The summer season brings much-needed downtime for the whole family, but it’s also a lot of time to fill when you have young children. Once the initial excitement wears off, how can you keep your children engaged in meaningful activities that keep them learning and exercising their imaginations?
It’s easier than you might think! With household items and a little creativity, you can break up the boredom blues and help your children put on their thinking caps, all while enjoying the great outdoors. Here are a few crafts and activities to get you started:
Explore with Paint
What you’ll need:
- Nontoxic, washable paint
- Paper or canvas
- Paper plates (to hold the paint)
- Washable toys (optional)
Set up a painting station with craft supplies outside in a shaded area and ask your child to paint what he loves about nature. Paint with him – children love to mimic their parents! Show interesting texture by dipping a toy, such as a toy truck, into the paint and moving it across the paper. Ask your child to describe his painting.
You can also get a little messy and paint the driveway or patio, or use chalk for an easier clean-up ( if using paint, be sure to test a small area first to make sure it will rinse off with water). Need a fun way to clean? Use water balloons! Remember to keep a close eye on your little one with water balloons, as they can become a choking hazard.
Ice Cube Racing
What you’ll need:
- One ice cube tray
- A kiddie pool
- Bath color tablets (optional)
Fill an ice cube tray with water. To add some flair, I dissolve bath color tablets in the water before freezing, but it’s not necessary. Once the ice is frozen, bring the cubes to the pool. Have your child get in the water then add a few pieces of the ice. Ask questions like, “How does the ice feel?”; “What color is the ice?” and “What do you think will happen to the ice?”
Next, fill a water squirter with water and ask your child to squirt the ice to make it move across the water. Add a few more pieces of ice and encourage your child to have an ice race with you. See who can squirt their ice across the water the fastest!
Deep Dive into a Subject
Children often go through phases of intense interest in different subjects, giving parents the perfect opportunity to build on their learning. First, find out what your child is passionate about. When she comes home from school, what does she talk about for days? Then, use the summer to dive deep into that subject.
For example, my 6-year-old son, Hollis, cannot stop talking about butterflies ever since his class learned about them and watched a caterpillar turn into a butterfly. So I’ll take him to the botanical garden to see more butterfly species, then have him draw or paint the butterflies he observed. We also might build these great butterfly wings at home – you can look online to find creative ideas related to whatever subject your child is passionate about!
Looking for more summer activities for kids? Check out these nine ideas!