These summer activities for kids are fun (except maybe the summer homework!), but they may not necessarily inspire those idyllic childhood memories of summer.
Yet these are the things that fill those long summer days spent at home. Work-at-home moms, in particular, need ideas for enjoyable summer activities that school-age kids can do on their own.
Of course, moms also may want to add in more special activities, like vacations, summer camp or these free summer fun ideas, to build those fond memories. Kids can blow through summer activities pretty quickly, so I find it helpful to have several options at the ready. And so, try some of these 100 summer fun ideas for kids and parents.
Setting up an art space--with paper, coloring books, glue, scissors, colored pencils and crayons are all readily available--will encourage kids to make art part of their daily routine. But even if you have an art space, you might have to provide some inspiration in the way of ideas and easy summer craft projects.
Depending on their ages, kids may need mom to oversee the use of the oven and/or do some chopping in advance. (Of course, buying pre-cut fruits and veggies saves you time.) But the summer--when there are fewer time pressures added by homework and other activities--is a good time to get kids cooking.
OK, this is probably not for every day but make time with friends part of your child's regular summer activities. School is an extremely social environment, and so summer, by contrast, can feel isolating to children who've become accustomed to the constant companionship of friends. Hosting a play date, especially if your child is school-age, doesn't mean you can't work. In fact, often you can get more accomplished when your child is happily playing with a friend.
Good old-fashioned board games and cards keep kids busy while you work. Of course, for some games you'll need to have more than one kid in the house to play. (Think play date!) However, there are some games for one and brainteaser games that can keep one child occupied this summer. Games for kids, however, let mom work when kids know how to be good sports. Otherwise, you'll end up as referee. And if your kids are old enough to play outside unattended, don't overlook outdoor fun like shooting a game of HORSE at the driveway basketball hoop or sending them out to play tag.
Reading for enjoyment every day is a great habit to teach your kids. And summer--without the fatigued of homework and school activities--is the time to instill the reading bug. And reading is a summer activity that's good for just one kid.
Join the local library summer reading club. Check out summer reading lists to find books that will keep kids' interest. Try wordless books for new or struggling readers. Buy comics or magazines for your kids. Setting aside a certain time every day for reading helps get kids in the habit. Join a summer reading program or start your own.
Spending 15 minutes a day writing (or drawing) in a journal will give your child a head start on the old back-to-school question: What did you do on your summer vacation? Writing in a journal will not keep a child occupied for long periods while you work, but it's a good way to start the day or transition from one activity to another.
If your child's school gives summer homework or summer reading, have your child work on it a little each day or each week. You'll both be happy it's finished at the end of summer when you're rushing around getting ready for back to school. Keep and eye on your child's progress but don't give too much homework help. Working on it a little each day teaches your child how to manage long-term projects. The homework becomes an everyday summer activity rather than a monumental end of summer task. The purpose of summer homework is to keep kids' skill sharp, so waiting until the end of summer may mean re-learning forgotten skills. Make a plan for summer homework early in the summer. And stick to it!
Have a jigsaw puzzle going somewhere in the house or keep puzzle books handy. Puzzles keep kids (and moms) mentally active. Some kids are more into puzzles than others. Don't expect them to spend hours working on puzzles in a day. Doing only a little bit of a large puzzle each day or completing a 100-puzzle piece puzzle all at once keeps kids from getting bored with it.