Posted on May 22 2019
As the school year draws to a close, we look forward to the most exciting time of the year...summer! However, it might not take long before "I'm bored" is heard echoing throughout your home. After a year full of structured school days, summer can feel like it will never end to some children. While the thought of a lazy afternoon with a book may sound like nirvana for adults, younger ones like to be active. Here are a few ideas to keep your kids busy and happy all summer long!
Kick off the summer with a planner that you and your children will complete together. Many school boards have their students use day planners throughout the academic year, and as a result, children are accustomed to this type of planning. Carry that over into the summer and fill the days with possible activities or ideas. Begin each day by looking at it and deciding if what you wrote at the start of the season is still a good idea or maybe you will want to replace it with something new.
If your child enjoys writing, give them a new blank journal on the last day of school. Having them pen new entries, and illustrations, throughout the summer months is an excellent activity they can continue when their academic year resumes. It provides a creative outlet for kids and will give them great memories in years to come.
Your family vacation is the high point of almost every summer break. Whether it is a week at a resort, cottage, campground or a couple of days away, get your children involved in searching for things to do while you're away. Let it be about them and give them some parameters to use when they are searching for activities. Whether you are traveling somewhere new or your annual destination, have them think like a tourist and look up points of interest or attractions. If your child thinks the planning sounds too much like school work, deliver the request differently. It is not research per se, but rather a treasure hunt for fun!
For a true treasure hunt, try letterboxing or geocaching. Letterboxing is an intriguing “treasure hunt” style outdoor activity. Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible places (like parks) and post clues to finding the box online. Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world. You can also look in your area for a newer trend of searching for painted rocks. Look on Facebook for local rock painting groups in your area.
Involve your children in everyday tasks. Start your morning with a trip to a local farmer's market to select items for dinner that evening or to dehydrate for snacks later. Choose a recipe or your child's favorite meal and buy fresh items for it. Spend the afternoon preparing it together. Have fun with the vacuum sealer, saving leftovers for when you don't have extra time to cook.
Be a tourist in your hometown. Look up attractions and other points of interest you may not have known existed. If there are enough, set aside one day each week to check them out these local spots.
Contact your museum, gallery, aquarium or recreation department and inquire if they run summer programs that may suit your child. Often these programs can be low cost and will provide a good amount of social interaction in addition to learning. Also check out free programs at your local library. They often have story time, crafts and other activities that your children will enjoy. And of course, the library has books, movies, music and sometimes games you can rent.
You can also find many things to do in your backyard. Design and plant a flower or vegetable garden. This can give your children a sense of pride to watch something grow as a result of their hard work. They can even save the extra vegetables in the freezer for later to prolong the sense of accomplishment for months and years. Do some backyard camping. It's great if you already have the equipment; if not, you can purchase small two-person tents at a low cost in most large department stores.
Schedule a series of easy hikes or short bike trips. Pick a destination. Pack a lunch or at least snacks and spend a morning, afternoon or entire day out exploring.
The sun won't shine every day, so go bowling. Check out kidsbowlfree.com to find free bowling vouchers.
Arrange themed play dates with your children and their friends. You can focus the day on taking an art class at a local gallery, cooking at home, going fishing, or seeing a new movie. Plan a few of these throughout the summer and where possible rotate the location from your house to the homes of your child's friends.
Other activities to consider: fly a kite, go to the beach or pool, make ice cream, have a water fight, play a board game, go on a picnic, build a fort, attempt Pinterest crafts, play charades, make greeting cards, go skating or compete in a summer fun run.
Summers are fleeting. Before you know it, the back-to-school sales will start airing. Make the most of each summer for your children by planning some of the activities listed here.