Use this plan to know what what kids summer activities you are going to do with your kids. Imagine this – it’s now summer time and the kids are out of school. Great for them, but what are you going to do?
Whether you’re a work-at-home parent or a stay-at-home parent, the change in schedule can be very stressful for you and for your children.
The key to everyone’s sanity is to keep your children busy.
Keeping your children busy, particularly if you’re a work-at-home parent, is difficult at best but the more bored they become, the more of a distraction they can be. It is essential that you find new and interesting ways to occupy their time.
It can be difficult to accomplish this without a plan and some guidance. In the following post we provide you with an outline and structure and offer suggestions for children of all ages, some of theses activities are even FREE. We’ll break the long summer days into the following categories:
* Keep Them Learning!
* Weekly Outings
* Imaginative Play
* Collaborating with Local Parents
Keep Them Learning!
Even before school is out, stock up on workbooks that are appropriate to your child’s grade level. You can find spectacular workbooks at your local bookstore, teacher supply store, and even your local mega store. They come in a variety of prices and offer a variety of subjects. Workbooks for the younger set often come as a comprehensive grade level workbook covering all grade-appropriate topics.
As the grade levels increase you can purchase books on separate topics including math, spelling, phonics, and even history or spelling.
You’re likely to get some grief from your children choosing this kids summer activities at home when you first suggest this; however, there are many ways to make the routine more interesting.
1. Involving your child in the purchase of the workbooks will make them more excited to continue their
education during the summer months.
2. Set a goal. Every day, at a designated time, establish a daily goal. Maybe they need to complete five pages in each book or ten pages total. Maybe they need to work for an hour. Set a goal for them to strive for and reward them when they attain it.
By establishing a goal and your expectations, they not only know what to expect from you, they also learn the value of hard work and reward. Possible rewards can be a trip to the park, making ice cream, or simply a chance to watch their favorite television show or play their favorite internet game.
3. Break up the day by having them work for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon if you’re having difficulty getting them to focus for an hour or more.
4. Establish a long term goal. For example: Have your children choose a special trip to take at the end of the summer, provided they have met their daily workbook/education goals, all summer long. Suggestions might be to take them to the local amusement or water park, take them camping, take them to the zoo, a show, or a sporting event.
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5. Break up the workbook schedule by taking your children to your local library once a week. They can add 20-30 minutes of daily reading to their schedule. Allow them to choose any books that they like and encourage them to get their own library card to instill a sense of responsibility.
6. Keep their workbook and reading sessions interesting by providing them a fun workspace. Allow them to work outside on a picnic blanket, let them build a tent or a fort to work in, or make it possible to listen to music while they work, if it isn’t too distracting. Give them healthy snacks like popcorn or grapes to add some pleasure and nutrition to the routine.
Plan Family Friendly Weekly Outings
Breaking up the weekly routine is a great way to give your children something to look forward to and new kids summer activities each week. And it’ll likely keep them behaving better if they know that something is on the line.
Kids summer activities and weekly suggestions can be:
* A trip to the pool
* A trip to a different park each week
* A hike on a different trail
* A scavenger hunt at the park
* A bike ride
* A community outing
* A trip to the lake to go boating, fishing, or swimming
* A tour of a local establishment. Many businesses, like candy factories, offer free tours. Take advantage of these tours to both educate and entertain your children.
* Libraries often hold weekly reading sessions or special kid-friendly events.
* A trip to the grocery store to purchase the ingredients for a recipe the children have chosen to make.
* You can also purchase annual memberships to zoos and participate in weekly kid-friendly events.
* Seek out local farms to participate in growing co-ops, farm learning opportunities, or day camps.
It often helps to place these weekly events at the end of the week to give your children something to look forward to, but also to help keep your children in line and cooperating during the week. Additionally, if you are a work-at-home parent, it helps to keep a consistent schedule. Make Friday your ‘play with your kids day’ and adjust your summer schedule accordingly. Of course this may mean that you have to put in more hours on the other days, but your children will appreciate a bit of your undivided attention each week. Everyone will benefit from the time together.
Keep Kids Busy with Imaginative Play
Regardless the age of your children, they will undoubtedly benefit from a bit of time to let their imaginations soar and is one of the kids summer activities that we highly recommend.
Give your child time every day to celebrate their imagination and entertain themselves. Imaginative play will vary by child and by age. Some children can spend all day in a small sandbox; others need a variety of imaginative tools and toys. Some children enjoy building with blocks and Lego’s. Some children enjoy playing with dolls. Others will want to write stories, draw pictures, hunt for bugs outside, climb trees, ride their bikes, and even cook.
Encourage each child to choose an activity and focus on it for an hour or more.
Provide your child with the necessary imagination builders and the time to use them; they’ll thank you for it when they’re adults.
Many children will put up some resistance when you ask them to play quietly by themselves. They may even cry or pout. Stick to your guns, provide the toys and tools, and maintain the routine every day.
Depending on your personality type, a bit of structure can help you. For example, you can set a timer at 10:00 a.m. that announces Imagination Time. You can make a chart or you can have fun with it and ring a bell or sing a song. The important thing to remember is that you need to let your children know what to expect. After repeating this routine a few times, they’ll likely tell you that it’s imagination time!
Make sure to break each scheduled daily activity up with something fun. It’s not that imagination time and workbook time aren’t fun, but your children will have preconceived notions. Giving them ‘free time’ between scheduled activities enables them to begin thinking for themselves and entertaining themselves, both of which are valuable tools that they’ll take into adulthood.
Do you remember playing outside as a child? Did you enjoy climbing trees, playing with bugs, and water balloons? What about jumping rope and riding your bike? Depending on the weather and your children’s personality, some of these kids activities will be indoors while at other times, outdoor play will be best.
It is also important, if the situation safely lends itself, to encourage your children to play outside for a portion of time every day. If you can incorporate imagination time and outside time together, then you’ll likely find that imagination time lasts for hours and hours and your children don’t want to come inside. Outside time, of course, depends on the age of your child or children. Some children can, and will, play in the sprinkler for hours; others prefer to ride their bikes around the neighborhood, play in the sandbox, and climb trees.
Summer Camps for Kids
Summer camps are a parent’s saving grace and is on everyone’s list for kids summer activities.
The bad news is that they can cost a lot of money. The good news is that most local communities offer a summer camp booklet that covers all of the camps in your area and offers a broad range of prices. Additionally, many non-profit organizations like Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and many churches, offer grants for summer camp programs.
Summer Camps are spectacular because you can find just about any camp topic.
Camps offered in your community might include:
* Acting camps
* Farm camps
* Dance camps
* Sports camps
* Craft camps
* Swim camps
* Horse camps
* Hiking/Camping camps
* Variety camps
* Church camps
Additionally, camps can be:
* Partial day camps where your child is there for the morning or afternoon every day for a week or two. These are great for younger children and for families on a budget because they often cost less than residence camps.
* Full day camps where you simply drop off and pick up your child every day. These are great for middle age children that are able to handle a day away from home but may not be ready to sleep over. Additionally, they provide your child the ability to really learn a new skill and make new friends
* Sleep over camps, where your child is on residence for a week or more. These are fantastic for older age children and are a valuable lesson in becoming a more independent and responsible person. Additionally, they are a great place to learn or improve skills and make lifelong friends.
* All summer camps. All summer camps are beneficial for children that have two parents that work long hours away from the home. They keep your child active and engaged, rather than bored, and are a good way to build your child’s self esteem, skills, and keep them out of trouble.
Connect with Other Parents
One of the benefits of making friends with people that have children is that you can trade childcare days. If you need a day to yourself or you need to focus on a work project or attend a meeting, having a regularly scheduled day off is a great way to make your summer easier and to keep things interesting for your children.
Find a parent, or parents, with children approximately the same age as your children, and schedule a regular day to swap children. For example, you could watch your friend’s children on Tuesdays and he or she could watch your children on Thursdays.
This way your children have other children to play with, new environments to explore, new rules and expectations to follow, all of which are a valuable learning experience. And you have time to do what you need to do without the distractions or stress of also having to take care of your children.
Some last tips to make the summer fun for everyone:
* Plan a family trip. A family trip doesn’t mean that you have to gather your family and spend thousands of dollars on a trip to Disney. You can simply take your family camping for a long weekend. Regardless of where you go, your children will appreciate the trip, the time with you, and the adventure of seeing a new place and trying new things.
* Having children home all day also means that there are more chores to do. Requiring your children to take more responsibility for these chores during the summer will take the burden off of you and help teach them responsibility. You can reward them with free time, screen time, or an allowance, depending on your family beliefs.
* If you have the space, allowing your children to have their own garden, and tend to it, is a great way to teach them the pleasures of growing their own food. You can let them choose their own fruits and vegetables to grow. Provide them the space, necessary tools, and required steps to grow their fruits or vegetables, and then see how they handle it.
Some children will undoubtedly not follow through on the necessary care and their garden will suffer (that alone is a lesson). Other children will relish the responsibility and the freedom, and will be thrilled to provide the family a salad that they grew and prepared themselves.
Summer presents a whole world of learning opportunities for adventure and fun for children of all ages. The trick is to find a kids summer activities that they will love, a schedule that works for everyone, meets everyone’s needs, and allows you to stay sane and happy.
Take care and have a wonderful summer!
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