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First day of summer: Six family activities to get kids outside

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Courtesy of Bonnie Plants

(Read caption) First day of summer: Although your kids may not win any vegetable growing competitions, gardening is a good activity to get them outside during the summer weekends. In this undated file photo, Austin Mezera poses with his cabbage as the winner of the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program for the State of Wisconsin in 2011.

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For many, Memorial Day weekend signified the beginning of the summer season and a return to outdoor fun. Here are a few great activities that will help you make the most of the warm weekends throughout the summer season.

Make and Fly a Popsicle Stick Airplane

Everyone loves to make and fly airplanes, and the rounded popsicle-stick ends on these make for a fairly safe, satisfying, and easily assembled flying machine.

You’ll need: 5 popsicle or craft sticks per plane.

Stack three popsicle sticks and then fan them out so that one end of each stick is still touching the others. Glue the tops together. Weave a fourth popsicle stick over the first stick, under the middle stick, and over the third stick in the triangle. Weave a fifth popsicle stick the opposite way—under the first stick, over the middle stick, and under the third stick in the triangle. If desired, add a dot of glue at each juncture for extra security, and let the glue dry. Paint your airplane or leave it natural. Take it outside and fly as you would a paper airplane. Hold the middle stick and try to launch it decisively and parallel to the ground.

Camp in Your Backyard 

Camping out in sleeping bags is fun any time of year—in a backyard, on a porch or balcony, even on the living-room floor. Play low-tech games, like cards and charades. Make traditional camp treats, like s’mores. If you’re outside, enjoy a game of flashlight tag, played by tagging players with beams of light.

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