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Summer Fun Ideas For Kids and Parents -- Part 1

Whether you work from home, are a stay-at-home parent or work outside the home, you need practical and money-saving ideas to keep your kids busy, particularly during the summer months. Otherwise, they may end up getting too much screen time, which is not good for their health (mental or physical).

Summer Activities for Kids

Check out this list of 100 things you and your kids can do to fight off summertime boredom. Don't let your kids have all the fun—many of these activities are fun for the whole family to share. So join in!

Whether you turn this list into your summer bucket list, or you just pick a few of your favorites, you will make some great memories. The key is to slow down and enjoy the summer months with your family.

Enjoy Nature

Take advantage of long sunny days by exploring the natural world (just don't forget the sunscreen). 

  1. Go bird watching. Take photos and keep track of your sightings. Use an app or guidebook to identify feathered friends.
  2. Grow fresh herbs in containers. Use old coffee cans, milk jugs, mason jars, plastic cups, or anything else you have around the house. Keep your herb garden on a patio or windowsill.
  3. Look for shapes in the clouds. Put a blanket in the grass and stare up at the sky. Take turns talking about what you see in the clouds.
  4. Make a bird feeder. Watch birds visit your yard and add to your list of bird sightings.
  5. Make fairy houses. Use moss, bark, and leaves to create a dwelling fit for Thumbelina.
  6. Pick your own. Find a farm with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, veggies, or flowers and get picking.
  7. Plant a butterfly or hummingbird garden, or create a backyard wildlife habitat.

Make the Most of Rainy Days

When the weather keeps you indoors, there's still plenty to do!

  1. Break out your movie collection or use Netflix. Have a movie marathon complete with popcorn.
  2. Build a fort. Put pillows in the living room or cardboard boxes in the yard.
  3. Build a Lego castle. Clear off a table and make it a family project. Work on it all summer.
  4. Camp in. Put the sleeping bags on the floor and have a family slumber party.
  5. Experiment with new hairdos. Let the kids try out non-permanent colors, braids, or a spiked look.
  6. Get an origami book and fun paper. Create fun animals and shapes. Give them to friends or family.
  7. Have breakfast in bed. Take turns being the server and the served.
  8. Hold marble races. Use an old pool noodle as the track. Simply cut it in half, making two tracks of equal length. Then, race the marbles down the tracks to see who has the fastest one.
  9. Make a time capsule. Have each family member write down something they are grateful for and include a special item in the time capsule. Then, store it away until a designated date. You can open it as early as Thanksgiving or as far off as high school graduation.
  10. Make paper airplanes. See whose airplane goes the farthest.
  11. Play a card game. Choose from crazy eights, spoons, go fish, or even poker. Take your pick. Or buy a board game for the family to enjoy.
  12. Play charades. Turn all the summer drama into a game.
  13. Rearrange the furniture. Give the kids graph paper and have them draw out a plan first.
  14. Set a goal and complete a home project. Whether it is cleaning the garage, organizing the basement, or redecorating the spare bedroom, find ways to let the kids help.

Experience Local Sites

Summer is ideal for a few staycation experiences. If you have friends or family visiting, bring them along to see what's special in your area.

  1. Eat at the counter of a diner. Let the kids enjoy greasy food and milkshakes.
  2. Find a free concert near you. Kick back and enjoy some tunes with the family.
  3. Go to a demolition derby. Expect to see some major crashes.
  4. Go to a flea market or garage sale. See if the kids are better negotiators than you.
  5. Go to a local carnival or county fair. Eat cotton candy, elephant ears, or something really bad at least once this summer.
  6. Pack a picnic. Plop down to eat it just about anywhere such as a free concert, at a playground, or in a state park.
  7. See a dramatic performance together. It doesn't matter if it's a puppet show in the park or a touring Broadway show, enjoy seeing it as a family.
  8. See a matinee. Find a bargain movie house and enjoy an afternoon at the movies.
  9. Take a garden gnome with you. Take the gnome's picture at each destination you visit. At the end of the summer, create a scrapbook with his photos.
  10. Take a road trip to a nearby city. Spend the night if you can or just make it a day trip exploring the sights
  11. Take in a minor-league baseball game. The parks are super family-friendly and there's always a fun giveaway or chance to win a prize.
  12. Visit a historic house or farm. Learn how times have changed and what people back then lived without.
  13. Visit a local farmers' market. Feast on the fruits and veggies of the season and enjoy a few locally-made treats.

Use Your Brain

Avoid the summer slide by keeping kids thinking and learning while school is out.

  1. Build your brain. These brainteaser games can help.
  2. Get a book of riddles. See if you can stump each other; then write your own riddles.
  3. Get the summer homework done. Not exactly fun, but you'll be happy to get it out of the way.
  4. Have a puzzle race. Use 100-piece puzzles and see who finishes first.
  5. Interview an older relative. Write out your family history.
  6. Join a summer reading club at your library. Or create your own, keeping a list of all the books read over the summer. Parents can participate too. Just don't expect a prize, because your kids can probably read way more books than you do!
  7. Master a new skill together. Learn to juggle, play the harmonica, or sew.
  8. Read a chapter book aloud. Plan to read a chapter or more a night. You can even read a whole series together.
  9. Show the kids that science is fun. Check out the 4-H Stem Lab online.
  10. Write and illustrate a comic book. Make it a group effort or let everyone do their own.
  11. Write in a journal each day. Allow older teens to create a bullet journal if they prefer. Then, at the end of the summer share selections with each other about the highlights of summer.

Watch for more ideas next week.

(Partially reprinted from verywellfamily.com)

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