We have taken time to compile 20 very easy, but fun, ways to keep your kids busy this summer without breaking the bank, costing you your sanity. These are all extremely LOW TECH. In this age of hand held devices and video games, kids need to get out there and explore the world and just be kids.
1. Nature Walks/Scavenger Hunts
Check out some local field guides and make it a game of I-Spy
2. Local Library
Many libraries have events, story times, and book clubs going all summer long. Checkout your local library’s webpage for their calendar of events.
3. Read To Them
Spread a blanket out under a shady tree and find an adventure book. Suggestions (The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, The adventures of Tom Sawyer, Little Women, Bridge to Terabithia)
4. Camp In The Backyard
Pitch a tent, bring lots of flashlights, make s’mores, star gaze, tell ghost stories. You could invite some friends or make a family night of it. (The best part is, the washroom is right inside the house.)
5. Have A Water Fight
Squirt guns, water balloons, or just the garden hose, could all be a weapon of choice!
6. Make Popsicles
You can use ice cube trays or buy Popsicle forms. Juice, Kool aid, fresh fruit, and even pudding, are all ingredients you could use to create your own favorite popsicle.
7. Go Hiking
Check out your state’s wildlife and parks website and go on a new adventure. Bring plenty of water, sunblock, hats, and bug spray.
8. Have A Picnic
Make sandwiches, cut up some fruit, make sweet tea, grab a blanket and find a relaxing location. You could have a picnic at a local park, pond, lakeside, or even just your own yard! Make sure the kids help with the food prep and packing.
9. Play Board Games
This one is good if the weather is just too hot or if it’s raining. Gather up your favorite board games and make a day of it. Don’t have any board games? A couple decks of cards and the games you can play are endless. Go Fish, BS (bologna sandwich), War, Speed, and Gin, are some to name a few.
10. Start A Puzzle
If you get a 1000 pieces or more, this could keep your kids occupied for days or even weeks! If the kids are older, try a 3D puzzle. It also helps them feel a sense of accomplishment.
11. Build A Blanket Fort
You can use, sheets, blankets, pillows, thumb tacks, even strands of holiday lights! Best done in a room you don’t use that often, such as your child’s room, to save you from having to clean it up the same day.
Animal shelters, homeless shelters, and retirement homes always could use extra help. This is a great opportunity to teach your children the importance of serving something greater than themselves and will help develop empathy for others.
13. Tie Dye Shirts
Just be sure to do this outside AND that you don’t have anything planned where having stained hands would be problematic.
14. Plant A Garden
This teaches your children the virtues of patience, nurturing, and where their food comes from. You don’t need a large yard either. You can grow all sorts of things in containers. Tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and flowers all make wonderful container gardens.
15. Make A Lemonade Stand
Nothing says summertime and childhood like a lemonade stand! Be sure to count for supplies and cups when figuring your “cost”.
16. Play Dress Up
Let the kids go through your closet. Hats, suits, ties, old bridesmaid dresses, heels, suspenders, and jewelry, are all so much fun for kids to play with. Hold a fashion show and take lots of pictures.
17. Have An Arts And Crafts Day
Paint with watercolors, finger paint, color with crayons or markers. Make paper airplanes, make a telephone with tin cans and string, or even make slime! Kids love to create and use their hands.
18. Ride Bikes
You can explore your neighborhood, bike ride to the convenient store, or to a local park to play at the playground.
19. Learn A New Skill
Card tricks, juggling, jumping rope, playing a song on an instrument, learning a dance routine, roller skating, riding a skateboard, shooting hoops, or hitting a baseball, to name a few. Allow your kids to decide what they would like to learn, and them help them practice. Feel free to make suggestions if they don’t have any ideas of their own. You could even join them in the fun by learning a skill yourself, and then hold a talent show at the end of summer for the Grandparents!
20. Start A Journal
Have your kids write in a journal every day. It will help them keep important skills up that are often lost over vacation. It will give them perspective, and if they are working toward something, it will give them motivation! It doesn’t need to be much, just a paragraph where they can write down their highs and lows, or something fun that happened that day. It could also be something they are thankful for. At the end of summer when the teacher asks them to write about what they did over summer break, they will have something to look back on for their assignment and also for the rest of their life.