School’s out and the kids are home for the summer. Now what?
Left to their own devices, many kids will spend all day using devices—like a computer, tablet or TV. If you’re looking for some more active, educational and creative alternatives for young children, check out some of our favorite ideas for summer fun at home.
- Break out the sidewalk chalk! If you’re feeling creative yourself, you can make your own ice chalk or sidewalk paint. We love this bonus idea from Crafting Connections: Have your child use the paint to create an adventure trail for you to follow. It’s a great mix of healthy exercise, artistic expression and outdoor exploration. Just be sure your children are in their play clothes; you’ll be glad when it’s time to clean up!
- Plan, plant and tend a garden. Gardening can be a great way for kids to learn about the life cycle of plants and experience the pride that comes from nurturing growing things. If you’re lucky, it may even inspire them to eat their vegetables! This Parents’ Primer from KidsGardening.org is a great place to get started. No yard space for a garden? Try container gardening!
- Invent (and play) a new game. If your children like to play board games or card games, they probably have some ideas about how they’d do things differently. Using craft supplies like construction paper, cardboard, felt, glue, glitter, markers—and even paint chips—they can create a game to play with friends or siblings. Children follow rules all day; why not empower them to make a few of their own? Green tip: Rather than throwing away old board games with missing pieces, let your child upcycle them into a new game.
- Play with story stones. Sometimes used as a children’s counseling tool, story stones can be a fun way to encourage storytelling and language development. Each stone shows a person, place, thing or event that kids can use as a building block for an original story. If your child is old enough, he or she may even be interested in creating their own set of story stones.
- Learn a song a day. Kids and music are a natural match. Even if you have no musical experience, sites like this make it easy to learn a wide range of age-appropriate songs, from kids’ songs and show tunes to rock n’ roll. But, the fun doesn’t have to stop with singing. Your children can make their own musical instruments, invent some dance moves or write their own songs. We especially like this music basket idea from TinkerLab.com. Bonus: Music isn’t just entertaining; it offers a wealth of cognitive, emotional and social benefits.
These ideas are only the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of great crafts, games and other activities out there, just waiting for you online. Pinterest is a handy resource for both finding ideas and keeping track of those you’d like to try. Follow our Summer Fun for Kids board to get started!