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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

The weekend’s quickly approaching, and as usual, the kids are bouncing with excitement. This time, though, they’re also giddy over the coming Labor Day — or perhaps Columbus Day, or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, depending on the time of year. Whatever the cause, you’ve got three or four days off instead of the usual two. So, got any fun and exciting plans for the long weekend?

If not, don’t fret! There are plenty of great opportunities at hand for everyone in the family to have a blast without blowing up your budget.

Check Out the Local Sights…

No travel plans? No problem! It’s still plenty of fun to play tourist, even in your home town. Many communities feature an event calendar, which you can check out either in person or online to find family friendly activities you’ve yet to try. Even something as simple as taking a stroll around the neighborhood, taking pictures and window-shopping along the way, can lend a whole new dimension to your stomping grounds. You never really know what your surroundings have to offer until you take a good, long look.

…Or Travel to Distant Lands

Whether there’s a particular spot you’ve always wanted to visit, or you just want to get away with no tangible destination in mind, now is the perfect time to seize that opportunity. No matter how far-flung your ideal landing spot is from the comforts of home, your dream vacation is within your grasp. Try browsing groupon for the today’s best travel package deals. Your family’s unforgettable weekend getaway could be just a click away.

Relax and Stay In…

It’s probably best not to spend every day of the weekend indoors, but you can have perfectly healthy fun by devoting an afternoon or evening to some relaxing family time. This can mean any number of fun activities, limited only by your imagination. How about a movie marathon and pajama party, complete with popcorn and fancy snacks, or a rousing series of board game sessions? It’s silly fun, but the memories are something you’ll cherish for life.

…Or Rough It and Camp Out

Chances are the wilderness is miles and miles away, but you’ll always be able to find your own nature adventure in your back yard. In fact, sometimes the best camping trips are the ones you take closest to home. Rustle up some sleeping bags, pitch a tent or two, and enjoy hot dogs and s’mores under the stars. Build a campfire (if your community allows it), sing songs, and tell ghost stories in the dark. For a true “roughing it” experience, pretend you’re deep in the rustic heart of the unspoiled wilds. That means no electronics, and no using the house (with the possible exception of the bathroom, of course)!

Long weekends are special for good reason — they don’t come around all that often. Don’t let the next one go by without planning to make the most of it. Seize the day, and join with your family to forge memories that will last a lifetime!

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want quality time with the kids on weekends.

Image courtesy of maynard by Nemo’s great uncle, via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.