Need some fun way to keep your kids busy this summer? Here are five fab ideas…
1. Spend time outside doing some physical activity.
Summer is our favorite season and it seems to go by in a flash! Encourage your children to get plenty of physical activity by riding their bikes, swimming, playing in the yard or the playground, shooting some hoops, or playing catch…and be sure to join them! One of our favorite activities as a family is to go on bike rides. This is an excellent cardiovascular activity and the benefits of exercise for our children (and parents too!) are endless.
2. Show some creativity.
In the shade on the patio, we have a large table that my children enjoy doing a variety of creative art projects (and it’s no problem if the clay doesn’t stay on the table!) One of my children’s favorite things to do is to create things with clay. Homemade or store-bought clay can be used. Include a variety of cups, containers, and other things that can make “imprints” on the clay or that can be used to build things.
Another fun creative idea is painting rocks. Again, our large table on the patio comes to good use! Draping a disposable tablecloth from the Dollar Store, my kids have free reign to decorate the rocks they have found along the road during a “rock hunt” or in our someday-to-be-finished rock garden. Encourage your children to paint faces, create animals, or include stripes or polka-dots. Then be sure to display their creative artwork!
3. Learn and have fun at the same time!
Every year on Mother’s Day, my family takes me to the local nursery where I pick out a variety of plants to plant in my flower pots. Not only am I treated to the local nursery, but I am also blessed with three very good helpers! Our daughters each have their own containers that they pick out flowers for and plant their own flowers. What a great way to encourage responsibility!
This year, we also added two raised gardens – one for each child. In these gardens, Doodle and Sunshine planted peas, tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, and spinach. Each day, they water their flowers and their gardens, and they also keep them weeded. In addition, Doodle has her own strawberry patch.
Planting and caring for those plants is a wonderful way to help your child not only have fun, but also learn about plants. Do some research with your children as to how plants grow and the amazing work God does to allow us the beauty of flowers and the benefits of a garden!
4. Help others. During our above-mentioned trip to the nursery, each year we also purchase plants for someone else. Doodle and Sunshine then plant the plants in containers and deliver them. This year, we chose an elderly widow. Sunshine dedicated her summer to, not only watering the flowers she and Doodle planted for the widow, but also to water and care for the widow’s entire flower garden. Encourage your children to choose an activity that will serve and bless others this summer. For some great ideas, feel free to check out my book 77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference: Ideas and Activities for Serving Others.
5. Connect with others.
I often joke with my kids that playdates aren’t just for kids! We moms love to connect with other moms. Why not set up a playdate at a local playground and invite some friends? Summer is a busy time, so some won’t be able to make it, but enjoy the company of those who can and encourage your children to connect with their friends they probably already miss!
During the last week of school, I was surprised to see how many fliers my children came home with for summer activities. I am a firm believer in having some scheduled fun time, but also some time for children to use their creative imaginations and do a lot of completely unscheduled times of play – some “downtime” so to speak, so be sure to include that in your children’s summer agenda as well.
Check out my other post, 7 Ways to Encourage Your Children for some awesome ways to inspire your kids. Other family/marriage post links are available by clicking on the “marriage and family” icon at the top of this post.