Summer’s here and the kids are getting ready to stay home from school, which means you’re busy trying to figure out how to keep them entertained. Summer camp and daycare are a great way to keep your kids occupied for much of the summer, but for the rest of the time, take this opportunity to get closer with your kids by planning some fun summer activities. In our busy lives, it can be hard sometimes to remember to take stock of the important things, so let yourself slow down a bit this summer and use the time to catch up with your kids.
Plan Outings for Your Kids
There are probably lots of great things to do right in your own neighborhood that you and your kids have never taken the time to do. Plan “surprise” days for your kids where you plan a whole day of activities and they just have to go along for the ride! It’s a good way to get your kids out of the house
and trying new things without having to worry about complaints.
- ~Research interesting activities to do in your area that you’ve never done before like hiking areas, whale watching trips, interesting stores, farmers markets, etc.
- ~Choose some interesting places to have lunch or to stop and get ice cream or plan a picnic.
- ~Go somewhere your kids love for an all-day event like the zoo, the amusement park, the aquarium, or a baseball game. But try to stay away from things like movies that are not as participatory, unless you and your children really bond over talking about movies together.
- ~Host a party at home or at the park for your kids and some of their friends. Use the pool, get out the slip-n-slide or the sprinkler, make homemade popsicles, etc.
- ~Spread a blanket in the backyard at night to look at the stars. Show them how to find the constellations. Bring jars for catching lightning bugs.
- ~Find farms that let you come in to pick your own strawberries or flowers or just take a walk in the botanical gardens.
Play Games Together
There are lots of fun activities you can do with your kids to keep them entertained over the summer, and the best ones won’t cost you anything.
- ~Use sidewalk chalk, have a water balloon fight, play freeze tag, etc.
- ~Make tie-dye shirts and other DIY crafts that will allow them to get a little messy, but have something fun to keep out of it.
- ~Go roller skating, skateboarding, or for a bike ride.
- ~Learn how to do a new sport together like soccer, tennis, frisbee, or basketball. Invite some of their friends along to play.
- ~Play dress up! Get out some of your old clothes or go to the thrift store and buy some wacky new items to add to the dress up collection. You can also get some costume jewelry like fake pearl necklaces and clip ons for the little kids without pierced ears and maybe even some makeup. Get out the old Halloween costumes, too. Have the kids come up with stories and put on plays with the costumes and props.
Make it Educational
The months between the end of one school year and the start of the next can represent some academic slipping if you aren’t keeping your kids engaged. Find ways to keep them learning through the summer in ways that won’t feel like school:
- ~Sign up for a summer reading club. Many libraries and local book stores will host these during the summer. If you can’t find one, host your own! Take your kids to the bookstore or library and have them pick out a whole stack of books that they want to read. Read with your child regularly and talk to them about the books they are reading. You can even invite their friends to join the club, too.
- ~Teach them something they are interested in. If your child has expressed a lot of interest in one particular subject, plan fun outings and lessons throughout the summer to encourage them to learn more. Buy bug books and nets for the kid who loves biology and go out to the woods to collect specimens. Take the history whiz to a local historic site and take a tour. Get your kids involved in thinking up their own field trips.
The Summer as Bonding Time
Using your extra time over the summer to bond with your kids is a great way to strengthen your relationship and to have a great time while you do so. Make sure to do activities with all of your kids as well as some one-on-one activities, and include your spouse or other family members in the fun as well!