But think back to childhood. What memories come to mind and bring a smile? Chances are, some of your fondest memories were made close to home, maybe in your own backyard. Remember playing outside as twilight turned to dark? Chasing lightning bugs (or fireflies, depending upon your region)? Or taking a short drive to a nearby park or lakeshore where you feasted on yummy food and then had time to toss a football or Frisbee, wade in the cool water, or hike to a waterfall?
You can keep family traditions alive, or create new ones, without traveling long distances or spending lots of money.
Staying close to home doesn't have to mean having a boring summer. Make a backyard cookout an occasion. Instead of rushing back indoors to the TV and computers after you cook, linger outside and enjoy one another's company. Don't have a backyard, or want a change of scenery? Find a park or other spot close to home where you can throw burgers and hotdogs onto a grill or unpack a picnic meal.
The menu for a cookout or picnic should be whatever your family loves – as long as it's not too much work. In parts of the southern U.S., a traditional picnic might mean fried chicken, ham biscuits, potato salad, deviled eggs, tomato sandwiches and sweet iced tea. Wherever you are, make up your own recipes. You'll be creating delicious memories that have to do with a lot more than food.
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- Better Homes and Gardens. "Reunions." (Feb. 1, 2012) http://www.bhg.com/health-family/reunions/
- CBS News. "Amusement Park Survival Guide." July 21, 2006. (Feb. 2, 2012) http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/21/health/webmd/main1824657.shtml
- Cicero, Karen. "Best Family Beach Vacations." (Feb. 4, 2012) http://www.parents.com/fun/vacation/ideas/best-family-beach-vacations/
- Cohen, Marisa. "Tips to Survive Theme Parks with Your Kids." Redbook. (Feb. 7, 2012) http://www.redbookmag.com/kids-family/advice/parenting/theme-park-tips
- Disney Family Fun. "20 Great Family Beaches." (Feb. 3, 2012) http://familyfun.go.com/vacations/activities-and-attractions/beaches-vacations/beach-vacation-ideas/20-great-family-beaches-712481/
- FamilyVacationCritic. "Amusement Park Vacations." (Feb. 8, 2012) http://familyvacationcritic.com/amusement-park-vacations/art/
- Reunions Magazine. "Family Reunion Planning." (Feb. 2, 2012) http://www.reunionsmag.com/familyreunions/family.html
- U.S. News Travel. "Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA." (Feb. 2, 2012) http://travel.usnews.com/Rankings/Best_Family_Beach_Vacations_in_the_USA/
What traditions for new babies can create even brighter memories and afford parents much-needed breaks? Read about traditions for new babies at HowStuffWorks.