As if most children weren’t already exceeding screen time limits, online school also has drawn them away from many activities they need to be part of to thrive. These include unstructured recreational time, sports, and in-person, face-to-face conversations with peers.
But there is hope to pump some life back into your son or daughter while simultaneously maintaining learning over the summer. Quality time of this sort doesn’t have to be burdensome to plan or expensive—quite the opposite actually. Many options are cost-effective and low maintenance. Here are 6 summer activities for kids to do with your family in the next 90 days.
1. Host an outdoor scavenger hunt.
Scavenger hunts encourage movement and exercise. Get creative (and even a little dirty) as you venture out and about. I have led several groups of preschoolers on scavenger hunts. On one particular hunt, instead of just choosing any old leaf, I specifically chose one from a maple or oak tree. The kids’ job was to find another that matched mine. This promoted both science and developmental brain activity.
2. Read (and discuss) books together.
Dr. Ronald Ferguson of the Achievement Gap Institute at Harvard University recommends parents not just read with their children, but discuss the stories as well. Have a conversation with your child as you work through the pages. Ask them what they think will happen next. Want to take it a step further? Read the same book your child is reading and then both do a small book report. This develops reading and writing skills as well as comprehension.
3. Build or paint something.
Pull some raw materials out of your garage or find items in the woods. Build a bike ramp or a fort. You can find tons of kits in stores or online and build anything from a birdhouse to an LED racecar! Including your children in everyday activities prepares them for adulthood by teaching them how to communicate effectively and the importance of teamwork. It enhances gross and fine motor skills. Math, logic, and spatial intelligence are put to good use as well.
4. Host your own version of the Summer Olympics.
First, have your kids create their own countries and their own flags. Then think of how many different events you could replicate or modify here! Consider classics like the track and field events or traditional sports such as badminton, volleyball, swimming, or biking. You could switch diving to a cannonball contest—the biggest splash wins! Maybe combine winter and summer sports together by “bobsledding” on cardboard down a grassy hill. It all promotes good exercise, imagination, and healthy competition. You may, however, want to use discretion before considering the javelin, shotput, or archery events.Expand your family’s cultural knowledge by visiting a place that exhibits different racial, religious, or social customs.
5. Visit a place that promotes different cultures.
Expand your family’s cultural knowledge by visiting a place that exhibits different racial, religious, or social customs. A trip to an ethnic grocery store or an art museum is a simple start. Try foods from different countries. Set up a visit to a Native American reservation. Listen to the different languages being spoken and ask your kids what they thought about the experience.
6. Rainy Day Bonus
One of my greatest memories with my daughter when she was younger is when we made up our own version of Jeopardy! We used a whiteboard and erasable marker, but a tack board with pockets and index cards works just as well too. Pick categories your kids are studying in school and just like the game show, make the questions more difficult as the point values increase. This is a fantastic way to encourage learning, creativity, and family bonding time.
Sound off: What other summer activities for kids do you recommend?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is something new we can try this summer?”