BY RYAN SPELTS
My hands-down favorite part about growing up was the summer. It meant lots of swimming, playing outside until dark (which was quite late), and fun times as a family mixed with awesome food outdoors at BBQs and picnics. I also remember summers going by way too quickly and school starting back up again. This year has been a strange one with COVID-19 messing up lots of vacations and many of the city fairs, so we wanted to create a list of fun activities that can still happen, regardless of what happens with the virus. We teamed up with Farr’s Ice Cream: anyone who is able to complete 10 of these bucket list items will get a free ice cream scoop at Farr’s in Ogden.
1 – REDNECK WATER SLIDES – MAKE YOUR OWN SLIP ‘N SLIDE
There is a hill in Wellsville where a farmer puts up giant visqueen slides on the hill side. It is tucked in between beautiful trees, so there are lots of places to rest. The hill is giant, so you really get moving on the slide. There is room for a picnic and to play other games on the grass. When you pull up, you will not think it looks like much, but it is a ton of fun. This would be a great place for a family reunion. They can handle large groups, and don’t worry, there are kiddy sections for those who don’t want to take on the big hill. If you want to stay close to home, you can also purchase large plastic sheets from a hardware store and put it out in the grass with the hose running across it. You can buy slip ‘n slides for cheap, but if you want larger, longer options, making your own is fun too.
2 – GEOCACHING
Go on a real-life treasure hunt! Geocaches are a fun adventure where random caches are placed in areas around the world, and fun prizes can be found in them. Some caches are “take something, leave something,” where others are just for observation. Usually, there is a logbook in which to record everyone who has found that cache. There are nearly 3000 geocaches in Davis and Weber counties. A quick online search will get you started, and you can use your phone map to guide you, though the true enthusiasts will get a GPS system to guide them to each treasure. The directions are usually limited, which adds to the fun of the search.
3 – JACK BOX TV GAMES
Trust us, this one will have the kids laughing and having a blast. Go to jackboxgames.com to purchase access and pick a game or more. We love the game Drawful. It links everyone’s phones and tablets to the screen. The screen gives each person a drawing to create with their finger. Even if you are artistic, it is tough to draw something recognizable with your finger and two colors. Once everyone is done, the game will show each drawing and other players will guess what the drawing prompt was. Then, everyone gets a chance to guess which prompt is correct. This is a ton of fun and mixes technology with a family interactive game, which helps bring everyone together.
BONUS: You can play with family and friends far away-just give them the four-letter code to play the game with you!
4 – HIKING TO A MOUNTAIN TOP
Depending on the age of your kids, you can pick a trail that will work for you. Our kids are mostly in the teen years, and we recently set a goal to climb to the top of Ben Lomond, which is a pretty big hike. We have done lots of easy hikes, though, too. Ogden’s Waterfall Canyon is fun, and there are hundreds of hikes nearby that a quick Google search can help you find.
5 – WRITE LETTERS TO GRANDPARENTS OR ANOTHER RELATIVE
In today’s digital age, it is such a pleasure to receive an actual hand-written letter in the mail, especially when it is from someone you love. Little ones can draw pictures or have Mom write out what they want to say. Grandma and Grandpa will love it.
6 – BOB ROSS PAIN DAY
Bob Ross was a fun TV personality who taught people to paint. Most of his training videos are on YouTube today, and you can gather the family together to watch and paint their own version of the artwork. His teaching is so patient and simple, it makes it easy to have fun with the activity. We did this for a birthday party, and it was a ton of fun. We were surprised at how well some of our kids did. We purchased small canvases from Hobby Lobby, along with some craft paint and brushes. We kept it simple and really enjoyed it.
7 – COOKING CONTEST
Have you ever watched Chopped or another cooking challenge on TV? We used to love watching those shows, and our kids liked them too. One day, we decided to have the kids take on their own Chopped challenge. We gave them full access to the kitchen and any ingredients they wanted and asked them each to create a dish to be judged. I’ll be honest here; I was the judge, and it was mostly, entirely, utterly disgusting! But, the kids had a blast.
8 – SWIM IN A LAKE
There is nothing as inviting than cool bodies of water when it is 100 F or more outside. Don’t get us wrong, we love swimming in pristine blue pools as much as anyone, but there is a certain mystery and excitement when swimming in a lake. There is the thought of the fish swimming below and maybe the worry for some that they might nibble on your toes. Our kids love finding a felled tree nearby and carrying it out to the water so they can play on it. See who can stay on the longest or who can stand up on the log. It is great fun.
9 – ROCKHOUNDING
Did you know we have some amazing rocks in Utah? Some even say we have the best location for rockhounding in the United States. If you are willing to travel to Central Utah, you can hike through the hills and find the following: trilobites, shell fossils, fern fossils, fish fossils, geode beds, bird’s eye marble, bixbyite, rutile and amethyst crystals, sunstones, wonderstone, topaz (at Topaz Mountain), obsidian, and Red Beryl. If you are lucky enough to find a Red Beryl, they are one of the rarest gemstones in the world. They are also worth about 1,000 times more than gold. That would be a cool find! You can research these places online. There are lots of places to go, and who doesn’t love a great rock hunt. Most locations are accessible by car. Some are on private property, and you can pay to enter and search; others are on open land where you can just make your way through and search away (but not in National Monuments). Make sure not to trespass and try to leave places as you found them or better than when you found them. “The hunt was the best part. Once we started finding fern fossils, it got exciting. We would turn over a rock and everyone would squeal and run to see what the find was. I found a 9” fern fossil which is now featured in our backyard.” – Rhett Long. You can even pick up a rock tumbler at Bryson’s Rock Shop or online and then turn your finds in to beautiful glossy gems.
BONUS: Look for gold! You can also go down to Beaver and up to the old ghost town and do some mining. There is still gold to be found in that area. You can pan in the river, and it is a blast. You are not likely to see many people, so it is safe from COVID-19.
10 – FISHING
Some people are drawn at an early age to the thrilling tug on the end of a line when a fish takes the bait. I grew up hearing stories from my dad who grew up in Idaho among world-famous fishing spots and serious anglers. I was addicted to fishing before I even picked up my first rod. You can make a quick trip to Willard Bay for bass, crappie, wiper, catfish, walleye, and carp fishing or head to Pine View Reservoir for bass, tiger musky, and trout. We also have some great fishing on the Ogden and Weber Rivers. However, if you want to ensure a catch, you can head to Cold Springs Trout Farm in North Ogden. If you put a hook in the water, you will catch a fish. The kids love this place, and no equipment is needed. They have rods there or you can bring your own. Your kids will squeal with delight when they bring a fish in. Most are too grossed out to touch the fish, but some love the slimy feel. See our recipes in last month’s magazine or online to get your kids to eat the fish you catch.
11 – CAMP IN THE BACKYARD
For the less adventurous, or maybe if you just lack the equipment for some full mountain camping trips, you can set up a tent in the back yard. Use blankets to make it warm, and even use your phone light. If you don’t have a tent, you can sleep under the stars. Moments like these are memories that will last a lifetime, especially if you forget to turn off the sprinklers the next morning at 5 am….
12 – FLOAT A RIVER
Everyone needs to have a lifejacket for this one. You can rent them from the Weber State Outdoor Rental Center. You can also rent tubes or pick some up from Big 5. We typically use the same tubes for snow and water. You can make small runs up on the Ogden River; it is not very deep but can still be fun for the little ones. You can also make larger runs on the Weber River. We usually start near Henefer and get out at Taggart. There are shuttle services and companies that offer guided tours and provide all the equipment. It takes a couple hours and can sometimes be turbulent, so come prepared and be careful.
13 – OUTDOOR MOVIE OR MOVIE IN THE PARK
With COVID-19, many of the movie in the park events have been cancelled this year, but you can do this in your own yard. If you know someone who has a projector that they can borrow from work, you can hang an old white sheet on the fence or back of the house and project a movie up on the screen. We usually combine it with making a fire and roasting marshmallows.
14 – LIBRARY/ READING CHALLENGE
Our local library has a summer reading challenge each year. Our kids love going and picking out a book, then returning it once they are done to receive their rewards. There are different levels and challenges for kids of all ages.
15 – CANOE, KAYAK, PADDLE BOARD
You can rent or buy paddle boards, kayaks, or canoes and head to a nearby lake. Kids have a blast on floating vessels, and it can entertain for hours. Causey Reservoir in Weber County is a great option for this because there are no motorized boats to worry about, but you could go to any lake and have fun on a paddle board.
16 – ROCK PAINTING/PAINTING SNAILS
There are numerous Facebook groups dedicated to rock painting. Many people like painting fun messages or pictures and then placing them somewhere for others to find. Search “801 Rocks” for details. “When I was a kid, we used to find snails in the garden and paint their shells, and sometimes we would see them again a few days later. Other times we would just find the painted shell.” – Ann Park
17 – BIKE RIDE AROUND THE LAKE AT ANTELOPE ISLAND OR PINEVIEW RESERVOIR
We have done this twice. Once was around Pineview, where there is a paved path around most of the lake. The other time was out on Antelope Island, where we rode right by some bison and had beautiful sunset views of the Great Salt Lake.
18 – KICKBALL AT THE PARK
Walmart usually has kickballs for under $10. We love getting the family together and playing a match, especially if the kids have some friends or cousins over. A fun treat for after the game would be a cooler full of popsicles.
19 – PICNIC IN THE PARK
This one is easy; just eat lunch on a blanket at the park. Traditional food like Kool-aide, fried chicken, watermelon, grapes, and maybe some coleslaw are good choices. You could also do some sub sandwiches, chips, and soda pop. Just watch out for the ants. We also love getting some ice cream shakes and eating them at the park under the shade of a large tree.
Get a Free Scoop!
We had fun making this list of activities for the summer. We hope you have fun doing some of them. In celebration of Farr’s Ice Cream’s 100th anniversary, anyone who can complete 10 of these items will get a free scoop of ice cream from Farr’s. Take a picture of each activity and email email@example.com. Have a great summer!