We are just a few weeks away from long summer days, backyard cookouts, and late nights with the kids. It’s a joyful time.

I don’t know about you, but I always have a list a mile long of fun things that I want to do with the kids that we never have time for during the school year. From museums to movies, and parks to playdates, our lives are so full that these activities often get pushed to the back burner.

Here are some ways to start planning now to make the summer months more memorable.

1. Make a List

Throughout the year, make a list of places in your community that you’d like to visit: the new water park, the science center, or that new park with the enormous playground. Keep that list up-to-date and also jot down other special things that you’d like to do with your family - like try a new restaurant or take a day trip to a city you’ve always wanted to visit. You can also write down other things you want to do, like teach your kids to play chess or have them teach you how to play Minecraft.

2. Map Out Events

Next, get out a calendar and begin mapping out your adventures. Figure out the best weekends or days during the summer to do some of the items on your list.

3. Look for Deals

If you’re going to visit some of the museums or other attractions in your community, start looking online or in the local parenting magazines for coupons and deals. Many of these places will offer summer specials where you can get access to multiple museums or parks for one set price all summer long.

4. Create a Weekend Fun Series

Make it memorable. At our house, I call it our “Summer Fun Series.” Each week, we have a new adventure planned and everybody gets psyched for it (okay, mostly me). But it’s a tradition and it’s something that we do as a family. Once it becomes ingrained in your family DNA, it’s something that everyone can look forward to and rely on.

5. Plan Stuff Indoors, Too

Remember that weather can be a factor, so you might want to plan some indoor adventures that you can turn to if the weather gets nasty.

6. Make Playdates With Friends

Your kids have been so consumed with homework and activities throughout the school year that they might not have the time they want to play with their pals. Build in some playdates with other families, too, if you have the time.

7. Find Things to Teach Them

Summer doesn’t have to be all about going places. There might be things that you want to find time to teach your children — fixing things around the house, fishing, sports, or crafts might be on your list. This is the perfect time to choose a new skill or two to pass on to the little ones.

What are your summer plans? Share with us!