I recently found and enjoyed looking through a photo album of my children and our summer activities together when they were young. As a child and family counselor, I often take from my own bank of ideas for kids’ activities that provide parents and children with powerful opportunities to bond through play.
Although quality time with our children is enjoyable and rewarding, parents are often tempted to turn to technology for easy distraction and entertainment. However, screen time for young children should be limited. Luckily, there are many simple, screen-free activities to enjoy with your child during the summer months.
Here is my go-to list of technology-free summer activities for kids that are guaranteed to provide lots of fun and exploration for parents and children:
- Nothing says summer like splashing in water together! Turn on the backyard sprinkler and join your little ones as they run and play in the water.
- Catching fireflies in the evenings (and setting them free afterwards, of course!) is a delightful way to marvel at nature and run around the yard together at dusk. All you need is an empty plastic jar and lid with holes in the top.
- Build a fort out of blankets and pillows indoors when it’s rainy or too hot to play outside. Use furniture in a bedroom or living room and hang blankets and sheets on it to create a multi-room fort. Bring flashlights and other items your child wants to use during his adventures.
- Make homemade popsicles out of fruit juice together and freeze them for a few hours. Enjoy them together on a porch or patio. (Need a healthy recipe? Try this Snacktivity!)
- Go on a nature walk and look for caterpillars, butterflies, birds, frogs, flowers and vines. Discuss the different shapes and colors of each plant, insect or animal you observe. You can find a helpful scavenger hunt checklist here.
- Bring out your inner artists through arts and crafts and paint a piece of pottery or a canvas! Whether you have a kit at home or access to a nearby studio, painting when the summer weather isn’t cooperating can be a fun way to create something together. Pieces of pottery or canvas works of art that your child decorates also make great keepsakes that you can cherish forever.
- Visit a shady playground and enjoy the swings and slides with your child.
- Plan a picnic. Take your child to the grocery store and allow her to choose items for lunch. Let her help you wash the fruit and prepare the basket. Find a shady spot in a park or your neighborhood and enjoy a meal in nature together. Tips on planning the perfect picnic can be found here.
- Go on an overnight adventure. Drive up to the mountains or to the beach, countryside or the city – anywhere different from where you live. Look for new places to see and new experiences for your child to have with you.
It’s often easy to get swept up in the demands of work and life and forget how important it is to set aside time to be present with your children. Summer offers many opportunities to take a bit of time off from adult responsibilities and bond with your child through playful activities while making memories that will last a lifetime.