Now that school is out for the summer you might be wondering about the best ways to engage young active minds. My best advice would be to go outside and explore all the natural wonders of your environment. A vast majority of my favorite childhood memories come from the great outdoors, so I wanted to share a comprehensive list of summertime activities that won’t break the bank. Once you start exploring your surroundings, you’ll be surprised at the things you notice.
You’re probably already aware of the classic game hopscotch, but that’s only the beginning when it comes to the many ways in which sidewalk chalk can be used. Chalk is an excellent way for your little one to practice writing letters, drawing shapes, and using their imagination. The best part about this activity is it's water-soluble which drastically reduces clean up time.
This is a classic way to help your child learn how to write letters and words. First, take a piece of white chalk and write whatever you’d like your child to practice – it can range from upper and lowercase letters to sight words, numbers, and their name. Then have them trace it with a few different colors of chalk. As they add more and more colors, they’ll see a rainbow forming.
Write the letters you’d like your child to practice and draw a cute carrot around each one. Then arm your child with a watering can or spray bottle and give them instructions like “water the carrot that makes an ‘ahhh’ sound” or “get the carrot wet that has a ‘P’ on it”.
For younger kids, keep it simple and have them go hunting to find items that match your chalk colors.
Make a fun life‐sized maze and navigate cars (or just yourself) through from start to finish.
Use active instructions for your kids to follow while navigating a custom course. Draw squiggly lines to follow, straight lines to jump over, and spirals to spin on!
Summertime is known for sweltering heat which means incorporating water into your outdoor activities is a surefire way to cool down. Although you could plan a trip to your local waterpark, this excursion can become quite expensive. By creating your own aquatic oasis at home, you can tailor the activities to suit your child’s age group and save some money at the same time. Besides the ideas down below, keep in mind that community pools and beaches are another cost-effective way to spend time outside without breaking a sweat (or the bank).
Even though you might have lived in the same town for a while, there are still plenty of new places to discover. I remember my great grandma taking me to various playgrounds nearby and my grandmother taking me to the library. These somewhat insignificant outings turned out to help build my love for reading and nature. Investigate your surroundings together to build memories that can last a lifetime.
When you’re a child there’s nothing better than getting to run around a playground. Each one is unique whether it’s the equipment, location, or special features. I think this form of entertainment is the best way to release excess energy or to meet new playmates. There’s a free app called Playground Buddy which helps you locate playgrounds in your area. The app even allows you to see photos, type of equipment, and the ability to share details with other people. With over 37,000 listings in the United States, you’re sure to find something great.
Some of my earliest memories come from taking trips to the library. This free activity is the perfect place for your little one to let their imagination run wild. Most libraries have a dedicated children’s area with toys, age appropriate books & movies, and sometimes even a story time. I would recommend letting your child select as many books as they want to encourage positive habits. Sure they might not read all of them, but giving your child the independence to choose books based on topics they’re interested in teaches them that they can come to the library to learn about anything they desire.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when spending time in nature; furthermore, there are actually scientifically-proven health benefits from spending time amongst trees. Advantages such as lower blood pressure, boosted immune system, and increased energy level are just the beginning of the ways in which being in nature can be beneficial to your well-being.₁ There are numerous websites and apps that give you an insider’s look at trails in your area; however, I recommend starting your search using Outdoor Project. This website encourages you to “find your adventure” by searching various outdoor activities in a certain area. Once you find an excursion that piques your interest, you can find detailed information such as address, features, preferable seasons, and more. They also have reviews from previous explorers to help you be informed about trail conditions, difficulty, and other tips. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, then plan a camping trip for the whole family!
There are so many unique ways to entertain your kids over the summer…all you need is a little creativity! Envision summertime as an opportunity to soak up some sunshine. It’s always great to spend time outdoors together to create indelible memories. For the days you want to stay indoors, keep in mind that oftentimes museums have free admission days. Let your imagination run wild!
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