Your kids are signed up for summer camp. They have a play date once a week with a neighbor. Their cousins are coming to visit for a week in July. You are ready for summer. Well, sort of. Despite trying your best to plan out summer vacations with as many activities to keep your kids occupied as possible, the reality is you just can’t plan for every moment.
Don’t fret. We’ve compiled a list of activities that are easy and fun for kids—to help keep them busy, active, and engaged while cutting down on the stress for you.
Make a Safe Outdoor Space
When the weather is nice, there’s no time to waste indoors. Give your kids a unique space to hang out in, like a teepee. You can buy them prebuilt online or build one yourself with a few boards and old sheets. To elevate the fun factor, let your kids design their own teepees with bright-colored fabric paints or markers. Stack pillows, mats, and a blanket or two inside, and your kids have a place to keep cool, share stories, read books, draw, and let their imaginations run wild.
Sprinkle on Some Fun
Summer temperatures and humidity can make being outside unbearable at times. To give kids a way to spend time outdoors without overheating, pick up a couple kid-friendly sprinklers. From multiple spouts to water that shoots in all directions to inflatable beach balls that spray squiggly streams across the yard, there’s a sprinkler for any age, any group size. Plus, a little extra water for your lawn won’t hurt when mid-July heatwaves hit.
Give Them a Garden
Not much compares to the taste of homegrown veggies and fresh fruits, and while it may sound like a lot of work to set your kids up with a garden to keep them busy this summer, there are several things you can do to make gardening easy, simple, and stress-free.
Find a small space in your yard or buy large indoor planters if outdoor space is limited. Choose plants that are easy to grow and fun for kids to watch flourish, like basil, mint, and parsley. Throw in some tomato plants and varieties of lettuces and peppers, and your kids will be able to watch their gardens grow and increase their intake of healthy veggies.
Sometimes the most fun things are found where you least expect them—like the garbage can. Instead of throwing away paper towel holders, old juice bottles, and plastic bags, collect them and create a craft station for your kids and their friends. If you have a workbench in your garage, consider letting the kids take over for the summer—or use a tarp to protect your sidewalks or yard from glues, paints, and other craft supplies.
Fill the old bottles with dried beans, feathers, beads, glitter, sequins—you name it—so kids have easy access to a variety of decorations. Pair these with the paper towel holders, old jars, t-shirts you don’t wear anymore, or poster boards, and your kids have their very own arts and crafts station to let their minds wander and their creativity shine.
Take a Hike
At any time of year, it’s smart to take advantage of any state and local parks nearby. This summer, try to make a plan to go on one hike each week as a family. Exploring the great outdoors together is a great way to spend quality family time, get the kids outside, learn about the unique things nature has to offer, and stay fit and active.
To make it even more memorable, take pictures that you can print out at the end of summer and encourage your kids to gather rocks, leaves, sticks, geodes, or shells they find. Once the warm weather comes to an end, you can make a summer memory board together with all the treasures gathered from the last few months.
With a little creativity and imagination, your kids can spend their summer with an array of fun activities they can do outdoors and mostly at home, making planning easier for you. Also, don’t forget that it’s okay to let kids be bored sometimes. From boredom can come some of the best ideas. Happy summer!