The afterglow of the school year's end usually lasts a couple of weeks before kids utter the inevitable "I'm b-o-r-e-d!"
Many become so glued to their video games, computers and other electronic gadgetry that they spend their summer days indoors, pretty much sedentary.
Some boys in a north Modesto neighborhood, though, shatter that stereotype completely.
Sure, they're computer savvy and all what kid isn't these days? PCs and Macs are to most young boys today what playing army or cops and robbers represented in another time.
These boys, ages 8 to 13, are extremely creative. They use their imaginations to make their idle time much more energetic.
They created a game based on the hit movie "The Hunger Games," using harmless toys as weaponry. They also made up their own version of the up-the-dial cable show "Storage Wars."
In "The Hunger Games" books and movie, children were chosen to compete in what amounts to a battle to the death, for the entertainment of others. They begin the game by grabbing their weapon of choice from the "cornucopia" and then heading out into the forest in a survival-of-the-fittest contest, the lone survivor emerging as the victor.
Some made alliances with other competitors, surviving for the moment while knowing they later might have to turn on each other.
After playing dodge ball one day, brothers Jordan and Chris Heiny and neighborhood friend Hayden Inacio were at Hayden's house.
"I thought it would be neat to play 'The Hunger Games,' " Jordan said.
As they play it sans the blood, gore and Hollywood's special effects their game amounts to an inventive game of "tag," with attitude.
The boys decided they could mimic the basics of "The Hunger Games." Their weaponry? Nerf balls, whiffle balls, tennis balls. Along with water bottles, they put the ammo into bags and place them on Zachery Neep's front lawn. Then they go across the street, line up and when someone gives the signal, they bolt across to grab their bags.
A few bags will include an "autograph" a sheet of paper signed by moms Kim Neep or Kelley Heiny. Each paper denotes permission for the bearer to use a bicycle, scooter or Nerf archery set, giving them an advantage over the other competitors.
The point is to seek out and "kill" the others until only one remains as the victor.
"You get hit (by a ball or foam arrow), and you're out," Chris Heiny said.
As in the movie and books, they can form alliances at their own risk. Hayden said he learned this the hard way after aligning himself with another competitor in one game. Then they were approached by two others who wanted to align with them.
"They said they wanted to team up with us," Hayden said. "Then they killed us."
These games can last from 30 minutes to two hours. They've had as many as a dozen kids playing, and they often play two games in one day.
They limit their field of play to two parallel streets and, in theory, only the front yards of the families involved in the game.
"As you can see, it took us a while to make this up," Zachery Neep said. "It involves running around the block 15 times until you get tired."
Which their parents love because the boys get great physical exercise instead of sitting around the house all day.
"It's cool they're making up their own game," Kelley Heiny said. "They organize the games themselves. They learn that people lose, that they're not all winners. That's the way it is in life."
The best part, she said, is that the boys spend most of the day outside, playing together in a more-the- merrier game that excludes no one.
It certainly helps that they live in a quiet neighborhood with minimal street traffic, Kim Neep said.
"We're very blessed to live on this street, where they can play," she said. "It's not always easy to bring them to a park."
Nor is it easy to get them to stop even for water at times.
"I'll bring out lemonade," Kim Neep said.
When they aren't playing The Hunger Game, they play "Storage Wars." It's modeled after the TV show in which players bid on abandoned storage lockers, gambling on whether they can later profit by selling the goods these bins might contain.
Creating a game based on reality TV had its limitations. After all, the boys are too young for "Wife Swap," there are no alligators to wrestle a la "Gator Boys," they'd need a boat and an ocean for "Whale Wars" and they're not likely to pretend to be Kardashians under any circumstances.
So they opted for "Storage Wars."
"Hayden made it up," Zachery Neep said. "We get stuff from our closets that we don't want and sell it."
They put the items into pillow cases, then auction them among themselves.
"I got two Xbox games and a $30 bottle of cologne for $2," said Chris Heiny, marveling at his good fortune.
Bored? This summer?
Not these kids.
Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @jeffjardine57 on Twitter or at (209) 578-2383.