Did school just get out and you’re already hearing the grumblings of how bored your kids are? If you or I had two plus months off, we’d jump head first into the list of all the fun things we want to do, but the littles don’t see it that way. Without the routine of school, kids aren’t sure what to do with their time and may have trouble keeping themselves busy. Web surfing and video games will only take them so far, plus it’s always good for them to try creative activities or get outside! We’ve put together a short list of things to keep the kids busy all summer long.
Weekly trips to the library
Local libraries are full of good stuff! They house books and other reading materials for all ages and provide a quiet place to get lost in browsing, reading or writing. Many libraries have reading programs for kids to keep them fresh during the “summer slide”. Many also host story time and developmental programs for toddlers. At the library, there’s something for everyone.
It’s always fun to tally the number of books or magazines kids read over the summer. Research has found that reading just six books during summer break will help readers who struggle retain their reading level before going back to school. Make a chart for them to write in the book title, number of days it took to read and any notes they want to add. Some kids enjoy reading aloud, so set a time each day to sit down and read together. This will keep their vocabulary fresh while having fun reading to you.
Into the great wide open
Get the kids outside! My mom used to tell us “take a hike” when we were in her hair during summer break and she definitely had a point. Kids need daily outdoor time to burn off energy and get in some exercise. A little vitamin D never hurt, either. Suggesting the kids take a walk, ride a bike or play in the yard are all great for little ones to blow off steam while getting in some fitness. Set up an obstacle course at home or a play date at the park — both will get the kids out of the house and moving.
Outdoor chores count here, too. Older kids can wash the car or mow the lawn, while younger kids can help pull weeds or water plants. Doing these as a family makes chores more like an activity rather than actual work. Grab your sunscreen, hats and gardening gloves and have a mini weed pulling session on a sunny afternoon. Betcha the kids will be tired after that!
Is your little one fascinated with insects and dirt? How about a bug hunt? Just make a list of bugs you’d see in your yard so the kids can check them off as they go. A magnifying glass and shovel are also helpful to find bugs that like to hide underground. Birds are fun to spot, too!
Beat the heat
Some days it might be too hot to be outdoors, so it’s nice to take shelter inside the house and take advantage of the air conditioning. Those days you’ll need an arsenal of indoor activities to keep the kids busy and having fun. DIY crafts are perfect for this! It’s good to keep a box of craft supplies on hand for the kids to create goodies. Ribbon, string, yarn, glue, construction paper, paints and paint brushes are great staples to always have on hand. You can always add in household items like cotton balls, Q-Tips, utensils and tape, too. And don’t forget to raid the recycle bin for cardboard, paper, plastic bottles and cans to round out your craft stash! Kids love making projects, so let them play and watch their imaginations run wild.
Coloring books, sketchbooks and notebooks are all perfect for some creative time, too. Some kids like to express themselves by writing, drawing and coloring. Throw in markers, pencils, crayons and/or a watercolor palette and say goodbye to boredom! And if it’s not too hot, set up an art station at the picnic table in the backyard. Make sure to throw an old blanket on the ground to catch spills and splatters from your exuberant little artists.
Puzzles and board games make great indoor activities, as well. Puzzles are good for memory and hand-eye coordination, too. Little ones will learn to understand the rules of a game while having a good time. I remember my brother and I playing with a deck of cards for hours at a time. Our favorites were Go Fish and Old Maid, but there are lots of good card games the kids can learn. When we got older, we’d play 21 and bet with beans. We used to play so often our mom gave us a container of pinto beans to use so we’d stay out of the pantry!
Need more ideas to keep the kiddos occupied this summer? Here are 101 more ideas. Hopefully your child will find at least one activity to keep them busy this summer!