Your school-aged children spend all year long cooped up in a classroom, so once summer arrives, it’s likely they are looking for adventure. There are many creative activities that will help keep them both entertained and educated during the summer break.
The key to a successful summer is F-U-N. Your children look forward to fun in the sun and days when they can relax and engage in activities that will help enhance sibling bonding, friendships and learning. The best thing parents and nannies can do is focus on fun during the summertime, says Charlotte Reznick, UCLA professor and child educational psychologist. “The summer is an opportunity for parents to bond with their kids – and for kids to enjoy a true vacation,” she says.
Keep your child entertained and engaged with these fun summer activities:
Your home is the perfect environment to allow the kids to explore the great outdoors. Whether your back yard is three acres or a small patch of grass, kids will enjoy the fresh air and the opportunity to get out of the house.
“Summer is the perfect time to be outside,” says Reznick. Create a backyard oasis with a small kiddie pool so the little ones can splash around, break out the hose and a sprinkler and let them run and jump through hoops of water and create a beach in your own yard with sand and tools for digging and building sandcastles.
As with any outdoor activity, make sure you lather up the kids with sunscreen to protect them from burns and put swim diapers and arm floaties on the little ones.
If your hometown has a beach nearby, pack up the swim gear and plan a day at the beach building sandcastles and basking in the sun. Even a small beach by a local pond, lake or river offers opportunities for fishing, sea shell collecting and playing water games with the entire family.
Many local water parks also offer affordable summer memberships and half-price hours for families. You can plan water play time around nap times and give your little ones something to look forward to during the afternoon hours.
Take advantage of where you live by diving into cultural events with the children in your care. Many cities host a local or county fair that features food, entertainment and art from nearby artists. Many cities also host free concerts in the park and kid-friendly activities at museums and libraries, says Reznick.
Check out your city or county’s website, as well as the Chamber of Commerce’s event listings and put these exciting events on the calendar for the summer.
You don’t have to spend every day venturing to a new entertainment venue to engage your kids this summer. Make everyday activities fun, suggests Reznick. “As a parent, you no doubt have a long list of chores, including repairs around the house and home-cooked meals,” she says. “Engage your kids in these everyday activities.”
If you need to organize the garage, make it a game. Ask little ones to find color-coded toys and sports equipment and make a pile. Older children can help you construct a shelf or toy bin to declutter areas in your home or garage. Let the children have a say in how new construction projects are decorated by engaging them in the art of painting or sealing furniture or outdoor fences.
Chores don’t have to produce groans and moans when you present them as a fun activity, says Reznick. Instead, show children how they can get involved and let them feel a sense of accomplishment when the activity or project is complete.
If your children are not attending a local camp, create one at home – complete with outdoor and indoor activities and tasks that are educational.
Begin by asking your children to create a theme for each week of “home camp.” From science and math camp to weather and music camp, your children can detail what they want to learn and the entire family can create activities based on the week’s theme.
During music camp, you can help the children create homemade instruments, musical crafts and host a talent show. Weather camp can culminate with a campout in the backyard under the stars.
Although fun is bound to happen no matter what you do, it is also important for parents and nannies to be spontaneous during the summer months. “Do something you wouldn’t normally do,” says Reznick.← Layering With Love: How to Keep a New Baby Warm | Put a Stop to Nightmares: Tips for Soothing Your Child to Sleep →