I look forward to summer break and the end of school. A break from rushing out the door every morning to get to school by 7:55 a.m., a break from the daily homework, tests, and quizzes that make me feel like I am reliving my own school years. I frequently tell my kids, “I already passed 6th grade (or whatever grade they are in).” But with summer break, comes the long days and active kids that need something to do to fill their time. Today, I’ve got some summer activities for kids that busy moms will love. These ideas will help you stay calm and cool all summer.
I look at the calendar and each day the start of summer break is getting a little closer. It’s the first year I decided not to enroll my kids in summer camp. That means I need ideas to keep my kids busy and active this summer, so I don’t lose my mind!
5 Summer Activities for Kids that Make Mom’s Love
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Use Themed Days or Weeks
One of the best ways to keep your kids busy and entertained during the summer is to have either a daily activity plan or a weekly theme for your activities.
For example, if you follow a daily plan, you could have something like this:
2-3 hours – daily activity based on a theme. Here are some daily theme ideas:
Movie Monday (either at home or at the theatre – check local theatres for summer movie programs with special discount prices)
Teach Me Tuesday (learn something new – history, science project, cooking, drama)
Working On It Wednesday (practice a new skill – art, painting, riding a bike, playing piano, any new skill your kids want to learn). If you are interested in a cooking class, this Kids Cooking Real Food is a great summer course you can do together.
Try It Thursday – do something you have never done before. Be super creative.
Fantastically Fun Friday – let the kids pick a fun activity to try, or have a swimming day. YMCA memberships or local community pools offer lots of activity of fun all summer.
1 hour of reading
1 hour of screen time (either TV or games)
1 hour of outside time – kids need time outside to ride bikes, run, play and explore.
You could also do a weekly theme. You could have science week, history week, cooking week, outside week (everything you do is outside), park week (visit all the local parks), learn something new (every day learn something new), and do something for others week (give your time to others in the community). You can come up with many themed ideas based on your kid’s interests.
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Encourage Reading or Learning Activities
When I was growing up, I remember reading all the time. Maybe it was because we didn’t have hundreds of TV channels, and we didn’t have tablets. Being a good reader is still such an important thing for our kids to learn.
Our kids can read on their tablets, or they can read a traditional book. As an adult, I read on my Kindle some days and traditional books other days. It’s important to encourage the habit of reading when our kids are young. Summer is a great time for reading.
Don’t forget the summer reading programs that reward kids for reading.
- For younger kids, Chuck E. Cheese Reading Program (10 tokens for reading a book every day for two weeks).
- Kids earn a free book for reading 8 books and recording them in their journal at Barnes and Noble
If your child really doesn’t like to read, you can also encourage learning activities. Some ideas for learning activities are science projects, history timelines, cooking lessons, and art projects. Projects usually require reading directions and following steps.
Make summer a time to spend a little time learning new things you don’t have time to do during the school year.
Do Free Activities
You don’t want summer to overwhelm your budget. Remember to include free activities into your summer.
Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy activities you might usually miss. You can hike, visit parks, catch fireflies, bake cookies, and so much more… Don’t think you have to spend lots of money to have a fun summer. Challenge yourself to come up with fun things you can do that don’t cost money.
Don’t forget your local library is a great resource. In addition to checking out books, you can also check out movies at most libraries, some libraries have summer movie times, and other summer learning activities.
If you need more help getting your list of free activities started, here are 75 Fun and Free Summer activities you can try.
Limit Screen Time
My kids love their “devices”. Either a Kindle or an iTouch, they love sitting for hours just playing games or watching TV shows on these devices. I am always thinking to myself, why not watch the TV the screen it’s bigger?
During summer it’s easy to let the “device” become the entertainment and taking them away can cause stress.
I encourage you to limit the time your kids are using electronic devices (including video games). Give them ideas to try new things and learn new things that don’t include screen time.
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Don’t Be Too Structured ~ Relax, It’s Summer
Part of having sanity this summer will be having a structure to your day and your week. You need a plan with activities and ideas to keep your kids busy or they will be creative in ways that will not make you happy.
BUT, you don’t have to structure everything. In fact, if you structure everything, it’s likely you will become stressed and unhappy because you are trying to do everything.
Remember, these ideas are to help you have a plan and structure to your summer days and keep your sanity, not drive you crazy trying to do it all.
So, relax Mom, and enjoy your summer. The best thing you can do this summer is to make special memories with your kids.
How do you keep your sanity during summer? What’s your favorite summer activity for kids?