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How far along into summer vacation are you? Since our kids don’t go back to school until September, we’re not even half-way through summer break. Since many kids go back to school in August, we will be starting to talk about back to school very soon. But for those of us who have a month or more left of summer holidays, we wanted to share these fun ideas for kid-friendly summer activities.
Thanks to Katie Ekstrom, 2nd grade teacher and Summer’s Cool camp director at North Park Elementary School for sharing these summer fun suggestions.
We’ve shared lots of summer activities before, but if you are running out of ideas to keep your kids entertained while school is out, try these other family activities and make lasting memories together…
Kid-Friendly Summer Activities
- Be A Tourist in Your Own City: Here in Chicago we have the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, Millennium Park — the city is chock-full of family friendly places to explore. Look for those options in your town, whether it’s an urban attraction, a cultural institution or a beautiful park, mountain or farm.
Up the ante by adding interactive elements such as a scavenger hunt – little kids can search for “clues” while older kids can record what they’ve learned in a special journal dedicated just for this purpose.
- Plant a garden: Working with your kids to plant a vegetable garden — or even some patio tomato pots — and not only will you teach where our food comes from, but you’ll provide an outlet for a favorite summer past time: playing in the dirt!
You could also paint rocks to add as special decorations or plant markers in your garden. Try some of these creative rock painting ideas.
- Backyard camping: You don’t need to pack up the car to have an outdoor adventure. Grab a patch of backyard, pitch a tent, spread out some sleeping bags, light a fire and toast some s’mores. You may not see as many stars, but you’ll still capture the feeling of being in the outdoors.
- Water, water, water: Hot sun and high temperatures mean you can’t go wrong with any activity that involves water. Many of the easiest kid-friendly summer activities involved water.
Filling up some water balloons, pulling out the sprinkler, or even washing the car together will provide cool summer fun in your own backyard.
- Volunteer together: Serve food at a soup kitchen, volunteer at an animal shelter, pick up litter in the local park — not only will you reinforce lessons about helping others, but you could inspire some important conversations, too.
Check out the great experience Susan and her 12 year had volunteering at a food bank.
- Reading list: In addition to school-based reading lists that involve checking off completed books or counting up pages, I recommend clocking different types of reading, too, especially for new readers. Have them find different places they can read a book, or find all the different things they can read, like a menu, or a grocery list.
And remember to look past gender when suggesting your book titles for your kids… here are some fantastic books for kids.
- Get kids cooking at home: With lunches at home and no homework to take up those early evening hours, summer is the prime time to have kids help in the kitchen. Get them involved in menu planning, assisting with grocery shopping, chopping and stirring during meal prep, or all of the above.
Here is a fun way to get small children excited about cooking. You never know – you might have a Top Chef in the making!
We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer vacation with your kids!
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