Happy summer, everyone! Can you feel the heat? Nope, not the sun’s heat blasting on you for 12 hours a day.
But the heat of coming up with activities for kids who aren’t in camp or daycare. Kids who want fun activities to do all day long.
Am I the only one who aims to make each summer better (or at least just as good) as the last? I always think of the kids standing up on the first day of school, reporting on their holiday. What did you do? “I watched TV,” I fear they’ll say (since it is a highlight!). Or even worse – the dreaded “I don’t know.”
My answer is to create a few memorable activities during school break. And we’ll do them on weekends, or have our nanny initiate with kids – and their friends during playdates.
The following is a list of fun, memorable summer activities. Whether they’re hosted by you or your nanny, the beneficiaries will still be the little ones who matter.
- Picnic at the park: Take your average lunch and spruce up the location. Bring kites and a ball and lunch turns into a half-day activity.
- Sit by a stream: Find a small serene body of water where you can stand on the banks and explore surrounding nature and plant-life. Take sketch pads or water-themed books (Where the River Begins, Undersea Animals, Trout Are Made of Trees) to learn about and draw what you see.
- Make summer crafts: Everyone needs to plan for indoor “down-time.” Whether it’s a rainy day, too hot to go outside, or you just need a break, here are 60 summer crafts to do with kids.
- Be photographers for the day: Get disposable cameras or old digital ones and take the kids on a photo journaling journey. Their job? Finding beautiful moments in an average day. Print them out and create books, letting them caption each one.
- Create a summer-focused scavenger hunt: Make a list of summer spotted items such as: sprinklers, rose bushes, picnic baskets, beach blankets, kites, sunscreen, convertibles, butterflies, ice cream, popsicles, lemonade stand. Go out on an exploratory walk looking for each item (if kids can’t read, print visual icons for them to spot). Make it even more challenging by putting the kids and their friends in teams.
- Clean up trash: Well yes, this is quite memorable, isn’t it? But here is a way to get kids involved in the protection of their favorite park. Be sure to protect them first with long rubber gloves and rain boots. Also take tongs for grabbing the yuckiest things. Use this as a way to teach basics about the environment, discuss littering, and how to take care of things you love.
- Make the biggest sandcastle possible: Each summer, challenge kids to make the tallest or most-fabulous castle possible – out of sand. Chronicle each year’s growth in pictures.
- Make classic summer foods: S’mores at lunch, homemade ice cream, fresh-fruit popsicles.
- Have a backyard “Luau” luncheon: Invite friends for pineapple and ham kabobs, lei-making, hula dancing, pineapple bowling and limbo under the tiki pole. Prep the week of by getting kids to help make grass skirts, palm trees and tiki poles.
- Throw water balloons: Just steer clear of hitting faces.
- Host an outdoor movie night: You can hire this out or create a makeshift version with a large sheet draped from trees, laptop, speakers and a projector. Invite kids to bring sleeping bags and beach chairs. You can provide the bug spray and popcorn.
Need more activity inspiration? Check out these Summer Fun: 101 Things to Do with Kids.