For many kids, summer is a time of swimming, games, staying up late, and pure fun. Whether your kids attend public or private schools or you home school like we do, check out these 10 fun activities to keep the kids learning throughout the summer. Best of all, they will think you are just finding more ways for them to play!
- Sunny Reading
Head outside to read with your kids, or even put up a tent in the yard and dive in with some good books. Supply kids with flashlights and glow sticks for bedtime stories with a twist outside. Night time reads around the campfire are even better for those spooky stories.
- Maze Craze
Create mazes and obstacle courses for young kids on the lawn with water noodles, “attacking” sprinklers, and summer toys, and then include a treasure hunt at the end. If available, have older kids try geo caching at a local park. Many community education departments are now offering classes in this field. If your child is in between these stages, supply him with a compass and see if he can follow your directions to the prize – maybe a new supply of water balloons (if you dare).
- Living History
Our kids are involved with living history projects which are usually in full swing in the summer. You can travel to historic sites, become re-enactors, or even tour guides. Our oldest volunteers with the local history center to provide a story-time held at a local historical home. Kids will keep busy, have a great time, and learn amazing things in the process (and shhhh – they won’t even know it!).
- Treats for All
Encourage your kids to cook and learn healthy eating habits this summer. Children can learn a lot from following recipes and preparing foods. Let them make enough for their neighborhood friends or have that lemonade stand and they might even be more eager to take on the challenge.
- Planting Ideas
Give them their own flower pot or garden box and let them decide what to add. My kids all helped make their own 4’x4’ garden boxes, filled them dirt, learned about wonderful fertilizers that are kid friendly (like egg shells), and each year plant new treasures. They have to provide the care, but they love to reap the rewards and share their garden gifts.
- For the Birds
Find some scrap wood the neighbor threw out or visit a local ReStore for supplies and help your kids build a birdhouse or feeder. There are some amazingly simple plans that even the carpentry challenged adults can master, or your child can use basic supplies like milk cartons and plastic bottles. They can monitor the birds and learn what about what type visits their creation, or if you don’t have a yard, donate it to a local animal preserve and do a little bird watching.
- Shutter Bugs
Let your kids use your camera or invest in an expensive, but durable digital one for them and head outside. The natural outdoor lighting makes taking great pictures easier for kids. Help them to load their favorites onto a family web site, print and frame for their bedroom, or have them create a Summer Fun scrapbook of these and other memorable moments. Years later you will both treasure seeing things from their young perspectives.
- Volunteering Vacation
It might seem like work to some, but volunteering is an amazing way for children to learn and give back at the same time. This summer find a way to volunteer each month with your kids. Weed an elderly neighbor’s flower bed, walk the dogs at the animal shelter, or help out at any of the wonderful causes that host races/walks to earn money for their organizations.
- Act Like a Tourist
Try to see your city or town in a new perspective – like a tourist. Get guides and maps from your local convention hall or city bureau and plan a real stay-cation. Explore with your kids right in your own city and learn about its history and local attractions.
- Water Works
Summer just wouldn’t be the same without splashing in some water. Experiment with these intriguing and easy water activities. You and the kids will be making boats and trying to sink them, floating oranges, and magically keeping colored water separate!