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Inside: This list of summer activities for kids will help you make this summer more fun for your kids, encourage them to learn new things, and build happy memories together.
This summer doesn’t look at all as we imagined a few months ago. There will be no summer camp days, no family vacations far from home, no playdates with many kids.
For a while, I had no idea how to make this summer fun for the kids. This year was challenging for all of us so far, and I didn’t want us to miss the joy of the summer months as well.
One evening, just before the school ended, my son told me out of a sudden, as we were preparing for bedtime, that he is very excited about the summer vacation. This took me by surprise, since all our summer plans were canceled, including the fun vacation we planned months in advance.
“Aren’t you sad that you can’t go on vacation? Or to summer camp? Or meet with all your friends?”, I asked.
“That’s what I can’t do, but think about all the things I can do! Going to the beach, flying a kite, walking in the forest, riding my bike, playing all day!”, he answered, with a big smile on his face.
And he was so right! I spent too much time focusing on the negative things instead of finding ways to make it fun despite the challenging times we are facing.
This year, kids need a summer filled with joy and connection more than ever! And making this summer more fun for them doesn’t have to be complicated!
If you want to plan a simple, stress-free, and fun summer for your kids, here are some easy ideas to try this year (while social distancing)!
1. Encourage kids to learn new things through online classes and virtual camps
I wanted to use the summer months as an opportunity to encourage my son to explore the topics he is interested in and learn new things, so I looked for online classes and camps that would make learning fun for him.
This is how I discovered Outschool, an online platform with great online classes and virtual camps for kids.
What I love most about the classes on Outschool is that they are live classes where my son can interact with a teacher and other kids his age. This makes learning more fun, and the time he spends attending the classes doesn’t feel like “screen time” at all, like it happens with the learning apps.
Helpful links if you want to try this idea:
- if you are trying Outschool for the first time, you can use this referral link to get a $20 credit towards your first class
- here is a complete review about our experience with Outschool, including a list of some of my son’s favorite classes so far.
2. Invite your kids to discover lovely books every day using a digital library.
We started using Epic! (a digital library with awesome books for kids) a few months ago and we used it a lot during the lockdown.
I use it both for connecting with my son through story time and for encouraging him to discover books on his own.
I created a 30-day reading challenge for us using the digital library and we had a wonderful time discovering all the stories.
We also started a reading journal to record the stories we read together, and my son enjoyed it a lot!
Helpful links if you want to try this idea:
- to check out the Epic! digital library, you can join for free for 30 days here
- our 30-day reading challenge (including 30 books you can find on Epic!).
3. Plan nature activities to enjoy with your kids.
The easiest way to keep kids active (and happy) while social distancing is to plan more nature activities together.
Here are some ideas you can try we tried so far:
- exploring our favorite nature trails (we use this book to make the walks more interesting: Backpack Explorer: On the Nature Trail: What Will You Find?)
- discovering new nature trails near home
- going on a nature scavenger hunt (here is a printable nature scavenger hunt to download and print)
- going to the beaches close to our home early in the morning (when they are almost empty and we have a lot of space to run and play)
- exploring small natural parks near home (my son loves to ride his bike or scooter all around the parks)
- starting a nature journal to document the walks (we also collect small items to add to our nature basket)
- drawing or playing card games while sitting on a picnic blanket in nature.
4. Create a summer bucket list with simple activities that will bring joy to the kids
Invite the kids to come up with ideas and include activities that you can easily put into practice while social distancing.
Here are some ideas:
- Bike ride on a scenic road
- Spend a day or night in a tent
- Have a special parent-child date
- Have a family pajama party
- Play sidewalk chalk games
- Go stargazing
- Collect rocks and paint them
- Collect seashells
- Have a family movie marathon
- Watch a fun TV show together (we watch “The floor is lava” on Netflix and my son likes it a lot).
5. Set a special time every day to connect with your kids (and add more fun to it)
Spending one-on-one time with every child is the best way to build a strong relationship and make them feel loved.
I usually plan 20 minutes of quality time with my oldest son every day (besides any family activities we do together).
We usually talk about our day, we share things we like, we fill in his daily Q&A journal and sometimes his gratitude journal, we make plans for the next day, or we just cuddle on the couch drinking chocolate milk.
During the summer you can add more fun to the daily “mommy and me” time, focusing on what your child likes to do the most.
Here are some easy ideas:
- a week-long card game championship – You play a card game every day and keep the score in a notebook. We like to play Rat-a-Tat Cat and Sleeping Queens because they are quick and fun games.
- art journals – Start one art journal for your child and one for you and draw / paint together, while talking about your artworks.
- fun walk – If you have a coffee shop or an ice-cream shop close to your home, go on a weekly walk to the shop and get your child’s favorite treat, then enjoy it while walking around the neighborhood.
- Lego time – Some time ago, we watched “Lego Masters” on Hulu and my son came up with the idea of creating our own special project and work on them as a team. You can work on a project for several days in a row and build something interesting together (a city, a farm, a space station, etc).
- a week-long project – Do a fun project together and work on every day for a week. Depending on your child’s interests, you can try different ideas like creating artworks to decorate their room, plant a small garden (in the back yard or on the balcony), create a photo project documenting your child’s favorite things, build a nice birdhouse and decorate it, etc.
Having this regular time just for you and your child will not only bring you closer, but it will also improve their mood and make parenting easier because you will face fewer negative behaviors.
Bonus: Keep your kids busy and happy using the printable Summer Fun Kit
If you need more ideas to keep kids busy this summer, check out the printable Summer Fun Kit.
It includes easy and fun ideas to try with your kids this summer, printable games and activities, and more.
photos from depositphotos.com