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Most kids want to spend their summer playing in the sunshine and having fun. I can’t blame them! When the weather is beautiful, I want to play outside too! I know that many parents worry about too much TV and video game time over the summer and about trying keep kids’ brains active so that when school or homeschool starts up again, their kids haven’t forgotten what they spent all school year learning.
I’ve assembled this list of fun activities to engage kids over the summer. I hope you are able to use it and that you and your little ones have fun learning together this summer.
Oh, how I love science experiments. And my kids love them, too! There are so many fun experiments available online. I especially love Steve Spanger Science. There’s enough on that site alone to keep you and your kids busy all summer! If you want to take it a step further, you can download these free lab sheets and have your kiddos document their findings.
2. Art Projects
I know, I know. Art is messy, but so is life. And your kids will learn so much while creating. There are so many wonderful resources online and at your local library for art. I love The Artful Parent. I also love The Usborne Art Treasury. It’s a great resource to learn about some amazing artists while making a mess. I mean art.
Whether you sign your kiddos up for piano lessons for the summer, try free lessons online, pick up a recorder and a tambourine, introduce them to Mozart and Beethoven, or let them dance around the house to They Might Be Giants, music is an amazing way to help promote brain development and happy kids.
Check out your local library! Our local library system has so many amazing summer programs. From magic shows to story time to animal presentations, there’s something exciting going on every week. A lot of libraries have great summer reading programs with incentives to keep your kiddos reading all summer.
My kids love documentaries. If they are going to watch TV, at least they can learn something. Netflix has a lot of great options for kids. Here’s a great list of nature documentaries by Raising Lifelong Learners.
6. Museum Trips
This is a great way to learn and get your kids out of the house at the same time. I don’t know about your kids, but mine are great at turning a clean house into a giant disaster area in mere seconds, so sometimes it’s nice to kick them out of the house for the day and learn somewhere new. I am blessed to live in an area with several free museums and we take advantage of them frequently.
7. Day Trips
Maybe the idea of getting the kids out of the house was really appealing to you. I don’t blame you. It’s good for moms and kids alike to get a change in scenery from time to time. Where can you drive within an hour or so from your house? The beach? The mountains? A state park? Maybe a battlefield or other historic site? Take advantage of your surroundings. If you head into the wild, take nature journals and let your kids draw and write about their experiences. If you find something historic, do some research on it before you go and discuss it with your kids before, during, and after the trip. This is another great time for the kids to journal. Depending on the significance of the historic site, you may be able to find books or movies to expand upon what you learned. I’ve lived with kids in three states in three very different parts of the USA and I’ve never had trouble finding places like these nearby.
8. Math Games
You can make math fun and help your kids stay sharp. There are lots of games online for free. Depending on their age and ability, there are also some really fun board games out there. My kids love any kind of learning games.
I love audiobooks. Your local library probably has a ton. Best of all, they can keep your kids happy on long road trips! Driving six hours to see Grandma? Get an audiobook! Heading to the beach for a week away? Get an audiobook! I love audiobooks because it’s a wonderful way to introduce kids to literature they can appreciate but maybe not quite read on their own yet.
10 . Creative Writing
Check out these writing prompts I wrote. Or write a story together. Take turns and create a silly story. Another great idea is to get a blank book and let your child illustrate it as he or she writes. Try buying your child a cool notebook and asking them to write a little every day. Just keep them writing because it will serve them well their whole lives.
I hope these ideas helped! Let me know what you do to keep your kiddos engaged in the summer in the comments.
It doesn’t matter if your kiddos are homeschooled, in public school, or in private school, it’s important to keep them writing year round. But when it’s summer and their days are filled with swimming pools, trips to the beach, and lots of time with their friends and their nights are filled with lightning bugs, barbeques and fireworks, it can be a bit difficult to get them to focus on writing.
Writing prompts can be a great way to motivate kids to get started. Just a few minutes of writing a day will help keep their skills sharp for when school or homeschool starts up again.
- Your family is on a camping trip in the mountains. After everyone else falls asleep, you need to use the restroom. You unzip your tent to find that a strange light has filled your campsite. You head out to investigate and you find…
- You head to the swimming pool with your best friend one hot afternoon. When you get there, you find that it’s filled with Jell-O! What do you do? Do you dive in the sweet, sticky mess?
- You are swimming in the ocean when a giant shark swims up to you. Before you can scramble out of the water, the shark lifts his head out of the water and speaks to you! What does he say? What do you do?
- Describe the perfect ice cream sundae.
- It’s your first trip to sleep away camp. When you get to your cabin, the other kids tell you it’s haunted. That night, you hear a spooky sound. What happens next?
- You are roasting marshmallows with your family one evening when you see something scurry across your back yard. You get up to investigate and find a unicorn hiding behind your oak tree! Do you tell anyone? What do you do?
- Your mom signs you up for a science camp. On the first day, the instructor tells the group that he’s made an amazing discovery he wants to share with the class. You are shocked when you find out that he…
- One day, you are boating with your dad. A large storm comes out of no where and your boat is thrown off course. You find yourself on an island in the middle of the ocean. What do you do? What happens on the island?
- Your teacher sent home a long list of books for summer reading. The only problem is that they are all in Chinese! What do you do?
- Your best friend’s family invited you to join them at their lakeside cabin for the summer. Your parents agree and you’re off for a summer of fun! But you discover something strange when you get there…
- On a trip to an amusement park with your family, you find an empty section of the park. A sign on the unlocked gate reads “Closed to the Public.” The rides are all running! They look even better than the rides in the rest of the park. Do you enter the restricted area? What happens?
- On a hot July afternoon you are riding your bike to your friend’s house. You hit a pothole and your tire pops! As you are checking out your tire, a strange woman approaches. She’s wearing wizards robes. She tells you that she’s come from another land. What do you do? What happens next?