Summer is here and the kids are out of school. For many parents, it’s tough to keep kids busy, entertained, and active (as well as away from too much screen time). Here are some great ways to keep your kids occupied (and happy!) this summer.
Boredom is OK
First, it’s OK for your kids to be a little bored. These days, most kids are over-scheduled. Sometimes it’s hard as parents to let our kids have downtime and fend for themselves. Leave them to their own devices and they will come up with something to do. This helps teach creativity and independence. Maybe they will draw, read, or decide to bake banana bread. This may be tough to do at first but it’s good for them (and you).
Check Out the Library
Most local libraries have summer reading programs to inspire even less-than-enthusiastic readers. Make a trip to the library a weekly or biweekly ritual and have fun with it. Get involved yourself and model good reading habits. You can even start your own family book club. Have everyone read the same book and designate a time when you discuss it together. Or, create a storytelling hour when you read aloud to your children and their friends. This adds socializing to the mix. There are so many things you can do with books and reading depending on your children’s ages.
Get Into Board Games
If you don’t already have a variety of age-appropriate board games and puzzles, invest in a few. They are inexpensive and provide hours of fun for the whole family. Older kids may be helpful in choosing their own games. Games and puzzles are particularly good for the occasional rainy summer day when you are stuck inside. Have a game day, make fun snacks, and play together.
If your kids are feeling especially creative, have them invent their own board game or puzzle. You can help them with ideas or merely supply the craft materials like cardboard, glue, markers, and scissors.
Start a Business
Keep your kids busy and teach them how to earn, save, and invest money at the same time. Maybe you are planning a family garage sale or you are helping your budding entrepreneur get odd jobs. Either way, have fun and learn valuable lessons about money. Younger kids can help plan for a late summer garage sale by sorting toys they no longer need or play with. Older kids can advertise for jobs such as mowing lawns, pulling weeds, and babysitting. Once they are paid, you can guide them with their own bank account and teach them about investing.
Go (Backyard) Camping
Summer is always better with a camping trip. And, you don’t have to go far to camp (although a family getaway is a great idea). A fun way to jazz up a run-of-the-mill Wednesday is to camp out in the backyard. If your kids are old enough, they can do this by themselves. They will love it. Invest in an inexpensive fire pit, light a campfire, and make s’mores. Cuddle up in the tent and watch a movie on your computer, bring a flashlight and a good book to share, or tell ghost stories.
Plant a Garden
Go outdoors and get into gardening. Visit your local gardening center to select fruits, vegetables, and flowers that easily grow in your climate. Let your kids choose what they want to plant. Encourage them to follow the plant from seedling to bloom, and to be responsible for weeding, watering, and other garden maintenance. Gardening is a great skill-building activity that shows tangible short-term results. Kids will love being outdoors and seeing their hard work pay off.
Makeover a Room
When it’s just too hot to be outside, consider an indoor project like making over a room in your home. Make it fun for kids and redo their bedroom. Maybe they are transitioning from middle school to high school, or are ready to move into a big kid’s bed. Whatever the occasion, summer is a great time to do a room makeover.
Paint is a great pick-me-up for any room and kids can have a blast choosing colors. Depending on their age, let them choose a fun paint color and help you do an accent wall. Another fun way to use paint is to scour the thrift stores and revive your finds. There are always cool pieces like chairs, bookshelves, and dressers. You can transform these with a new coat of paint.
Another great facelift for any kid’s room is to swap out the entry door with a sliding barn door. Barn doors are space savers because they slide rather than open into rooms and out in hallways, they increase your home’s value, and they come in a variety of finishes, colors, and styles. For kids who like to draw, make lists, and otherwise keep track of things, a chalkboard barn door might be just the ticket. For kids with a more traditional sensibility a more rustic look might appeal. You can also go with a DIY unfinished barn door and paint it whatever wonderful color you choose. There are so many options. Need help choosing the right barn door for you? We are here to help.