For many people, this time of year is accented by school buses and carpools. Children with new backpacks and sneakers chatter about spending time with friends at recess.
There’s a new rhythm for chores. We scramble to take care of pets, get everyone out the door in the morning with a smile, and make it to those back-to-school nights on time. It’s exciting.
It can be exhausting, too. As families settle into new routines, we still need time to connect with each other and with our pets. We strengthen our family bonds as we claim those leisure moments.
This doesn’t mean we have to squeeze one more trip to Disneyland in before cold weather sets in, though. Taking advantage of the late summer sun can be as simple as an afternoon drive or a two-hour play session at the dog park.
Sometimes it just requires a little creativity and the willingness to dig into the culture nearby.
Seek the Sand
Even if you don’t live near the ocean, you can enjoy a weekend away at lakeshores and local beaches. If you don’t know where to start, look up state parks and local tourism divisions.
List the nearby lakes, dams, and reservoirs you’d like to try and what you’d like to do while you’re there. While the weather permits, you can pack up the family and visit one new scene each weekend.
Make a day of it. Rent a paddle-boat or canoe and life jackets so you can take your kids and pets out on the water for an hour. Pack a cooler full of snacks and drinks.
Remember to bring sunscreen, extra water bottles, plastic buckets and shovels for sandcastles, and some good pet toys like tennis balls or frisbees. The HERO Playtime soft rubber kettleball might be the perfect pet toy to bring along.
A collapsible food and water dish for your pets is another must-have for afternoon outings. Make sure they get their share of treats and don’t let them get dehydrated from running around with your children on the shore.
Trail Every Mountain
If you’re more into mountain sports, pack up the minivan with bikes, backpacks, and hiking gear. Consider bringing a special harness with pockets for your pets so they can carry their own water dishes and water bottles.
You’ll also want to pack some organic insect spray and a first-aid kit in case someone falls on the trail.
Don’t forget to bring a good hand-held GPS unit, and keep everyone on the trail. Outings like this are a great time to teach children about outdoor safety.
Discuss the buddy system and why it’s important to keep everyone, including pets, insight while you’re hiking.
Grab that Ultimate moment…
And by Ultimate, we mean the sport. Look up nearby Ultimate courses that you can try. Purchase one or two sets of Ultimate frisbees that your family can practice with.
If there isn’t a nearby course, make your own at your favorite local park by deciding on your own frisbee targets as you go. Don’t forget to bring a specialty frisbee for your pets. The West Paw Zogoflex Zisc is a great choice because it’s durable, flies well, and it’s both chewable and nearly indestructible.
Take the time to train your pet so they know which frisbee is theirs and which ones they need to leave on the ground for the family.