So I never think it’s as hard to entertain the kids in the summertime, but if you live in the Southern states, it can be as daunting as winter up North if it’s a hot one. As a kid, we did everything we wanted to do outside by 11am, because from then until 3pm it was hot, hot, hot.
Here are 10 ideas to keep the kids busy in the summertime.
- Butcher paper. Rolls of butcher paper can provide endless fun. Color a backdrop for a puppet show. Make an outline of yourself. Draw a hopscotch board. Everything is more fun when it’s BIG.
- Service projects. Even little kids can help give back to the community. Is there a food pantry, animal shelter, or other charity that needs help? Find out what your kids can do and plan to go once a week.
- Sensory bin. This is a great activity if you have small kids up through elementary age, and there are many different ways to attack making a sensory bin, from sand to cotton balls.
Put a sheet down on the floor to keep the mess contained and watch them go at it.
- Hall Catch. A favorite game this winter consisted of closing all the doors in a hallway and throwing a light playground ball (the kind you get at the grocery store) from one end to the other. Think of it like squash for preschoolers. The ball was light enough not to leave marks, and the walls helped the kids keep it contained.
- Giant Scrabble. Sure, your kids need to be able to read for this to work, but it’s super fun and easy to make. Get some card stock and masking tape and make yourself some letter tiles. The size will depend on whether this is an indoor or outdoor game.
- Rock painting/drawing. I know my kids collect rocks all year long, so take some time to make them pretty! Any age can participate, and the finished rocks can be marked with ages and names and used as a fun centerpiece. You can also seal them with waterproof sealer later and use as pretty garden décor.
- Make birdfeeders. I know I love seeing all the birds outside, and this craft can bonus as a science lesson as you identify all your native birds. Use cookie cutters to shape the bird feeder and gelatin to hold it together. If you have older kids, let them help the littles and then they can help The Cornell Lab by tracking the birds you see.
- Fun with pool noodles. From sword fights to racetracks to wickets for croquet to obstacle courses, stock up on some cheap pool noodles for endless fun.
- Popsicle stick puzzles are fun for even the smallest kids! Bigger kids can help make them with photos, pictures from magazines, or drawings.
- DIY Bath paint. I know many times when I am out of ideas, the bath is a good go-to. This bath paint is easy to make and all you have to do is add paintbrushes or fun-shaped sponges!
Part of my summer strategy is having somewhat of a schedule. This means planning 2-3 activities a week that we have to look forward to, like a museum or library that we visit regularly. I don’t want to overschedule everyone because planning your own downtime and coming up with things to do is great for kids. It may take a little willpower on your part not to answer the call of, “I’m bored!” but it’s actually good for their brains!
Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three who is just getting used to the call of “I’m bored!” from her oldest. Her favorite response is “Figure it out!”