10 Old-School Things That Make Summer SUMMER!


The summer fashion trends seem to be leaning toward the '90s (ugh, clogs), which means I'm constantly reminiscing about my summers growing up. It's nice to remember not having to worry about money or my future. In fact, the only thing I worried about was that dreaded day when school started again. (See also: 50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun)

Summer when I was young was easy, carefree, and most importantly, FUN. Below are some of the frugal, old-school things I miss about summer, which I hope to enjoy again in these next few remaining months before fall arrives again.

1. Sprinklers

Considering the temperature and the (most likely) dying grass outside, there are probably lots of sprinklers in your neighborhood. And outside businesses. And in parks. Head outside and get wet. Or maybe you can find out from your local government how to open up fire hydrant for some relief. Bathing suit not required, but don't prance around in your birthday suit like your parents might have let you do when you were five. That's a little thing called "illegal."

2. Swing Sets

Um, hello! Playgrounds are the best thing ever (SLIDES!), but swing sets really take the cake. Competing with your best friend to see who can go the highest? Trying to swing AROUND the pole? Jumping off and doing a somersault? These are the things that I miss most. I still love swinging, and it actually is a great workout for your legs (sorry to bring it back to adulthood worries).

3. Popsicles

When it's blazing outside and your water has already turned too hot to drink, a cool, refreshing popsicle is just the ticket. And luckily, popsicles have become popular among the "hip" crowd, so you can generally find them at festivals, food truck circles, and markets for cheap, or just make them yourself.

4. Jump Rope

Jumping rope (jump roping?) really is the best workout ever (again, I apologize for reminding you that you're still an adult). Also, it is super fun to attempt to do the same tricks you did when you were only half your current size. Definitely buy a cloth jump rope for this one, and make sure it's your size!

5. Bikes

Boom, easy. Bikes are good for the environment, they're cheap (as long as they don't get stolen), and they'll give you amazing calf muscles. I unfortunately am unable to ride a bike (I had to ride with training wheels until the 3rd grade, and although I miraculously managed to forgo them eventually, I have since then lost my balance again), but I applaud and support those who can, specifically by minding the road. Most cities have developed a bike share program too, so riding a bike has never been easier.

6. Hula Hoops

I've always had a hula hoop, but I was never able to do it correctly. When I lived in New York, I took a "lesson" from a guy in Central Park. (Track him down! He's cheap and taught me well!) From then on, I was hooked. I currently have a hula hoop in the backseat of my car that makes everyone ask me if I'm a hippie and go to shows that involve glow sticks. No, I don't, but I do like going to the park and pretending I'm a kid again.

7. Backyard Camping

When we were little, my parents let my brother and me camp in the backyard because we both desperately wanted to go out into the wilderness, but we were too young. Camping in the backyard might be the best thing in the world, because you feel invincible away from your parents while simultaneously being able to use an indoor toilet. It's funny to me now that they let us do it, simply because we lived in the country and there were coyotes that roamed around in our yard, but I'm so glad they let us because it prepared me for many camping trips in the future. (That isn't true; I don't camp.)

8. Summer Camp Revisited

Speaking of camping, how about CAMP? Don't you miss camp?! Counselors waking you up at the crack of dawn, jumping into a lake from a tire, arts and crafts all day...those were the good ole days. And although it'd be near impossible to do a camp for grownups, shirking all responsibility, it's possible to get close. Rent a cabin with friends, think of some fun crafts, and relive your childhood.

9. Backyard Games

Instead of just having a grill out or backyard party, why not involve some old school games? Red rover, badminton, kickball, and Frisbee can all be easily played and still be fun (especially if drinking is involved). Plus it's a fun and cheap way to hang with friends. If you don't have a backyard, head to the park. Maybe you can find some swings, too!

10. Boomboxes

What happened to the '80s, where you could carry around your music on your shoulder and loudly display your right to party? I say, revive it. I'm not one to listen to other people's music on public transportation, but at the beach? Sure. Why not? While you might not still don roller skates and a high-waisted bikini, you can still play your tunes loudly and proudly.

What are some old school summer-time things you miss?

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Guest's picture

I miss playing in the creek. That was free and we spent hours there.

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