15 Photos That Show How Summer Vacation in the U.S. Has Changed

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Think back to your favorite summer vacation memories, and it’s possible they involve activities you would never catch a kid doing in 2019.

Playing video games at an arcade for six hours with all your friends? More like sitting inside playing the newest PlayStation game. Playing in your favorite playground? Kids these days are getting too bored to even go near a jungle gym.

Here’s how much summer vacation has changed over the past 100 years.

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In the early 1900s, the school used to be centered around crops, and summer wasn’t a vacation — it was a time for hard work.

The establishment of child labor laws might have had something to do with school schedules changing, but even so, kids would drop out of the school year early to help their parents work their land.

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Bathing suits used to be a little more elaborate.

Bathing suits have come a long way over the past century.

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Kids didn’t need any fancy technology — a stick and a hoop used to be more than enough to keep everyone entertained.

Officially, this was called hoop rolling or hoop trundling. It’s been around since the 1600s and lives on today in a different fashion: the hula hoop.

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Stickball was the sport of choice, especially when there was no grass to be found.

Stickball has been around since the 1800s and is still played today, but many parents are wary of the potential dangers of playing a sport in the middle of the street.

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Who doesn’t remember sliding down a burning hot metal slide in the dog days of summer?

Playgrounds used to play fast and loose with kid’s safety (think those metal slides), which was sort of half the fun anyway. All your best stories came from scars earned during your playground days.

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Over time, metal was replaced by wood and wood chips, which still wasn’t great. Remember all the splinters?

That’s pretty much the only downside of them, though.

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Kids used to have to meet up with each other just by biking around the neighborhood and seeing who was available.

It’s rare now to see a pack of young kids biking around without a chaperone.

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Pool floats were a lot simpler.

In general, most things were simpler. There were no Instagram followers to show off for.

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Arcades eventually became the entertainment of choice, with games like “Pac-Man” and “Asteroids” taking over.

Arcades are something of a dying institution in 2019 – you can play all your favorite video games in the comfort of your own home. The only arcades left are the big chains like Dave and Buster’s.

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Sometimes, all you needed for a fun time was a tarp, soap, and a hose — voila! A makeshift slip-and-slide.

Never mind that sticks, rocks, and anything else on the ground could rip the tarp and cut up your arms and legs. That was part of the fun. And it didn’t matter if there was nothing to stop your momentum – sliding into your friends and knocking them over was the whole point.

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And ideal summer jobs were lifeguarding or being a camp counselor.

According to Business Insider, the number of teens who spend their summers working is much lower than it was decades ago.

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Now, bathing suits look a little different.

Vintage-style bathing suits are coming back, though, like the ’80s-era high cut one-piece or belted bathing suits of the ’70s.

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Virtual reality games mean kids don’t even have to go outside to get the summer experience.

But, if “Black Mirror” is to be believed, we all might do with taking a breather from virtual reality and actually concentrating on real life and real relationships.

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Playgrounds are so safe they’ve become kind of boring, and some kids have forsaken them altogether.

A study conducted in 2012 published by Pediatrics found that kids aren’t using playgrounds anymore because they’re not stimulated enough.

The Atlantic reported that lead researcher Kristen Copeland found that “some participants said that overly strict safety standards made much of the climbing equipment uninteresting, thus reducing children’s physical activity.”

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Kids meet up via text, and even when they’re together, they barely speak.

It’s not the same making plans in a group chat – it takes all the fun out of being surprised by your friends biking up unannounced to your house.

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