15 Summertime Things to Do (With Small Humans!)

As much as I love summer, it can get a bit overwhelming when all the kids are home. All. The. Time.

Last summer, the girls & I created a summer adventure list, which was super helpful if we needed direction or ideas of things to do.

We’re fortunate that we live in a city where there’s lots of options for music, festivals and parks. Here’s a list of our favorite summertime activities, most of which are free or low cost.

1. The Milwaukee Zoo: We have a membership at the zoo and we USE it. Sometimes, we head over there for just an hour to check on the vampire bats and to see how much the camels are shedding.




2. Lakefront Picnic: I’ll pack up some sandwiches & Greg will meet up with us after work at the lakefront. We eat, wrestle the kids and let them run around until they’re good and tired. It’s the perfect end to a day (and it makes bedtime easy!)


3. Bayshore Fountains: This is simple fun, just like a giant sprinkler. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll pack lunch and we’ll meet up with some friends there. On Thursday evenings, there’s free live music  so the kids can run through the water while Greg & I enjoy a somewhat coherent conversation while they play.


4. Outdoor picnic: We don’t have a patio or any outdoor furniture so I’ll have the girls bring out a blanket and table settings. We grill out and just chill in the backyard for the night.

5. Play with neighbor kids: Easy enough to do, plus the added bonus of hanging out with other grown ups while the kiddos play.


6. Old World Wisconsin: Genevieve really enjoyed reading Laura Ingalls this year so this was the perfect day trip. The homes in the exhibit are all from the state of Wisconsin and we learned a lot about the history of each family that owned the homes, the types of toys they played with, the tools they used to farm and build their homes.








7. Berry picking: There’s lots of berry patches around here, and our neighbors also have a sour cherry tree. They invited us to come over to pick some cherries and the girls were thrilled to make a huge mess getting the pits out and then make their own pie.

8. Festivals: One of our favorite festivals with the girls is Bastille Days. The food is always good, plus the music and dancing is great. Plus, the lizard guy is there.




9. Bay Beach: The vintage little gem in Green Bay has apparently been around forever, but I recently learned about it. The best part is that for only $20, the girls had a whole day of rides and fun. We packed a lunch and there were plenty of spots in the shade to eat. It was super hot the day we went and there’s not a lot of shade trees, so pack the sunscreen & water!



10. Dine at an Outdoor Patio: Yes, it’s an exercise in patience to bring four small kids out to a public place and expect good behavior, but from time to time they surprise us and behave like functional humans.



11. Lemonade Stand: A summer staple for sure. And probably one of my favorite photos of all time.

12. Shop & Prepare Dinner Together: They’re always a lot more willing to try new (even green) food if they’re part of the buying and prepping process.

13. Play at the Park: We have our favorite parks, but it’s always fun to explore new ones.




14. Concerts & Shows: There’s a lot of festivals & shows around here in the summer, but check local cafes & libraries for a schedule of free concerts also.

15. Summer Camps: I typically don’t sign up for many summer camps for the kids, but they did do one camp this summer. They enjoyed seeing their friends outside of school and their little dance on the last day was adorable.



These are some of our favorite things.



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