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Summertime Staples!: "Summer is synonymous with fun…and snacks!"

Summer is HERE! The kids are out of school, and we’re doing our usual “bucket list” planning of all the things we want to do over the next couple of months.

We are usually lucky enough to get to take a vacation, but most of our time is spent right here in Statesboro. Fortunately, there are tons of things we love to do here! And bonus: most of it is free or very affordable.

I asked my kiddos what’s on their list for this year, and here are some things they said.

Go swimming. “Just keep swimming” is practically their summer motto! We enjoy a friend’s pool but also plan to visit Splash in the Boro and the new Luetta Moore splash pad this year. The splash pad looks so cool! No pun intended.

Visit the GSU Wildlife Center. This one is a family favorite and super affordable! The animals and exhibits inside are interesting (they love the giant snake), and we always enjoy visiting the birds of prey outside. They even have live raptor shows some days! But I won’t lie; the kids’ favorite part is probably the shady playground!

Do Summer Reading at the library. The Statesboro library has so many fun and free activities for kids (and adults!). We love looking at all the books but also enjoy the computers, special event performers, and the LEGO wall! This summer, the reading program theme is Oceans of Possibilities, and the decorations are awesome.

•Visit the GSU Museum. If you haven’t been to the newly reopened GSU Museum, you should really check it out! The room with the mosasaurus has some fun, interactive exhibits for kids, and grown-ups will even be impressed with the millions-of-years-old fossils from right here in Bulloch County. The other permanent exhibit has lots of historical artifacts from our area, and there are scavenger hunt and field observation activities for kids to do, too.

•Have a picnic at Sweetheart Circle. We always love visiting Sweetheart Circle for its wide open spaces, awesome old trees, and picnic potential. I hear you can even have one of the Starship delivery robots bring you treats while you’re there…That’s definitely something we’re going to try this summer!

Get bubble tea. I’m not sure where my kids learned about bubble tea (probably YouTube!), but they are now obsessed with it. We have been to Emmy’s Bubble Tea Lounge, but I hear that Sum’Mo Tea has it, too! Really, the kids love making an afternoon drive to get any kind of treat. Some of our favorite local spots are Sonic, BoroSno, SmallCakes, and Bruster’s.

Go to the Farmer’s Market. We all love to visit the downtown farmer’s market in the summer! Their new location on South Main has plenty of shade for those days it’s already hot and humid by 9am, and our favorite thing to pick up in the summer is Ogeechee Peaches! They make the best cobbler and summer supper side dish. (And if you go early enough, you might just be able to grab some OatPop before it sells out!)

Play at new playgrounds. Our community is lucky enough to have some awesome new playgrounds to enjoy. They have plenty of shade, bathrooms (key), and parking. We recently went to Rev. W.D. Kent park for the first time, and it was perfect! The new Luetta Moore playground is next up on our list, and Mill Creek is always a favorite.

Explore at the GSU Botanic Gardens. We participated in the Children’s Garden program here during the spring, and it has become one of the kids’ favorite places. There is plenty of space to run and explore, and the plant life is so beautiful. They have fun activities for kids, like nature scavenger hunts, and the pavilion has water fountains and bathrooms.

Of course, if you know kids, then you know the one thing all of these summer plans require is snacks. Unless you want hot, grumpy kiddos, you better have some ice water and something to eat in your bag.

That’s where OatPop comes in clutch for us. I can throw a bag of cookies or bars into my tote with the kids’ water bottles and some hand wipes, and we are instantly ready to roll.

Since OatPop treats are all individually wrapped inside sturdy paper bags, nothing is going to spill out or make a mess. They’re perfect for taking along in your beach, pool, or mom/dad bag! And unlike when I try to pass off granola bars or yogurt-covered raisins as a “yummy” snack, no one complains about mom handing out OatPop…

We tried the chocolate peanut butter Chills on our most recent trip to the Botanic Gardens, and the kids gave them a “ten out of ten.” (Fun Fact: The gardens are located on a historic property that was once a farm – which grew peanuts, among other things! I made sure to tell the kids about that while they ate their cookies. Mom always finds an opportunity for learning a little something!)

They made for the perfect break to refuel so we could make it to lunchtime without any meltdowns. Mama included.

So if you’re local and looking for something fun to do while the kids are out of school, I hope this has given you a few new ideas. Cheers (and Choco PB Chills) to a great summer with all the kiddos in your life! Just don’t forget the snacks. :)

Whitney Lavoie

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