50 completely doable ways to beat boredom and make summer sizzle
by Sara Milledge
Jun 02, 2013 | 4436 views |  0 comments | 94 94 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Illustration: Jessica Stephens/The Anniston Star
Illustration: Jessica Stephens/The Anniston Star
Summer is almost here — the time of year kids trade backpacks for flip-flops and gym clothes for swimsuits. That means no school ... and tons of free time. Beat the season’s “I’m bored” blues with these 50 fun things to do this summer. Most of these boredom busters are close to home, many can be done in the backyard. They won’t cut into your college fund, but all are guaranteed cures for the summer blahs.

1. Have fun playing in the dirt at the Learning Farm in Piedmont. Kids can learn about the production, preparation and preservation of healthy, organic foods. Located at 76 James St. 256-473-6109, www.the-learning-farm.org.

2. Try to catch a foul ball at the Birmingham Barons’ brand new field. On Friday, the Barons will host the Jacksonville Suns at 7:05 p.m. for Friday night fireworks and Star Wars night. General admission is $7. www.Barons.com.

3. Curl up with a good book, and get a prize for doing it! Calhoun County’s libraries are hosting summer reading programs for readers of all ages, with special events and prizes. This Wednesday, make and take a dinosaur sand art craft at the Anniston Public Library. 256-237-8501, www.publibann.weebly.com/summer-reading.

4. For a fun way to cool off this summer, head to Birmingham’s Splash Adventure Waterpark. With a water maze, lazy river and giant wave pool, there’s fun for the whole family. Adult tickets are $28.99, and tickets for anyone under 42 inches are $21.99. Parking is $29.99. 205-481-4750, www.splashadventurewaterpark.com.

5. Build your own monster at Lowe’s free kids’ clinics. This summer’s theme is based on Disney-Pixar’s new movie “Monsters University,” and kids can build their own Monsters University chests and “scarers.” Register online at www.lowesbuildandgrow.com.

6. This summer, Six Flags over Georgia in Atlanta will debut the SkyScreamer, the tallest attraction in the park’s history. Check out the SkyScreamer, along with the park’s other thrill rides. The kids will enjoy hanging with Bugs Bunny and his pals on the more than 15 kiddie rides. General admission at the park is $56.99 for adults and $39.99 for anyone under 48 inches. Save time and money by purchasing a ticket online a few days in advance for $36.99. www.sixflags.com/overGeorgia.

7. Write a letter to Mickey Mouse. Kids can write letters to their favorite Disney characters, princesses included, and receive an autographed picture in return. Just address the letter to the character and send it to Walt Disney World Communications at P.O. Box 10040, Lake Buena Vista, Fla. 32830.

8. Visit Birmingham’s biggest resident, Vulcan. Vulcan’s 109th Birthday Bash is today from noon to 4 p.m. Admission in $5 for ages 5 and up. And don’t forget about the interactive Vulcan Museum. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children.

9 Find a dinosaur egg at the Birmingham Zoo’s new Dino Discovery exhibit. Dino Discovery features 15 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs that roar and move. Kids can dig for fossils and talk to a dinosaur expert. Adult tickets for the zoo are $14, and tickets for children 2-12 are $9. Admission to Dino Discovery is $5 along with the purchase of a zoo ticket. 205-879-0409, www.birminghamzoo.com.

10. For even more animal fun, visit Zach the zebra, Cody the bear and Wyatt the tiger at Tigers for Tomorrow at Untamed Mountain. The exotic animal park and rescue preserve is located in Atalla and is home to more than 140 animals. Admission for adults is $12, and tickets for children six to 11 are $6. 256-524-4150, www.tigersfortomorrow.org.

11. Celebrate Anniston’s 130th birthday at the Anniston Museum of Natural History. The museum is now hosting the “Horseback Visionaries: Noble & Tyler Create the Model City” exhibit, which explores the city’s history and the chance meeting of Samuel Noble and Gen. Daniel Tyler. Admission to the museum is $6 for adults and $5 for children 4-17. 256-237-6766, www.annistonmuseum.org.

12. Take a day trip to Birmingham and explore the McWane Science Center. With four floors of interactive exhibits and a “Just Mice Size” especially for little ones, the McWane Center makes learning fun for all ages. Tickets for the museum are $12 for adults and $9 for kids 2-12. IMAX movie and museum combo tickets are $17 for adults and $13 for kids. 205-714-8300, www.mcwane.org.

13. Grab a loaf of bread and feed the ducks at McClellan’s Duck Pond Park. This 10-acre park also has playground equipment and picnic areas. Located at the old Fort McClellan. www.annistonal.gov.

14. Feeling adventurous? Hike the Pinhoti Trail. Partially located in the Talladega National Forest, the trail boasts two nationally designated wilderness areas, hardwood forests, valleys and mountain streams. www.pinhotitrailalliance.org.

15. Create an edible masterpiece with a sweet twist. Make a dessert pizza! Top basic pizza dough with your favorite sweet toppings like marshmallows, M&Ms or fruit.

16. Explore a 2,000-year-old Native American burial ground at DeSoto Caverns. Located in Childersburg, DeSoto Caverns features a huge cave, along with fun attractions like a climbing wall and bow and arrow shooting range. Adult tickets for a cavern tour are $19.99, kids tickets are $17.99. Attractions tickets are $5.99 each. www.desotocavernspark.com.

17. Become pen pals with a soldier, or send one a care package. To adopt a soldier, check out www.homefronthugs.org.

18. Make s’mores, no campfire needed. Roast marshmallows over the grill, and add graham crackers and a chocolate bar for a fast, fun summer treat.

19. Visit Imagination Place Children’s Museum in Gadsden. Designed specifically for children ages 2-10, kids can play in an indoor tree house, hop in the back of a Red Cross emergency response vehicle and explore a turtle hospital with two Russian tortoises. Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for children 2 to 10. www.culturalarts.org/imagination-place.

20. Have some old magazines lying around? Cut them up, grab some glue and create a “my favorite things” magazine mosaic.

21. Sit pretty with a visit to the world’s largest office chair. Located at 625 Noble St., the chair outside of Miller’s Office Supply is 33 feet tall.

22. Cool off with a dip in the pool. Visit Carver Park and Community Center, John Nettles Park, Lenlock Community Center or Norwood Park for a good swim. www.annistonal.gov.

23. Lie out in the backyard and stargaze. Star charts for kids can be found by visiting www.kids.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Printable_Star_Charts.

24. Bite into local fruits and veggies at the Jacksonville Farmers Market. Located in the pocket park behind Roma’s on the Jacksonville square, the farmers market is open on Saturdays from 7 -11 a.m., and Mondays from 4-7 p.m.

25. For even more homegrown fun, head to Wright’s Dairy in Alexandria. There, kids can meet Bessie the cow and see the cows being milked any day around 4 p.m. Wright’s Dairy even makes its own ice cream! 256-820-1020, www.wrightdairy.com.

26. Grab some friends and play flashlight tag in the backyard on a clear summer night.

27. Make homemade ice cream. All that’s needed is ice, sugar, vanilla, milk, rock salt and a plastic bag. For an easy recipe, visit www.crafts.kaboose.com/ice-cream-in-a-bag.html.

28. Have a shaving cream fight. Grab a swimsuit, a pair of goggles and a few cans of shaving cream for a fun outdoor activity with easy clean up.

29. See some classic American art at the World of Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta. The museum is now hosting the exhibit “American Originals: Norman Rockwell & Coca-Cola” that features examples Rockwell’s Coca-Cola art. Adult tickets are $16 and youth tickets are $12. 1-800-676-COKE, www.worldofcoca-cola.com.

30. Make your own photo booth. All you need is a camera and a little imagination to create fun props.

31. For a day trip and pioneer adventure, check out Arab Historic Village.

Located adjacent to Arab City Park, the village boasts eight historic buildings, the oldest of which was build in the late 19th century. The buildings are open on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturdays from 1 - 4 p.m. www.arabcity.org/historiccomplex.html.

32. Make a birdfeeder. Find a pinecone, cover it in peanut butter and roll it in birdseed. Add some yarn and hang it on the perfect branch.

33. Put on a swimsuit, pull out the kiddie pool, fill it with bubbles and take a giant outdoor bubble bath.

34. If the outdoor bubble bath is a hit, try hosting a shampoo party. Bring the shampoo outside and use the garden hose as a shower. Kids will love to give each other funny hair dos.

35. If you’re spending a few days in Birmingham, drop the kids off at the Summit’s Apple Store for a free three-day Apple Camp. Kids ages 8-12 will learn how to make their own films with iMovie, which will debut at the Apple Camp Film Festival at the end of the session. 205-909-2570, www.apple.com/retail/learn/youth.

36. Become a reporter for a day and make your own newspaper. Kids can write about events in their neighborhood and interview family and friends. Visit the Liberty Kids Newsmaker online to get started. www.libertyskids.com/lnn.html.

37. Grab a tent and sleeping bag and go camping, even if it’s just in the backyard.

38. Volunteer at a local animal shelter. The Animal Shelter in Anniston needs volunteers to help walk dogs, socialize cats and give animals a bath. 256-236-1581, www.theanimalshelter.net.

39. Create a time capsule. Fill a small plastic container with letters, drawings and pictures to open next summer.

40. Race go-karts, play a round of mini golf and have a giant water balloon fight at Treetop Family Adventure in Chelsea near Birmingham. With more than10 attractions, both indoor and outdoor, there’s something for everyone. Pricing varies by attraction. 205-637-3780, treetopfamilyadventure.com.

41. Have a home spa day with funky fingernail polishes and temporary hair dye.

42. Spend the day doing random acts of kindness. Hide a kind note in a book at the library, leave an origami crane on a car window or color a picture for a neighbor.

43. Build an ice castle. Freeze water in Tupperware containers and then take the frozen blocks outside to build a chilly castle.

44. Make a splash with the Georgia Aquarium’s new sea otter and dolphin interactive programs. The aquarium offers programs that let kids meet, touch and feed the animals. Tickets are $59.95. 404-581-4151, www.georgiaaquarium.org.

45. Spruce up a plain white T-shirt. Grab rubber bands, a tie-dye kit and add a little color to shirts, socks and pillowcases.

46. Spend the day playing spy. Explore the neighborhood with a pencil and notebook and see what mysteries unfold.

47. Go bowling. Have fun with the entire family at Anniston Bowling Center on Blue Mountain Road. 256-237-1758.

48. Grab a camera and go on an alphabet adventure. Take pictures of things that start with the letters A through Z, and by the end of the day you’ll have created a fun alphabet picture book.

49. Turn the sidewalk into a giant canvas. Create sidewalk paint by mixing two tablespoons of cornstarch, four tablespoons of water and six to eight drops of food coloring.

50. Catch a show at Birmingham Children’s Theater. The 2013 Summer Series features Hansel and Gretel in June and Cinderella in July. For performance times, visit www.bct123.org. Tickets are $10 for children and $12 for adults. 205-458-8181.

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