Swap. Set up a regular play date exchange with a friend: their place this Friday afternoon, your place the next. If you’re so inclined, bring a bottle of wine or other treat for the host when you pick up your kids. Especially if yours, like mine, are, er… “spirited.”
Be a tourist. Summer is a great time to explore your own backyard — the parks, museums and attractions you don’t normally get to. Schedule a weekly “field trip” to someplace within an hour’s ride or drive that you and/or your kids have never been before. (This includes exotic new malls and movie theaters if you’re craving air conditioning.)
Make them read. Almost every public library has some kind of summer reading program — even for the picture-book set. Check out what’s available near you, and designate some independent reading time every day. While the kids read, you can dive into your own summer reading. Note: The "50 Shades" trilogy is probably not advisable. (“What’s your book about, Mommy?”)
Let them be bored. Resist the urge to schedule every last minute. When my kids complain that they’re bored, I say, “Well, it’s OK to be bored.” And within five minutes, they usually come up with some amazingly creative game or activity on their own. Other times, they just lie on the couch like giant throw pillows for a while. Either way, you get a break and they survive. And it’s all about survival, right?