Do your kids have the summertime blahs? As the long days of summer stretch on, it becomes a challenge to get kids up and going, especially if they don’t have planned, structured activities. Here are some ideas to kickstart some summer fun for bored little ones:
Gardening can be an easy way for kids of all ages to discover their nurturing side. Summer is a great time to try growing herbs or vegetables. Find small pots for your kitchen window or backyard and fill them with seeds or young seedlings. Try sprouting your own seedlings with your favorite fruit or vegetable scraps. Kids can check daily progress and handle watering duties.
When school is out for the summer, some kids lose as much as two to three months of reading and math skills. Fight against that summer slide with interactive educational apps that can be downloaded to a phone or tablet. Bonus - it will make screen time less mind-numbing and more productive.
If your child loves story time, take advantage of free digital books that can be downloaded from most public libraries. In a few clicks, you can expand your home library to tens of thousands of titles. Kids can read Kindle and eBooks on mobile devices and pop in earbuds to listen to audio books. Digital books are also a great way to keep kids occupied during travel and while out on errands with you.
Stir up the little chef in your child with some basic cooking lessons. They can be your helper during dinner prep or do something on their own like decorate cookies or cupcakes, make salads or set the table. Little ones can use a plastic knife to cut up soft fruit, assemble ingredients or help with cleanup.
It is never too early to teach kids about money. You can show them how to count their savings, make goals and figure out how much money they need to reach them. For example, do they want a new toy? A new outfit? A candy bar? Task them with chores to earn their own money. This can help motivate children to pitch in around the house as they see what the money they earn can buy.
As the Olympics captures the attention of families around the globe, channel that enthusiasm into kids creating their own activities. Get a group together to stage their own Olympics in your backyard. They can even create events and teams to compete. Host an opening ceremony to start the games and award ribbons to those who place in each sport.
Get kids out of the house and into a family activity with a scavenger hunt. Take a family stroll after dinner in the cooler hours and make a list of things you might find on your walk. This could be things you collect in a bucket, like leaves or rocks, or things you see, like a blue car or a red bicycle. Kids can do this with their friends, capturing images of what they see on a smartphone and comparing who gets the most.
Take your child to the craft store and have them pick out their own journal. Challenge them to be creative and write or draw their summer story with a daily entry. Encourage them to fill the pages with whatever they want, such as drawings, dreams, favorite foods of the day, letters to a far-away family member or goals for the future.
Family video calls
If the COVID pandemic taught us anything, it’s we can do just about anything on video. Start up a weekly family call with those far and near, even if it’s just to get together on Sunday nights for a half-hour ice cream social. It’s another way kids can feel connected to extended family.
Public libraries have a wealth of free programming to engage people of all ages during the summer. Head to your local library to find out about speakers, crafts projects, reading programs and more.
If your child seems burned out on their friends or complains that they have no friends, go to neighborhood groups on social media to find like-minded parents with kids of the same ages. Organize an outing to a playground or park. This can be a great way for kids to make new friends and try new activities. It is also a good way for parents to widen their circle in the community.
The craft store is a treasure trove of activities for a bored kid. From building model planes to baking, scrapbooking, knitting and science experiments, your local craft shop can be the key to getting a child excited about tacking a new project or learning a new skill.
After a year of online school and remote activities, some kids just forget how fun it is to be outside. Think about your own childhood and things you used to do before life was “all screens, all the time.” Encourage your child to get together with neighborhood friends and put on a play, ride bikes, decorate the driveway with sidewalk chalk or turn on the garden hose and play in the yard.
Get creative to knock out the summertime blahs and get bored kids excited about new activities.
Reviewed July 2023
Julie Landry Laviolette is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance, health and living well. Find her on Twitter at @JulieLavio.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.