How to keep the kids entertained this summer
Oh the dog days of summer! A time to kick back, relax and have fun in the sun. But while the kids are glad school is out, many parents are left wondering how to keep their kids occupied and engaged throughout these three months. Although summer camp is a great option, it’s not always attainable for families. The good news, however, is that there are plenty of free activities that can keep your kids entertained until they hop back on the school bus in September. Check out our list of fun summer activities for kids.
Join a Summer Reading Program
One of the best ways to fuel a kid’s imagination is through reading. It’s also a great way to keep the kids occupied (and quiet) throughout the summer. There are a number of sponsored summer reading programs. For example, the Barnes & Noble Sumer Reading Triathlon awards kids with a free book when they complete a reading journal. In addition, Sylvan learning offers a Book Adventure, in which kids read a book, complete an online quiz and earn prizes. These summer reading programs accommodate all ages, and can be even more fun if kids participate with their siblings and friends.
Start a Lemonade Stand
Lemonade stands are a great summer pastime, but they’re not just a way to get the kids out of the house – they can be a great platform for teaching kids about money, saving, and entrepreneurship. The lemonade stand is also a great way to build self-confidence in kids. You’d be surprised how rewarding a “hard day’s work” can be for kids. Plus, with the money they earn from their hard work, they can purchase something they’ve been wanting.
Online Learning Programs
According to the National Summer Learning Association, 66 percent of teachers have to spend three to four weeks re-teaching students course material at the beginning of the school year. It’s called the “summer slide,” in which kids aren’t engaged throughout the summer and lose a lot of the knowledge they gained in the year prior. So while you want your kids to kick back and enjoy the summer, you want to make sure that they’re learning along the way. Programs like CK-12’s BrainFlex app allow you to do just that. The program offers quizzes, games and real-world simulations across a number of math and science concepts so kids can have fun, while learning.
Turn Up The Music
Studies have shown that listening to music engages areas of the brain which are involved in paying attention, making predictions and updating events in our memory, so why not let your kids crank the tunes this summer? If you’re concerned about data streaming, don’t worry, you don’t need to break out your CDs. In fact, there are many new services like T-Mobile’s Music Freedom which allow unlimited streaming on all tablets, smartphones, and smartwatches. Spotify also offers an unlimited streaming and downloads for a flat rate.
Break Out the Arts & Crafts
In the time of Pinterest, everyone is an arts and crafts pro. Whether the kids want to build their own bird feeder, or create their own constellation jar, the possibilities are endless. Participating in arts and crafts is a great way to keep kids occupied and spur their creative side.
Check In with Local Community Centers
Many community centers offer free summer programs for kids, so if you’re looking to get the kids out of the house that’s your best bet. In addition, many local YMCAs have pools that you can visit for free (or for a small fee) on those days when the heat gets unbearable.
Build a Garden
Building a garden is a great way to keep kids busy during the summer and make your lawn look beautiful! Gardening is a skill built over time and while they may not realize it, most kids will be happy to have a green thumb when they get older. Kids can plant fruits, vegetables and flowers, water them daily and reap the benefits as they blossom.
Have your own tips for keeping kids busy during the summer? Share in the comments below!
Stephen Reynolds is a freelance journalist who covers shopping, entertainment and all things lifestyle. He is also an editor at www.UpwardOnward.com. Follow him on Twitter at @sreynoldswrites