Summer vacation is here, which means the kids are home from school full-time until fall. We’re about a month into the break, and you may be struggling to come up with ways to keep your little ones entertained for the rest of their break without doing the same thing over and over, or plopping them in front of the electronic babysitter. With that in mind, here are some unique ways to play with your kids this summer that you might not have thought of.
1. Institute Family Game Day
You don’t have to wait for a power outage to pull out your collection of board games. Instead, pick one day of the week to be family game day and spend the entire day playing and competing at various board games. Stock up on easy-to-grab snacks like meat and cheeses or veggie platters, and play to your heart’s content. If you get bored, or one of the younger kids gets upset, switch to a different game. If you don’t want to assign one day of the week for board games, save this event for rainy days when you’re going to be stuck inside anyway.
2. Go for a Hike
Don’t stay in during the summer, even though it’s probably a million degrees outside. Instead, find a local hiking trail and head out for a family hike! Kids of all ages can enjoy hiking through the wilderness. If you have young ones, be prepared to carry them, even if you choose a family-friendly hiking trail. Make sure you have plenty of water and snacks with you, and let your kids set the pace so they’re more comfortable while you’re exploring your local wilderness. There’s nothing more adventurous than going hiking with kids.
3. Have a Crafty Afternoon
If it’s too hot to play outside, or a thunderstorm has you trapped indoors, why not plan a crafty afternoon? You can all work on one project, work on separate crafts or break out all the arts-and-crafts supplies and go crazy. See who can come up with the most creative thing, then go out as a family for ice cream to celebrate. The only limits are your imagination and your ability to Google. If you don’t consider yourself a crafty individual, here are 100 different projects to get you started.
4. Go to the Playground
Don’t let your kids spend their entire summer vacation indoors in front of computers or game consoles. If you’ve got a local playground — or even one that’s not so local — get out of the house and visit it. Don’t set your kids loose as soon as you get there. Instead, why not get involved in the games? You won’t be intruding — they’ll be so happy to have you there to play the role of the giant or dragon they have to slay, they won’t even remember you’re a grown-up.
Playing with them doesn’t only help keep kids entertained, but it also ensures they stay safe. Keep your eyes open while you’re enjoying the game — 40% of playground injuries happen because there isn’t enough supervision.
5. Find a Pick-Your-Own Farm
Summertime is harvest time for lots of different fruits and vegetables, and depending on where you live, you might be close to pick-your-own farms where you can collect fresh, seasonal produce for a flat fee. This activity can be a memorable way to spend the afternoon while teaching your kids where their food comes from. You’ll also come home with a ton of farm-fresh produce, which makes this activity a win-win-win in our book.
Don’t Worry — Fall Is Coming
If you’re running out of ideas or the kids are acting out because they’re bored, give a few of these activities a try. You might be surprised how much your kids will enjoy picking fruits or playing with you on the playground. Of course, you can always go to a theme park or the beach — typical summertime activities — but this way, you at least have a few options so you can switch things up. Don’t rely on computers or game consoles to keep your kids entertained this summer. Get out of the house, explore the woods and see what your hometown has to offer.