School’s out for summer; kids are hyped and ready to engage in fun-filled activities with friends. But, realistically, as a parent, you’ll likely soon hear the dreaded rallying cry, “I’m bored. I have nothing to do.” And many parents are working, which makes it even more challenging to spend time with your children and be at their beck and call. No need to rack your brain for ideas; we’ve got you covered with a list of fun summer activities for kids.
- Did someone say road trip? You don’t have to leave the country for a change of scenery. Look for day trips close by in your province. Whether it’s hiking in a national park, spending time at a nearby lake, visiting a local museum, enjoying the rides at an amusement park or taking in one of the many music or food festivals your town has to offer, you’re never far from an adventure. Visit websites like Destination Canada to view attractions in your province, city or town.
- Arrange play dates. If you’re working from home, arrange with other parents to host one day of the week when you have your children’s friends over. Each parent hosts one day of fun activities at home, like board games, crafts, games in the backyard, watching movies and going to the local park.
- Volunteer. Charitable giving never takes a holiday. Take your kids to a local food bank to help pack food for families in need; arrange to visit a seniors’ home to help with activities or even read a book to them, visit a homeless shelter and help serve food, or pick up litter in your community. Teach your kids the importance of giving back to their local community.
- Get creative. Ditch the digital screens and let your kids get creative. For the younger kids, create colourful driveway art with sidewalk chalk, buy inexpensive supplies like a wooden birdhouse and have them paint it. Decorate scrapbooks with stickers and other art supplies and buy colouring books for hours of fun.
- Join a reading club. Most libraries have children’s Book Clubs, a great way to help build a love of reading and an excellent opportunity to meet kids their age. Your children will gain valuable experience and confidence by being led through discussions about the book and having a chance to voice their opinions.
- Get active. Summer is not the time to slack off regarding exercise and promoting healthy outdoor activities. There are many activities your kids will enjoy including bike riding, playing sports (soccer, badminton, volleyball), visiting playgrounds, mini-putting and, for the more adventurous – ziplining.
- Go on a scavenger hunt which provides a fantastic opportunity to get outdoors and have fun. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Make a list of items you might see on a walk in your neighbourhood (examples: dogs, lawnmowers, a red car, pink peonies, someone bike riding, someone washing their car, chalk art on a driveway, a squirrel, playing a sport, etc.). Assign points to each item. Take a paper and pen, and the first child to see one of the items gets the allotted points for that item. Once your walk ends, tally up the points to see who wins the treasure hunt. Offer a prize as an incentive to get out there and explore.
- Enjoy the water. Hot summer days call for a watery cool-down, whether it’s at a community or friend’s pool, running through your sprinkler in the backyard, or visiting a lake. Always follow safe water tips; if your child cannot swim, it’s an excellent time to enroll them to learn.
- Visit a farmers’ market which is a great way to introduce your kids to fresh produce and fruit grown by local farmers. And that’s not all. Look for foods like meats, cheeses, homemade fudge, bread, pies, etc. You might be surprised by the treasures you can bring home. As a bonus, some farmers’ markets have kid-friendly activities like face painting and playgrounds!
- Keep the mind busy. Although this may not be the most popular activity on the list, according to educators, summer can lead to learning loss. It’s a good time to review the basics – reading, writing and math. There are many STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camps to keep young brains active for a week or two. Also, you can access free worksheets online and purchase activity books by grade.
- Earn a little money – are you kids complaining they don’t have any change in their pockets? Put them to work. Neighbours’ lawns need mowing, and weeds need to be pulled. Babysitting is often in high demand as parents are at work. If you’ve got a little entrepreneur, your child or young teen can turn a hobby into a side business by making jewelry, selling their paintings, and much more.
- Create a chef. Cooking is an important life skill to learn, and summer is a great time to encourage your budding chef to take a little more responsibility in the kitchen. Parents must be on hand to teach kids the basics of chopping and weighing ingredients and operating the stove. Find easy recipes and get them to help with lunches and simple dinners. Remember to follow proper kitchen safety tips.
- Journaling. A great way to capture summer memories is through photography and journaling. Get your children to write their daily activities down to create memories they can reflect on. Fill the scrapbook or journal with photos, souvenirs, and stickers to jazz it up.
- A little boredom never hurt anyone. Remember – you don’t need to plan every day of your children’s summer vacation to be chock-full of activities. Kids already lead overscheduled lives. So, allow time for boredom to set in. This will teach your children how to play independently, use their imaginations to get creative and give them some downtime.
Here’s to your kids having a safe and enjoyable summer!
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