5 fun summer activities for kids

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

Need some fun way to keep your kids busy this summer? Here are five fab ideas…

888698_my_new_bicycle1. 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. One of my children’s favorite things to do is to create things with playdough. Homemade or store-bought clay can be used. (I found some great recipes for homemade clay/playdough here).  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 Picture 051helpers. Our children each have their own containers that they pick out flowers for and plant their own flowers.

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 and gain responsibility. Conduct “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. Be a blessing to others. During our above-mentioned annual trip to the nursery,  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 77 Waysplanted 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 on how to serve others, 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, so 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.

I am a firm believer in having some scheduled fun time, but 449238_playground_kids_4also 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.

What are some activities your children love partaking in during the summer months?

 


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6 Things to Do This Summer…

Penny Zeller, Christian Author
Summer is my absolute favorite season and I can’t wait until it finally arrives! And since I don’t think it’s ever too early to start planning for summer,  I’ve included some suggestions below for a fantastic family summer!

1. Get away from it all. We love to go camping and what better way to take a break from the stresses of day-to-day life?  And what a great way to create memories for your family that last a lifetime. Be sure to pack the hot chocolate, marshmallow roasters, ingredients for smores, your camera, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, bear spray, and the hammock!

an interesting guest was up to moosechief during one of our camping excursions...

2. Play miniature golf. Our family has been enjoying this sport, although none of us will be competing anytime soon in any miniature golf championship games! 🙂 Laughter is pretty much nonstop when we try to play, especially since I’m a hockey girl at heart. So, really, what’s wrong with gently guiding and dribbling the ball  with the golf club to where it needs to go?!

3. Plant some flowers. Nothing says summer like flowers! Since weeds and I don’t get along, I decided three years ago to plant all my flowers in pots. Well, that is except for the garden area that didn’t quite turn out last year due to the odd weather. So I did the only thing a girl who loves flowers can do – I planted flowers in the garden area instead! (I’ll try again this year with the veggies. 🙂

flowers - a perfect sign it's summer!

Enlist the help of your children. Allow them to choose their favorite flowers, or plant seeds in egg cartons that will be ready to transplant outside in a matter of weeks.

4. Have a backwards day. My girls were ecstatic the other day when the menu for dinner was actually breakfast. Do something out of the ordinary this summer and serve up pancakes and eggs for your suppertime meal! And really, who doesn’t love pizza for breakfast?

5. Engage in a water war. I really underestimated my daughters when it came to squirt guns during last year’s water wars. We filled up our power-max squirt guns and I ran like crazy around the backyard. Oh, and let’s just say I didn’t emerge the winner of the award for staying the driest!

6.Take a ride. Bike riding is an excellent form of exercise and is a great family activity, whether you’re riding around the neighborhood or heading to the bike path. Speaking of bike paths, a couple of years ago during a family vacation, our family pit-stopped at the Route of the Hiawatha bike trail. But this wasn’t any ordinary trail.  Located on the Idaho/Montana state line, it’s a 15 mile route (one way) through the beautiful Bitterroot Mountains and includes trestles and tunnels.

one of the trestles on the Route of the Hiawatha...

Simply put, there is nothing quite like it and it is well-worth the time! We rode the entire distance and even stopped along the way to eat the lunch we had packed.

the sign at the bottom of the 15-mile Hiawatha bike trail...

So there you have it, some excellent ideas for a wonderful summer!