Whether you work from home, are a stay-at-home parent, or work outside the house, you need practical ideas to keep your kids busy , particularly during the summer months. Otherwise, they may end up getting too much screen time , which is not good for their health mental or physical. Check out this list of things you and your kids can do to fight off summertime boredom.
Don't let your kids have all the fun—many of these activities are fun for the whole family to share. So join in! Take advantage of long sunny days by exploring the natural world just don't forget the sunscreen.
When the weather keeps you indoors , there's still plenty to do! Summer is ideal for a few staycation experiences. If you have friends or family visiting, bring them along to see what's special in your area.
Whether you turn this list into your summer bucket list, or you just pick a few of your favorites, you will make some great memories. The key is to slow down and enjoy the summer months with your family. If you need a more structured list, check out this series of things for kids to do every week of summer. Get expert tips to help your kids stay healthy and happy. More in Raising Kids. Pick your own. Find a farm with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, veggies, or flowers and get picking.
Plant a butterfly or hummingbird garden , or create a backyard wildlife habitat. Grow fresh herbs in containers. Use old coffee cans, milk jugs, mason jars, plastic cups, or anything else you have around the house. Keep your herb garden on a patio or windowsill. Make fairy houses. Use moss, bark, and leaves to create a dwelling fit for Thumbelina. Look for shapes in the clouds.
Put a blanket in the grass and stare up at the sky. Take turns talking about what you see in the clouds. Go bird watching. Take photos and keep track of your sightings. Use an app or guidebook to identify feathered friends.
Make a bird feeder. Watch birds visit your yard and add to your list of bird sightings. Camp in. Put the sleeping bags on the floor and have a family slumber party. Experiment with new hairdos. Let the kids try out non-permanent colors, braids, or a spiked, gelled look. Build a fort. Put pillows in the living room or cardboard boxes in the yard. Rearrange the furniture. Give the kids graph paper and have them draw out a plan first. Make a time capsule. Have each family member write down something they are grateful for and include a special item in the time capsule.
Then, store it away until a designated date. You can open it as early as Thanksgiving or as far off as high school graduation. Play a card game. Choose from crazy eights, spoons, go fish, or even poker. Take your pick. Have breakfast in bed.
Take turns being the server and the served. Hold marble races. Use an old pool noodle as the track. Simply cut it in half, making two tracks of equal length. Then, race the marbles down the tracks to see who has the fastest one. Make paper airplanes. See whose airplane goes the farthest.
Get an origami book and fun paper. Create fun animals and shapes. Give them to friends or family members as gifts. Play charades. Turn all the summer drama into a game. Break out your movie collection or use Netflix. Have a movie marathon complete with popcorn. Build a Lego castle. Clear off a table and make it a family project. Work on it all summer. Set a goal and complete a home project.
Whether it is cleaning the garage, organizing the basement, or redecorating the spare bedroom, find ways to let the kids help. Visit a historic house or farm. Learn how times have changed and what people back then lived without. Pack a picnic. Plop down to eat it just about anywhere such as a free concert, at a playground, or in a state park. Go to a local carnival or county fair. Eat cotton candy, elephant ears, or something really bad at least once this summer. Spend the night if you can or just make it a day trip exploring the sights.
Visit a local farmers' market. Feast on the fruits and veggies of the season and enjoy a few locally made treats. Take in a minor-league baseball game. The parks are super family-friendly and there's always a fun giveaway or chance to win a prize.
Go to a demolition derby. Expect to see some major crashes. See a matinee. Find a bargain movie house and enjoy an afternoon at the movies. Find a free concert near you. Kick back and enjoy some tunes with the family. See a dramatic performance together. It doesn't matter if it's a puppet show in the park or a touring Broadway show, enjoy seeing it as a family.
Go to a flea market or garage sale. See if the kids are better negotiators than you. Eat at the counter of a diner. Let the kids enjoy greasy food and milkshakes. Take a garden gnome with you. Take the gnome's picture at each destination you visit. At the end of the summer, create a scrapbook with his photos. Avoid the summer slide by keeping kids thinking and learning while school is out. Join a summer reading club at your library. Or create your own, keeping a list of all the books read over the summer. Parents can participate too.
Just don't expect a prize, because your kids can probably read way more books than you do! Show the kids that science is fun. Try these experiments. Master a new skill together.