My boys are in college now and doing their own thing for the summer, but oh, how I long for those days when they were younger and we could go explore and play together! Whether you are a work-outside-the-home mom who is hoping to take off a few days here and there to enjoy some time with your children, or you are a stay-at-home mom who is half excited and half dreading having the children home for the summer, I encourage you to do a little planning now to give you a jumping-off point for your summer schedule.

When my boys were young, we spent hours and hours at the local pool, where I’d teach them to swim, play spider or fish-out-of-water, and eat bowls of fruit during adult swim. When they were older, we had season passes to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA® (the best water park ever, in our opinion! The boys still ask to go every summer!), so we’d head there at least twice a month. We explored D.C., saw all the monuments and museums, rode the Duck Tour, and tallied up out-of-state license plates. We always tried to have one big event planned each week, so that left the rest of the days open so we could get together with friends, have squirt gun battles, or sit around the house in our pajamas watching movies and eating popcorn.

If you want to get out of town for a few days, Shenandoah National Park has some great campgrounds where you can either pull in a camper or pitch a tent, and you’re never too far from a toilet. (Very important when young kids need to use the bathroom at 2 a.m. in the dark!) We have a great Day Trippin’ guide on FredParent’s website. There are museums, historic sites, area parks and other great things to do in that guide. If you have additions for our guide, please send them to, and I’ll get them added!

Whatever you decide to do, treasure every moment with your children. Those lazy days of summer don’t last forever!

Karen is FredParent’s webmaster and is willing to take random children to the pool this summer.