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Ice cream for dinner!



20 things to do with your kids before they’re grown

The years with our children slip past us when we’re not paying attention. Suddenly we find ourselves with preschoolers, then grade-schoolers, and pretty soon teenagers. We do our best to make the most of these years, but sometimes it helps to know we aren’t missing out on our children’s childhood by engaging it full on.

With that in mind, here are 20 activities to get in before taking them to college. How many have you already tried?

1. Sleep out under the stars. Pitch a tent or just drag blankets and sleeping bags out into your yard or balcony.

2. Visit a lighthouse. Take a picture while you’re there.

3. Pick apples, blueberries or another fruit. Enjoy eating produce right from the source.

4. Take them to meet a favorite author, sports star or personal hero.

5. Carve a pumpkin. Encourage your kids to grab out the seeds with their fingers and get up to their elbows scooping out the gooey flesh.

6. Serve in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

7. Eat ice cream sundaes for dinner. Include fresh fruit like strawberries and bananas among the toppings to make it “more healthy.”

8. Own a pet (fish, bird, dog, cat, lizard).

9. Catch lightening bugs — in your hands or in a jar. Have a contest to see who can collect the most.

10. Climb a mountain or go to the top of a skyscraper. Then take in the view from up high.

11. Go on special dates, just parent and child. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It’s about one-on-one time.

12. Try skiing — water, cross country, or downhill.

13. Teach them how to waltz. Or hip hop or line dance. Get out some music and show them your moves.

14. Take them to a big concert event. Whether it’s kid music or classical, give them exposure to a live performance.

15. Make and take a meal together to a house-bound neighbor or friend.

16. Plant flowers. Give them a garden trowel and invite them to dig in the dirt with you.

17. Attend a funeral. Then talk about life, death and the future.

18. Go to a theme park. Ride the roller coasters and eat cotton candy.

19. Let them make you dinner by themselves. Even if it’s PB& J sandwiches.

20. Attend a major sporting event in your city — baseball, football, hockey. Cheer loudly. Enjoy the energy of being surrounded by your fellow fans.

Whatever you choose to do, soak up each moment. It might not slow down time, but it will capture memories you can share with your kids for a lifetime.

Lara Krupicka is a parenting journalist, mother of three, and author of “Family Bucket Lists: Bring More Fun, Adventure & Camaraderie Into Every Day.”