5 ways for families to enjoy the last week of summer vacation

photo credit: thinkstock.comphoto credit: thinkstock.comOver the next few weeks, schools will begin the new academic year. And while parents may be thrilled to have their kids back at school, I'm sure many will also admit they feel that tinge of sadness that summer vacation is over. Lazy mornings, breezy afternoons, relaxed bedtime routines...yes, it's definitely a welcomed change of pace from an often-frenetic school year.

So how should you spend that last week before school starts back up? Sure, wake the kids up a little earlier to get them ready for their new start times. Get their bedtime routines back on track.

But try to savor that last week of summer break as a family:

  • Have a picnic dinner. Working parents might not be able to leave their job in the middle of the day, so plan a picnic for dinner. Let the kids help make the meal, or hit your local market and pick up pre-made dishes from the deli counter for extra ease. Grab a blanket, some drinks, and find a pretty park to share some family time over a meal.
  • Camp out in your backyard! Who says you need to drive hours away to camp? Just pitch your tent in the backyard, fire up the grill to make s'mores, and spend the night with the kids under the stars.
  • Take a hike! Check out regional parks and find a simple trail for the family to hike. If you have older kids, the trail can be more advanced. Pack snacks and water, and head off on your family adventure.
  • Play tourist in your own town. Visit local museums and fun neighborhoods in your town. Explore and discover new family favorites.
  • Have a back-to-school celebration party...just for your family. The afternoon before school starts, have a little party -- just for the kids -- to kick-start the new school year. Use a school theme, like this pencil cake and these school bus cupcakes via Family Fun. Adorable!
How are you spending the last week of your kid's summer vacation?