I am keeping in line with the monthly Workin' it Wednesdays with Erika and Shay to share this month's topic: how to keep kids entertained all summer long. I noticeably do not have children, but after giving it some thought decided I'd share some ideas with you that I've thought up or that my parents used for me and my siblings. I've spent ample time entertaining some children in the past and think these ideas will be both fun and educational!
Ideas to keep children entertained all summer:
1. Book reports! I have to admit that this felt like homework at times, but my dad made us read several books throughout the summer and write a book report on it. When this idea was initiated I was a bit younger in age and therefore I do not recall any serious formatting required, but depending on your child's age you may want to require them to use the proper report formatting as they would in school. You can assign one book per week, per every two weeks, per month - whatever you prefer. The report can be a one page, simple hand written (yes, make them hand write something) or typed report or even lengthier if you deem necessary for older children. In hind site, I am glad he made us do this. I've always loved to read! Also note - you can let them pick fictional or non-fictional books for learning. There are templates on my Pinterest board that you can use for this.
2. House projects! You can assign your kids minor tasks/chores to do every day and larger tasks/chores to accomplish weekly. Examples of things to include them in are: cleaning the house, cleaning out the garage, clearing out the attic, purging their rooms for donations, mowing the grass, painting the house (inside or out), washing the cars, walking the dogs, bathing the pets. This undoubtedly felt like torture at times as other kids were riding bicycles or go-carts down the street in front of our house while we cleaned or painted our house and our grandmother's house OR went up to my parent's business to work but again, in hindsight I know this is what instilled in me a strong work ethic. We had to accomplish the assigned tasks and then we could play. So, it wasn't that we never got to play with our friends because we definitely did! But, we had to accomplish our responsibilities first. I've included chore lists and ideas on my Pinterest board.
3. Crafting projects! There are endless ideas for craft projects that you can find on Pinterest that children would enjoy. Things like painting, painting t-shirts, tie-dying t-shirts, Popsicle stick crafts, etc. etc. The sky's the limit. You can also find project ideas on Michael's as well as sign the kids up for one of Michael's classes.
4. Take them to the local museums! Most museums offer day passes as well as season passes. You can spend plenty of time introducing them to the current exhibits as well as the year round exhibits at the Natural Science, Natural History, Fine Arts, and Children's museums. You can create a scavenger hunt of things to look for or a question/answer work sheet for them to find the answers to while there.
5. Take them to the zoo! Similar to #4, you can turn zoo trips into scavenger hunts or focus each visit on a specific animal or type of animal for a mini report for the children to write about. Find work sheets and scavenger hunt ideas on my Pinterest board.
6. Work sheets! There are a lot of options here depending upon the age of your children and what you'd like for them to focus on. Work sheets can be for math, science, vocabulary, grammar, history. My dad created his own Spanish worksheets for us to translate Spanish sentences to English, and English sentences to Spanish. Nowadays you can purchase these pre-made or even find them for free online. I encourage you to search Pinterest for free work sheet ideas.
7. Scavenger hunts! Snowballing from the ideas above, you can also create scavenger hunts for the kids to figure out clues around the city you live in. Now, this may require driving to different places or walking, but it can be a lot of fun! You can do it in different ways using context clues to have them guess the next place you're to go. You can make it a historical scavenger hunt or pick their favorite places (ie: stop for a movie, go get ice cream, go to their favorite lunch spot, stop at the park, etc.)
8. Take them to a local park for a bike ride! Or you can ride bicycles around your neighborhood to site see. Pack a small picnic or snack if you have a bike basket. The idea here is to get the kids out of the house and off of electronic gadgets.
9. Host a pool party at home or at a neighborhood pool! This takes a little extra work but if you invite the other parents they can be responsible for their children.
10. Beach day! Enough said. And I hope you live close enough to a beach or body of water of some kind.
11. Matinee movies! Easier to go during the day when it's slower and prices are better. Do not be ashamed to find your local dollar theater. They play plenty of great movies and serve the same popcorn!
12. Skating rinks! Physical activity + air conditioning. That, my friends, is a win-win.
13. Look up free kids events in your local city. I can usually find great ones like outdoor movie nights, festivals, petting zoo's, etc. Of course, please be careful as temperatures can be very high during the summer and you do not want to risk heat exhaustion or sun burns.
Here are some Houston sites: Houston on the Cheap, Big Kid Small City, 365 Things to do in Houston, Visit Houston Texas, Discovery Green, Houston Eventful, Market Square Houston, Miller Outdoor Theatre.
Discovery Green, Market Square, and Miller Outdoor Theatre have outdoor movie nights and performances.
14. Set up a meal calendar and teach the kids to cook! This is a great way to teach your little ones some cooking basics or how to prepare certain meals. Then in the coming weeks you can let each one prepare the dish on their own with your help. You can keep this to just baking as well and if your children are really young, then I'd suggest sticking to no-bake desserts for now. But, they'll feel important and special to get to prepare dessert for the family.
15. Help them be entrepreneurs or volunteers! I realize this can take up some time and possible resources on the parents' behalves, however you can truly teach your children work ethic and a giving heart by volunteering. You can help them set up lemonade or iced tea stands, doughnut stands for peak travel to work time, or Popsicle stands for after work travel time. You can help them volunteer around the community, local elderly, or nursing homes - things like cleaning their homes, mowing their grass, playing games at the hospital or nursing home. Even one hour a week throughout the summer will truly impact everyone involved.
16. Bible study! There's a lot of resources available to read through books of the bible with assisted questions to help your children understand and learn about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
I hope you found these ideas helpful & inspiring. I didn't take the time to research anything and just quickly typed up what came to mind. After the fact I've created a Pinterest board to help you get started looking through some of my ideas and those pins will help you branch out into other pins more specified to your child's age or children's ages. What are some fun things you remember doing during your summer vacations as a child, or that you currently do with your children? Comment below!
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Wishing everyone a wonderful Wednesday as we count down to the weekend and to Father's Day!