The longer days and pleasant weather of summer can be relaxing, but even the most prepared families can still experience boredom. Here are some ideas for enjoyable summer activities that kids and parents alike can enjoy together.
Visit the farmers market
If there’s a farmers market in your area, it can be a great place for the whole family. Your child can help you choose the fruits, vegetables, meat, and other food for the week, and learn about where our food comes from. Vendors at the farmers market are more than happy to help educate your child about what they do, and your child can feel a greater connection to their community and local farmers.
Relax with some good books
A love of reading is an important skill to encourage in young children. According to the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, observation and teacher assessments of older children “show positive effects of reading to children at age 4 to 5 on their reading skills at later age.” Summer is a great time to relax with some books, no matter where you are. The Association of Library Service to Children has a list of new books for kids, sorted by age group.
Create an obstacle course
Using items you likely already have at home, you can create a fun obstacle course in your backyard or local park. Look for ways to develop both your child’s fine motor skills (activities that promote balance and dexterity) and gross motor skills (activities such as climbing, jumping, and running). For some added fun, your child can invite some friends along and make it more of a game.
Go camping in the backyard
Whether or not your family enjoys regular camping getaways, sleeping in a tent in your own backyard can be a fun way to spend time outdoors while still being close to everything you need at home. To keep it as authentic as possible, you can pack a cooler with hot dogs, veggies, and drinks, and agree to go inside only if it’s absolutely necessary. Just like with regular camping, don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray.
Visit your local recreation center or library
Most recreation centers offer day programs for children, including swimming, sports, dance, and art. Many local libraries often hold story times for families in the community, as well as drop-in activities for kids to enjoy. Whether you want to spend an afternoon in a day program, or register your child for a multi-day program, your local recreation center, library, or summer camp can help.
Plan short trips
Whether or not your family has a big summer vacation planned, you can still enjoy shorter excursions closer to home. Some family-friendly day trip ideas include: visiting your local zoo, berry picking, a day at a children’s museum, and a water park. Overnight trips are possible with young children as well, even toddlers. Choose a destination that offers family-friendly activities, accommodation, and restaurants, and keep travel time within your child’s limits to reduce the risk of meltdowns.
Take advantage of the longer days of summer to help your child beat boredom, learn new things, keep active, and explore their community. These child-friendly summer activities will create lasting memories for the whole family.