Children seem to inevitably get to a point in summer where they exclaim, loud and often, “I’m bored!” When kids seem to be hitting that point, you can get to work providing plenty of family friendly summer activities that can keep all members of the family interested and entertained. In fact, it’s highly recommended you try some of these suggestions to stave off or completely avoid the boredom that a long summer can bring.
Unless children are attending summer school, one of the benefits of summer is the lack of pressure to “perform” for school. You may not have to devote hours to helping with homework, and all kids benefit from a little unstructured time. However, too much unstructured time can be as bad as none at all. It’s a good idea to plan some summer activities that are structured so children still have a routine in place, instead of sitting open-mouthed in front of televisions or computer screens for hours.
You don’t have to be wealthy to plan a lot of summer activities, and these suggestions are primarily for the families that aren’t planning on extended vacations. Instead, they can make up the everyday time slots of summer so kids stay active and have fun along with their parents. First off, if you are budgeting, search your Park and Recreation Center for free or cheap family friendly summer activities.
Some cities offer things like special family bowling nights, movies or plays in local parks, free days to museums, or cheap days at various cultural and social events or local swim centers. Many Parks and Recreation centers also offer inexpensive to free classes that can be taken by whole families. Why not take Russian folk dance if it’s free? Or learn how to speak conversational Spanish at a low price? Maybe it’s time to really train the dog, or learn the basics of photography.
Summertime also gives many the option of spending lots more time outdoors. There’s no reason why you can’t have dinner at a local park, or institute a family park visit a few nights a week when the weather is cooperative. Just be sure to put on your sunscreen if it’s still light outside, and make certain to wear a good insect repellent to avoid evening bug bites from mosquitoes.
If the house is impossibly hot, head to the nearest park in cooler evening hours with your favorite board games, or use the time to allow kids to burn off steam by playing on park equipment. Alternately, turn the sprinkler on for a little inexpensive fun getting wet, or have a few water sprayer fights with kids. Kids often love it when parents get involved in the fun and play along.
Keep planned events like family game night alive during the summer, and also consider working on some type of project as a whole family. You might, for instance, work on a jigsaw puzzle together — a really big one that will take up several days. Another suggestion is to choose books to read together as a family. Read and discuss a favorite book, or choose summer activities that give back to the community like volunteering to clean up local parks or creeks.
Summer activities can also involve learning and reinforcing things taught in school in less structured ways. If you want your kids to become good at fractions and math in general, help them by teaching them how to weigh and measure for recipes and how to double, triple or halve recipes. Let kids be involved in the day to day running of the house and keep them writing by having them compose shopping lists, and helping with the cooking. The whole family can learn new recipes, or how to make a treat they love.
Don’t underestimate the value of daytime excursions out of your city. Even if you can’t afford to take long vacations, most families can usually pursue summer activities like day trips to semi-local points of interest. Explore what it’s like to visit another town for a day, or plan a few day trips to large cities.
Since school can be such a big part of life, keep up social engagements with other families during the summertime. Plan a few playdates with the whole family and other families from school. Sometimes parent organizations have summer activities pre-planned for school families. These are often inexpensive ways for the whole family to have a good time and maintain close ties with schoolmates and parents.