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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fun and (Mostly) Free Ideas for Summer Family Fun

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Fun and Mostly Free Ideas for Summer Family Fun
In the Rochester, NY area
By Elinor Hickey

Hit the Trails in Perinton

Hit the trails in Perinton and get rewarded: Hiking is a great escape anyway, but Perinton Wegmans is highlighting local trails as part of its Family Wellness initiative. Wegmans has positioned trail markers along many local trails in Perinton, and will give you treats for completing them. Pick up a passbook at the Perinton Wegmans near the service desk for each of your kids. The books list the trails, include a map of each route, and provides spots for trail rubbings. Complete 6 hikes (with your rubbings as proof) and you will get a free tee shirt and coupon for a free product from Wegmans. Complete 10 hikes and you'll receive a $5 Wegman's gift card. Note for those with little hikers: The maps show where the markers are located, and some are not deep down the trails (and good for little feet). More information is available in the passbooks.

Find a Treasure

Essentially, you get your children each a stamp, a notebook, and an ink pad. Then, using the magic of the Internet, you print out directions to finding letterboxes, which are tupperware boxes hidden in public spots that usually contain a guestbook and handmade stamp. When you find the box, the kids make a copy of their stamp in the guest book and make a copy of the hidden stamp in their own book. Then, everything from the box goes back to its original hiding place for others to find. Most letterboxes are relatively easy to find and as any treasure, part of the magic is not letting anyone else around see the discovery. There are boxes all over Fairport -- including 3 within a few steps away of the fish hatchery. To get started, review the directions at letterboxing.org Updated information on hidden boxes is at http://atlasquest.com. Letterboxes are hidden all over the United States, so you can even incorporate a search into your next vacation. We recently took 12-year-old cousins on a letterboxing expedition and their response was "This is cool, can we come again?"

Discover Someplace New

In the summer, I feel the need to get the kids out and away from the house, but then get in a rut (you can only visit Lollipop farm so many times!). That is, until I discovered the book 101 Places You Gotta See Before You're 12! by Joanne O'Sullivan. Think of this book as the perfect idea generator, as it lists all different types of places to go and explore - just to say you've been there. Along with all the great suggestions are lists of actual places and resources. My 7-year-old and I are working on a list right now of the types of places we'll try to see this summer (a lighthouse, an artist studio, a living museum, a landfill). Barnes and Noble on Monroe Ave carries some copies, and they're also available online. I've heard that another book by the same author, 101 Things You Gotta Do Before You're 12! is also great -- it's on our "to get list" and is available online.

See a Movie for Free

Regal Cinemas is continuing its tradition of offering free movies for children on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings throughout the summer. Usually, the theater features one free PG movie for the teens and a G movie for the younger ones. Get a copy of the Regal Cinemas Free Movie schedule here .

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