Top 10 Ways to Give Your Kids an '80s Summer at My Grandma's House

There have been a lot of posts lately about how summers were simpler back in the day, how parents used to let their kids run free from dawn until dusk when everybody met back at the house for dinner in front of the TV. Now we're expected to act as camp counselors as well as chauffeurs and art teachers and regular teachers and gourmet chefs.

I will never be that fancy mom. I accept that about myself. If other moms want to Pinterest this and Etsy that, godspeed. Go for it. I'm more from the "You sit here and watch Mommy play Skylanders" camp or the "Here's a box of Legos; build something" brigade. That's why I'm glad to see people admitting that they'd like to go back to the days of laissez faire, Lord of the Flies-style parenting. It assuages some of the guilt that I'm not providing my kids with a laminated itinerary every morning of summer vacation.

When my brother and I were kids, both of our parents worked full-time. We spent most of those days under the watchful eye of my aunt, who had three kids of her own. There was a lot of hanging out on the block and running through sprinklers and being forced to go to day camp at the park and then running away from said day camp at the park.

When my aunt wasn't available, my parents sent us across the street to our grandparents' house. My grandma and grandpa were not the new-style, hip, I'm-still-young-enough-to-do-all-that-stuff kind of grandparents. They were older. They had raised six kids. They were the kind of grandparents who held court on their special TV room chairs and were not really concerned about our level of boredom or lack thereof. But the funny thing is, I don't remember being bored at Grandma and Grandpa's. No, they did not take us on nature walks or spend exorbitant amounts of money or effort to keep us entertained. They used a much simpler tactic. They were simply there for us, spending time with us, talking with us and listening to us. And I remember those times as well and as fondly as I'd remember any lavish trips or or huge gifts.

If you'd like to give your kids an '80s summer at my grandma's house, here are ten simple ideas.

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