If you want to give you some activities to keep your kids busy this summer, here are some ideas that can help. As summer is fast approaching and kids would be sitting idly at home, simply watching TV or playing video games. But, too much of TV and video games will make them couch potatoes. Instead of letting them see the unreal and virtual world, show them real world. Encourage them to explore the outside world, of course within limits.
As parents, we can be sure that most kids would love to do things beyond TV and video games. They’d love to explore, to play games good old fashion way, ride bikes, do some creative things, crafts, learning new things, etc. You need to find out what your kids like and encourage them accordingly. Make their summer vacation interesting. This sounds more like a summer camp, but we’re not referring to those expensive summer camps. Instead, you can make your own summer camp.
There is another reason why you need to encourage your kids to take up summer activities. In the coming academic year, one of the first things that their teachers ask is writing an essay about their experience during summer vacation.
Activities to keep your kids busy this summer
Here are some of the activities to keep your kids busy this summer
Encourage them to read: Most kids love to read. Make sure that you supply them with suitable literature for their age. Reading can be one of the best things that can happen to your child. Reading from an early age improves their language, imagination and moreover knowledge. A piece of advice: Kids love fantasy, adventure and cool superhero stuff more than anything else.
Encourage them to write: Ask your kids to write an essay about their recent holiday experiences or about something that they like. Kids would generally want to share their imaginations, experiences and some kids might be shy to express them verbally. So, writing can be a better option. While this is activity is fun, it can also develop your kids’ writing skills, that’ll eventually come in handy for them in the coming years.
Creating a comic: This idea is an extension of the previous point about writing. Most kids whether they are nerdy, geeky or otherwise, love to read and sometimes impersonate comics and superheroes. Ask them to create a comic character that does not resemble any of their favorite characters. Also, ask them name the character and if possible, give him or her some special powers.
Indoor games: Although, some people think that indoor board games are a thing of the past, it’s not true. In fact, nowadays, board games are better in comparison to video games. Some research studies suggest that kids who play more action packed video games can make kids and teenagers more violent and aggressive than kids playing less video games. In comparison, with board games, kids tend to develop strategy.
Lego blocks and toys: Lego blocks and toys have been entertaining kids for some decades now. Don’t let your kid miss that fun. Buy them these blocks and they’ll easily understand what to do with them. Just wait for a couple of days and they’ll end up building some very good Lego structures that you could think of.
Playing dough or Silly Putty: Playing dough or Silly Putty can be another good to keep your kids busy. Kids can play with Playing dough or Silly Putty for a very long time without getting tired. You can encourage them to make simple sculptures with the dough. And it can be so much fun.
Handmade toys: You can encourage your kids to make handmade or homemade toys. It would be a great learning experience for them in terms of crafts and handmade toys. As an example, you could show them few things like how to make a car with cardboard and ask your kids to try it. You could also try making simple puppets. If you think your kid has flair in acting, expose him to the art of puppetry.
Crafts: Handmade crafts is a very good idea for kids to have fun. There are so many things to craft such as simple toys, decorative pieces, miniaturizing things, making pendants, beaded pendants, paper flowers, necklaces, indoor garden, conch sculptures, paper windmill and many more.
Miniaturizing things: An extension of the above idea, you can introduce your kid to miniaturizing the things around him or her. Not as in “Honey, I shrunk the kids” but in a simple manner. Few cardboard sheets, a scissors, a glue bottle, pencil and scale to mark up things and your kids know what to do. You could start by making a cardboard spaceship and your kids will do the rest.
Paint your imagination: Another great way of keeping your kids busy is drawing. Drawing is one of the finest of arts and it improves with regular practice. Let your kids draw whatever they like or ask them to draw some of their favorite cartoon characters. If interested, they’ll spend hours together trying to make the best possible drawing.
Making Bubbles: Bubble making is a very good way to pass time during summer mornings and afternoons. Just give them the solution and no sooner than you realize they would be competing for the title of biggest bubble ever.
Music and Musical chairs: If you have 2 or more kids and if you have their cousins visiting, then the best thing you could do is to arrange a musical chair competition. Musical chairs can be fun, as kids today are hardly going out of the house. Engage in more and more physical activities. It’s for their own good.
Dumb Charades: This is another great way of having fun with many kids around. Playing this game, kids will know how to use gestures for words, grasping those gestures and making the content. This improves the imagination as well as puzzle solving skills of your child.
Daily chores and room cleanup: Teach and encourage your children to do daily chores and room cleanup. When your kids start helping with household chores and if they cleanup their room, more than half of your daily work would be reduced and you would have time to spare. You can easily 2-4 hours of time. Also, your kids will learn about things like responsibility, work sharing and benefits of good old physical labor.
Science project: If your kids are enthusiastic about science, then perhaps think of simple science projects that your kids can do at home. Also, by arranging few things, you can explain them science in a practical manner. Just have a look at their science texts and we’re sure you’ll find lot of experiments that you could demonstrate at home.
Bike wash: Most of the kids have their own bikes. Why not tell them to wash it once a week during summer vacation. Washing bike can be fun as kids love playing with water.
Charity: The saying, “Charity begins at home” is true to the core. Encourage your kids to donate their old toys or clothes to less fortunate kids. You can make this a community or a neighborhood activity by asking your neighbors and their kids to support. Let kids learn and experience the joy of giving.
Spending time with children at hospital: For a change, you can take your kids to the nearest children’s hospital. Your kids can spend some time with sick and/ or terminally ill children. It would be very good if kids from your neighborhood went along.
Making greetings: This is another very good way of not only keeping your kids busy, but making something very satisfactory out of it. Ask your kids to prepare greetings for soldiers and ill people at a hospital. A greeting from kids can be very much refreshing for both sick people and soldiers.
Neighborhood Talent Show: Make an announcement in your neighborhood about a talent show for kids. This can be so much fun as all kids from within your neighborhood would show up and seize the opportunity of showcasing their talents. A wonderful time for kids not only to hang out with their buddies, but also to discover their hidden talents.
Genealogy: This is another great way of explaining kids about your great grandfather and your lineage. Take the help of old family documents, if any. You can visit your local library if you’re sure of finding something about your lineage.
Lemonade: Lemonade sale is also a great idea. Encourage your kids to sell lemonade. By selling lemonade, your kids will learn about money and its worth. It can teach basics about how to run a business. You could be looking at a future entrepreneur.
Moving lawn: If your kids are in their early teens you can encourage to move your lawn. Advice them to offer their services in the neighborhood. In this way, even teenagers will learn about earning their own pocket money.
Jewelry and accessories: Making homemade jewelry and accessories can also be another great idea for keeping your kids busy, especially girls. What interests girls more than jewelry and accessories more than anything else.
Live Angry Birds: We all know how much kids love Angry Birds. Encourage your kids to make real Angry Birds game by using a simple catapult, paper balls as Birds and Piggies and Cardboard boxes as Piggy Castles. The game itself can be so much fun for kids. Better, video shoot and upload on YouTube and note the response.
Ice cream making: This is another great way to keep your kids busy. Teach them how to make an ice cream. Show them the basics of ice cream making and ask them to prepare ice creams with their favorite flavors. The actual of making ice cream, filling it and putting it in freezer and then the seemingly infinite time spending in front of the freezer, opening the freezer time and again. After a long wait, finally the ice cream sets in.
Photography: Taking pictures can be so much fun. Give your kids a camera that doesn’t cost much and let your kids take pictures of themselves, each other and the things around your home. After they’ve taken about a dozen or two, check whether they’re good enough to be printed. Print them if they’re good and give it your kids to decorate in their rooms. But, keep an eye on them or ask an elder kid to watch them over while they’re taking pictures around your home.
Treasure hunt: We’re not talking about the classic treasure hunting. But, a treasure hunting adventure at home. Before hand, hide few souvenirs in your house at different places. Of course, make sure your kids don’t know a thing about it. And tell your kids about a treasure hunting idea. Ask them to search at different places in your home and find those pieces of treasure. If you’re worried about home being ransacked by your kids, plant these souvenirs outside of your home, in the garden. Ask your kids to be careful with plantation pots in the garden.
Pools and beaches: If possible, take your kids to a vacation to the nearest, clean and safe beach. Playing on the beach sand, your kids will have so much fun and they’ll be occupied for hours together. Not to mention, even parents can have fun times of their own. This can be great, if you plan this vacation with your one of your close friends, colleagues or a very close neighbor. If two families with kids can come together, the fun can be doubled. Also, keep this in mind that it can mean double trouble.
Fishing trip: For a change, take your kids to a fishing trip. If your kids are interested in going along with you, you could buy a couple of cheap fishing rods for kids. For first timers and kids, simple fishing rod with no complications would be enough. While fishing, do tell them stories or encourage them to sing as kids easily get bored waiting for a fish to catch the bait.
Soccer or baseball practice: If your kids are interested in sports, you could take your kids to nearby soccer practice or baseball practice, if possible. Playing for few hours a day can be fun and they would be easily exhausted and can go to bed at the right time.
Watch a movie with kids: Watch an afternoon movie with your kids, at least once in a while. You could watch the movie, if you can or let the kids watch the movie and the parents can spend some quality time together.
Make your own photo album: If you have some old or recent pictures of your kids, which you haven’t put them in an album, well, this is the best time. Ask your kids to make a good photo album. Help your kids while they’re making the album. After the album is done, sticking the photos in the album can also be very fun.
Visit a library or a museum: It’s doesn’t sound like much of a fun, but you can also try museum or a library. Kids would also like to know more about history. Your kids can be eager to listen to legendary tales about some of the greatest people in the past. They’ll be eager to know about how people lived hundreds or even thousands of years ago. When you take to a library, teach them to maintain silence before hand and straightaway take them to the kids section. Thus, you can avoid any embarrassments. If possible, check whether there are special libraries for kids.
Gardening: Gardening can be another way of having fun with your kids. You can teach your kids about the importance of gardening and how it helps, how plants are good for the environment, how to plant them and how to take care of them, etc. Kids tend to remember all the good things that have been told to them from a very young age. And as they grow older, they develop a deep respect for the environment around them. And gardening can be starting point for that. Apart from gardening, you can take your kids out to a nearby farm and show them how farming is done and where do we get our food.
Miniature garden: Mini garden is a cute idea. All it requires is a large empty cool drink bottle, soil and few seeds of herbs. Make a small hole directly above the soil for watering and keep it at the window where there is sunlight. Within in few days, the seeds will germinate and small plants start growing.
Bonsai plants: Another tip for gardening enthusiasts out there. Have your kids grow bonsai or miniature trees. Another great way to teach basic gardening skills to your kids. Kids would love to see a bonsai tree because they’ll love the idea of miniature tree.
Making and flying kites: If you happen to live open spaces, then flying kites can be a very good pastime. You can make kites of your own with little effort and fly them for your kids. If your kids are old enough, show them how to make kites and they’ll make them on their own.
Origami: Origami is a traditional form of paper craft from Japan. Origami is famous for making faces, animal shapes, flowers and other structures from paper. A great form of artwork that your kids can learn. There are books available on Origami for kids and advanced Origami.
Pet care: If you have pets at home, ask your kids to take the pet out for a walk, feed it from time to time and the most important thing, washing your pet is more important. Show them your kids, how to wash your pet, if it is washable at all and encourage them to wash it at least once a week and groom it. This can be very exciting for kids as they’ll be as creative as possible in decorating their favorite pet after the wash.
Good time to prepare for the coming year: Parents should understand that summer vacation is not just a time to play around wild and free for kids. Every day certain amount of time must be allotted to study as well, because most children tend to forget subjects after the examinations have been conducted. This can create problems in the coming academic year. So, at least 1 hour per day must be allocated to brush up their academic skills. This could either be studying the previous year’s subjects or the subjects in the coming year. Subjects like mathematics and science, if they are practiced regularly even during holidays would be very helpful for your kids. They’ll be ahead of their peers.
Exercise: Yes, you’ve heard it right. Summer is not just a time for having fun and being lazy sitting at home. It’s also important to be fit. Encourage your kids to get up early in the morning and exercise. Exercise is also important for parents as well. Exercise along with your kids.
Hopscotch: Hopscotch is a simple outdoor game for kids. It’s an easy to play game that can be played almost anywhere, alone or in a group. Girls, especially love this game for its simplicity.
Learning a foreign language: If you’re kids are enthusiastic and fascinated towards any foreign language, this is the best time to begin. Foreign languages like French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean or any other language can be an option. Learning a foreign language can be very beneficial as it would save the burden of learning a new language in the future, if the need be. Today, we are global citizens and knowledge of a foreign language opens new avenues in career.
Table Football: A simple Table Football can be a great option if you have boys at home. The dad can show some tricks of the business and we’re sure, your kids would be addicted to table football all through the summer and will spend many hours trying to beat each other out.
Cooking with kids: If you think that your kids are old enough to know that fire and kitchen knives should be handled with respect and care, you can introduce them to cooking. Cooking is a great way to pass time and be very satisfied at the end of the day. Also by introducing cooking to kids, you can make sure that your kids can have healthy homemade food rather than unhealthy fast foods.
Cosplay: Cosplay or costume play has become a popular urban tradition in Japan. A group of kids come together and dress up like their favorite characters from an anime. On the same lines, your kids can dress up like their favorite characters from one cartoon show or movie or novel. Harry potter, DC characters and Marvel characters can be some of the options. Cartoon costumes can cost you dearly, so go with cheaper options as it would only be a onetime affair.
Cardboard castle: Without a cardboard castle, summer vacation seems incomplete, both for kids and parents alike. If you happen to have cardboard boxes, do not throw them away as your kids would love to make a castle with them. Building castles and waging wars is what it means summer vacation for many kids. You can lend a helping hand in building that castle and it can be so much fun.
Dressing up: Let your kids dress up in their favorite clothes more often during summer vacation. You don’t have to tell this to girls as they would be spending much time in front of the mirror dressing up and putting on their mom’s make up, if necessary.
Neighborhood coming together: If you happen to live in a suburban area where there is more and more concentration of families with kids of same age group, you could organize a meeting and discuss about the kinds of activities that the kids in the neighborhood can take up by coming together. A neighborhood coming together can be a great idea.
And so, the list can stretch to the moon and back. As a parent, if you’re creative enough to spot an activity that your kids can do this summer, then don’t hesitate, give it a try. We’re sure that your kids might love it. If not, immediately, but eventually.
And kids, be safe. Do not play with objects that can hurt others and most importantly do not quarrel with anyone. Have a great time and an awesome summer vacation this year.