Summer break is approaching fast; almost three months of magnificent sunshine! This is pure bliss if you are a child off from the hectic school schedule. This time of year brings back many fond memories for many of us ─ reminiscence from our childhood. So, now it’s time to make some loving memories with your children. But, how do we go about finding fun activities to keep our children productive during the summer break? This is even truer today, especially, with children being glued to their screens.
The key is to keep kids motivated in an educational, but fun way. Primarily, this means finding kid-friendly activities that are fun for the entire family, as well. To help, we’ve put together a list of family and kid activities that will keep the kids busy and provide many fond memories to look back upon.
10 Tips & Tricks
1. Family Gardening
This year, get the entire family evolved in the garden. There’s something about planting a seed, watering it and watching it grow to maturity. Then, reaping in the rewards ─ fresh produce. The feeling of, “I grew this” is something every child should experience and take with them into adulthood.
Furthermore, gardening is a great source of exercise. From shoveling to squatting to weeding, the entire family will get a workout. And, teaching your kids how to grow their own food and the importance of eating organic is a vital, productive summer lesson.
2. Taking Care of the Pets
Summer is the perfect opportunity for the children to step up and take care of the family pets. From dog walking to training to cleaning up after them, children will learn an important responsibility.
Moreover, walking the dog is great exercise. In fact, the entire family can get involved. Plan family outings with the family dog and go on a hike. Remember to include the children by asking them to be a part of the planning. For instance, ask the kids where they’d like to visit and ask them to help pack the lunch. Summer break is the perfect time to get a new puppy or other pet. And, again, it will teach kids the important responsibility of raising and taking care of another being.
Volunteering is not just for adults. In fact, even volunteering several times over the summer break will teach your kids a positive lesson and give them a feeling of accomplishment by helping out the community. There is always a need for volunteers at local parks, State Parks, City Parks, Senior Homes, animal shelters, soup kitchens and general trash clean up. There are even fundraiser walks and runs to help raise funds for a local cause.
If you need help finding a local volunteer group or event, go to volunteermatch.org. Simply search with your zip code and add filters for kids or teens to find kid-friendly opportunities.
4. Craft Day
Set a weekly craft day that the entire family can participate in. Let the kids help schedule the crafts and add them to a summer calendar. Have a set time to assemble all the items needed for your weekly craft day, as well.
Crafting is important because it brings out the creative side of your children. You could buy t shirts in bulk for tie dye projects, collect rocks and paint them, or make homemade scarecrows for the garden, lawn décor and much more! Look online for hundreds of family-fun craft ideas.
5. Go Swimming
Today, so much time is spent indoors, staring at screens. To get your kids out of the house and doing some exercise, plan fun events that kids enjoy doing. What kid doesn’t love to go swimming?
You don’t even have to join the local pool or have a pool of your own. Many parks with lakes have beaches which are free or low cost to use. Or, if you live by the ocean, head to the local beach. Plan a day and take a picnic lunch along, as well.
6. Family Dinners
Plan family dinners that the entire family participates in from selecting the ingredients to cooking the food. This teaches kids an important life skill, cooking. Moreover, teach your children how to select organic ingredients and why they should be eating healthy foods. If you have a garden, go out and pick fresh produce. This goes together with teaching children how to grow their own food and then to prepare it. Plus, you won’t miss out on that important family time.
7. Visit Museums and Zoos
Museums and zoos offer a great deal of family fun and learning. Plan to head out to a local museum, zoo, aviary or even conservatory once a month to experience all that nature has to offer.
8. Reading Program
Have your children join a weekly reading program at your local library or bookstore. Or, if this isn’t possible, create your own book club. If it’s going to be a family book club, have your children compose a list of books that interest them. Then, have the entire family read the same book. Have weekly discussions about the characters and plot of the book. Keep it fun, or you might take the risk of your kids thinking of it as a chore. Maybe offer weekly prizes for everyone and a special prize for the one who finished the book first.
9. Outdoor Games
Schedule weekly outdoor games. Invite the entire family and even your friends. This is a great source of exercise and mental, hand and eye coordination. Plan games, such as capture the flag, soccer, volleyball, tag or even have a Four Square tournament.
10. Go Geocaching
Geocaching is a real worldwide treasure hunt which involves finding caches with GPS coordinates. You can even hide your own geocaches and set it up on Geocaching.com to allow other cachers to find your treasure chest!
What’s great about Geocaching is that the entire family can get involved in the hunt. Plan a day of it by looking at the geocaching map and selecting a nearby park that contains several hidden caches. It’s great exercise, as well!
Even though it’s summer, it’s not the time to be lazy! Stay productive and keep your children active, as well. There are many more activities you can plan to keep your family busy. Look online for hundreds of ideas. However, remember that keeping busy isn’t the important part! Learning, family time and making those lasting memories are what is most important.
Words by Jordan Smith