sign-in program. The parent had to sign in the kids in the morning, and then sign them out for pick-up. Honestly it was a huge pain in the ass because suddenly instead of getting to leave at 1 and 4, we’d have to wait around for parents to sign out their kids, plus we had to deal with kids who were bored and wanted to go home but now weren’t allowed to just walk home. I don’t know if the change was due to fear of liability or parent complaints or what.

  25. SKL June 12, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    anon mom, I assume that making it a sign-in program meant that some of the kids who would benefit most would not be there. My dad had to be at work at 8am and my mom took the bus to get to work at 9am. And we lived a couple blocks away from the playground. So yeah, forget it. We’d have gone to the playground anyway (they wouldn’t keep neighborhood kids away, would they?) but we would have missed the mentoring aspects etc.

    Of course if I were a kid today, I’d never have been allowed in the library before age 12, because my parents would not have taken me there. And I wouldn’t be allowed to swim until age 13 (instead of 8). And so on.

    If you think about it, this could be one big conspiracy to keep paid child minders in business. Not that I have anything against paid child minders, but some kids don’t need them all the way up to high school age.

  26. hineata June 12, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

    I’m just jealous that y’all had more than one movie playing at once, that you could sneak between them 🙂 . come to think of it we have a multiplex in our city these days, maybe I should get the kids to give it a go …:-)