For many people, summertime is a busy season of lessons, camps, activities and outings. If that works for your family, great! But if it leaves you stressed and frazzled, there’s nothing wrong with taking a more laid back approach to summer.

Here are three ideas to make the most of your low-key summer, without sacrificing the memory making or learning opportunities that we  associate with being on the go.

1. Cook Together

A lot of summertime recipes are inherently kid friendly because there are so many salads and easy-to-prepare options. Whether you’re making a traffic light sandwich, a simple pasta salad or a traditional fruit or veggie salad, get kids involved in the kitchen. Not only will they learn lifelong skills, but you’ll create a ton of memories in the process.

Wondering how much your kids can actually handle in the kitchen? It’s  probably more than you think. Today, Cheryl from Backseat Gourmet is  sharing her tips for teaching  your toddler to handle a knife over at Simple Bites!

2. Spend Time Outside

There’s nothing quite  like digging in the dirt and growing your own  veggies. Whether you have  a large garden or just basic landscaping  around your home, involve the  kids in the planting, weeding and  watering.

If gardening isn’t  your thing, take time out for regular nature  walks to observe the  seasonal changes and natural wildlife in your  area. Keep a science   observation journal where you can record the things you see and   learn, and most importantly, practice noticing the things you might otherwise pass by in   your busyness.

One of our favorite family routines is  our evening walk. It’s a  great way to leave the to-do list behind and  just focus on being  together, and we love to observe the cycles of the  various wildflowers  that grow around our home. Just like every other  area of life, the  kids follow our lead and love to chime in with the  flowers, birds and  insects that they spot while we walk.

3.  Keep Lots of Craft Supplies on Hand

Crafts are a perfect indoor activity when you want to seek refuge from the midday heat without resorting to television, video games or other electronics. While the potential mess might keep you from pulling out the arts and crafts, there are plenty of ways to minimize the mess….but remember that sometimes making a mess is half the fun.

To get kids started  during craft time, keep a file of project ideas while leaving lots of time for open-ended crafts as well. We like to keep ready-to-go   arts and crafts boxes on hand as boredom  busters. We keep them stocked with a variety of supplies for when our girls can’t think of anything to do on their own.

Because there are so many opportunities for summer fun, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and miss the chance to make real memories that last. Before we get into the full swing of summer, take some time to decide how much time you want to spend on the go and how much time you want to spend at home, and then look for ways to make the most of your time at home.

What are your favorite at-home summertime activities?