Children of all ages always look forward to the end of the school year. It signifies the start of summer and a few months of just being a kid. For teachers, at least for me, the end of the school year is bittersweet. I get excited to have some free time with my husband and daughter to do all of the things I don’t have enough time for the rest of the year. But I also get a little sad and sentimental when I have to say goodbye to my kindergarten students. Every year they always end up teaching me just as much as I teach them, and we all become somewhat attached to each other.
The one group of people I haven’t mentioned yet are all of you…the parents! Some parents look forward to the extra time with their kids at home. Some, on the other hand, panic knowing that within just a couple days of being home from school, the excitement will wear off and they will be walking around saying “I’m bored,” or “Mommy, play with me please.” After about two more days of your child having only you or their siblings to play with, you will be plugging your ears as they whine, and you’ll ask yourself how many days until school starts again.
There are ways to prevent this though–ways that will engage all of you together in some fun activities. I asked some of the moms and teachers that I work with to share what they like to do with their own children to keep them actively involved and keep boredom at bay. These are just a few ideas of activities, as there are SO many resources these days online and at bookstores to give you ideas as well. Since I’m a teacher, I of course love when kids do a little bit of learning over the summer. They need to have a little fun too, so these ideas incorporate both education and entertainment.
Help your children keep their brain and bodies active all summer while also holding their attention with these fun activities for a variety of ages:
5 Fun Activities to Add to Your Summer Routine
1. Send a Letter
Sit down together and write a letter to a friend, family member, teacher, or neighbor. For school age children, this form of authentic writing practice is a great way to let them tell the recipient whatever they would like. Writing together and brainstorming ideas of what to say in the letter will get your child excited. For younger children, let them dictate to you what they would like to say. You can write for them, showing them the idea of reading and writing from left to right.
Taking the letter to the post office is a fun activity all by itself and gives you an opportunity to teach your child about how the mail system works. This could even be as simple as letting your preschooler put the letter into the mail slot. Plus, when you write a letter the person you mail to will most likely write you back. Everyone knows how much kids love getting mail, so that gives your child another little activity to do each day, checking the mailbox for a letter addressed to their little selves!
2. Library Adventure
Take a trip to your local library, and not just for a summer story time. Go on a library scavenger hunt to find all of the things on this list:
3. Special Activity Days
Pick a certain day each week that is set aside to be crafting day or baking day. Having a dedicated day to do some hands-on activities will give your child something to look forward to. You can get your child on board with the idea by having them choose the project to work on or the recipe to make. The two of you together can use sites like Pinterest to find something fun to create (and teach them a little about internet research and safety along the way). Then you’ll have fun reading and finding all of the materials or ingredients you’ll need.
Just think how many cool projects and recipes the two of you will have worked on by the end of the summer! When school starts again in the fall, their answer for, “What did you do all summer?” will be SO long!
4. Day Trip
Take a day trip every couple of weeks to a place you’ve both never been. Exploring and visiting a new place for the very first time together makes it all the more fun! Take pictures along the way and once you’re at your destination. Use the pictures on another day for a fun activity such as creating a photo book or decoupaging them onto wood to hang up in your child’s bedroom. Have your child write a story about the day or draw a picture of all of the things you saw and did. This will provide a great way for your child to share with others all about your trip!
5. Kid Plans the Day
Have a day where your child gets to pick what you’re going to do. Work together to make a list of the things that they would like to do over the summer. This could include fun activities, games they want to play, places they want to go, and even what they want to eat for lunch. Doing it together provides you the opportunity to steer them away from things that aren’t possible to do. When it’s their special day to plan the day, they can easily look at their list and make their choice for the day. They will be so excited that they get to be in charge and that you’re actually going to let them make ALL of the choices for once!
This list is short, but really the sky is the limit. Don’t be afraid to have a quiet day at home as well. Quiet days don’t have to be boring days. You just have to be creative and do something different together. Changing things up often is the key to keeping boredom away all summer long.
Now who is ready to get going and make some fun memories this summer?