It’s going to be a long hot summer. Even if your kids are only home with you for a week, that is a lot of hours you need to keep them safe, healthy and happily entertained! It’s easy to lose track of time on long lazy sunny days, but kids seem to notice every minute ticking by. They need plenty to do, but that doesn’t mean it all has to be educational. After all, this is their long break from school so pack it full of fun (even if that fun teaches them a thing or two.)
Obviously, there will be times when it will be too hot for running around and going wild with active games and sports. Don’t worry, there are plenty of quiet time activities here too. Ideally, you can shape each day (weather forecast pending) to suit the situation. A good mix of rough and ready play with a few sitting-quietly activities is usually ideal for kids and parents alike. Why not pick from some of these healthy choices?
The Obstacle Course
Setting up an obstacle course doesn’t necessarily require lots of space and expensive equipment. It’s important to plan it for the size and ability of the kids involved. Obviously, the smaller the child, the easier it is! Still, to keep it safe around the house, keep an eye on what is happening. Generally speaking, if you can’t-do it yourself, then it might be best not to invite the kids to try it.
Crawling or sliding on the belly is a good activity for kids of any size to try. This could be done under the table as chair legs can be a bit narrow. If you have old wire closet hangers, you could straighten them out, and turn them into a child-sized hoop. Use a strip of foam and a strip of duct tape to close the two ends together safely. You might want to use foam insulating piping around the whole wire. Repeat this to make three or 4 hoops. Now sew old sheets in a tube that can be supported by the hoops – sew in closed tags to stop the hoops moving. Perfect for home-made tunnels!
The Treasure Hunt
You can often download treasure hunt kits from the internet, but why not come up with your own clues that are more age appropriate for your kids? The treasure itself might be something as simple as a treat or snack, or it may be something more enticing like a gift. As for the clues? Think about all the places you can hide a clue, and then come up with a riddle to describe that place. For the tiniest tots, use pictures. They might be clip art or printed out photos from your phone. Keep the hunt indoors for rainy day fun.
The Backyard Soccer Match
Something as simple as kicking a ball back and forth can be enough to keep the kids amused for up to an hour. But if you make it more interesting by inviting family or friends to get involved, you can turn it into a match! Why not buy some medals or a cup for the winners? There are lots of ways you can adapt this for the different ages of the kids. You could make it more skills-oriented if there is only limited room. Sun hats and sunscreen will be essential, and all the fun can stay safely in the backyard.
The Listen-To-This Morning
Listening to music or an audiobook can be a very handy quiet-time activity. When you have several children in the house together, it might be best if they each use their own set of headphones. If you have small children, it might be safer to consider wireless headsets. You can find the best safe headphones for kids online so you can read the details on quality and clarity of sound as well. Some can ensure the volume never gets too loud to impair hearing. Nursery rhymes are often a favorite for toddlers. Older children might like some carefully selected pop choices. As for audiobooks? There are now thousands of titles, including children’s books, which are read by their favorite celebrities.
The Mini Pool
When they’re hot and fractious, the mini pool is ideal. To keep kids safe in the water, make sure you are always there to watch. Another responsible adult should be there for any times you need to pop back inside. Waterproof sunscreen is essential here too, as well as a hat. There is nothing wrong with leaving a tee on to protect from the worst of the UV. Throw in a few ball pool balls and bath toys for lots of extra fun. Of course, some kids are happy just to sit there and relax!
The Picnic In The Playpark
Why not pack up a picnic and go and spend an afternoon in the play park? Most children’s areas are gated and enclosed these days, so you know where your kids are at all times. You might invite some of the other moms along with their kids to make it more of a social occasion. It’s great for a catch up during the long summer break. To ensure food is safe to eat, don’t leave any of it in the sunlight. Use a cooler box with ice to keep dairy and meats chilled. Don’t forget a bottle of hand sanitizer to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria making their way into the kids’ tummies.
The Family Cycle
When the kids are active, they tend to be easier to engage with, and a lot quieter! Why not take them for a family cycle ride? Don your cycle helmets, pick a traffic-free route and head out for an afternoon. It’s great exercise for everyone, and it helps to develop those gross motor skills for the kids too.
The Trip To The Library
As boring as some of your kids may think a library is, when they get to the shelves, something is sure to pique their interest. You could also set them a challenge that helps to motivate them. Talk about an author they might like or the latest chart release. Smaller children can’t get enough of the library – all those hundreds of colorful books. Perhaps the best bit is when you all get home and have a quiet hour reading!
The Kids Will Cook It Afternoon
Healthy foods are never more on your mind that during the summer when you’re stretched to your cooking limits. Why not invite the kids to make something for all the family? Set out all the ingredients in order, together with some simplified instructions. So long as you handle the sharp chopping and the hot stuff, this can be a fun and safe activity. Of course, fruit salad is simple, colorful and fun for kids to make, regardless of their age.
The Find-Out-More Afternoon
Older children can easily become bored during long breaks from school. Take cues from your conversations about topics your child might be able to find out more about. Research skills are so essential, especially if your kids are going to be academic. The topic might be a film star they like or a cartoon they were watching. Sit with them as they peruse the internet to find different types of websites that might give them further information. Perfect when the weather doesn’t go your way!
The What-If Story Writing Morning
Kids are naturally very creative, but sometimes they need structure and a little prompting to get going. The What-If story writing game puts funny and peculiar scenarios into a short story or fake news article that your kids write together. Take prompts from a TV show you’re watching, or something you see happen in the street. Combine the scenarios and characters to create ridiculous but amusing stories that you can then encourage them to read out loud. This can be extended further to improve handwriting skills or typing.
The Community Baseball Game
If you’ve got the time and the contacts, you could arrange for a community baseball game to happen in your neighborhood. You might use a part of the park area to stage it. You might also need a couple of gazebos to provide adequate shade for everyone. Start a FaceBook group so you can all coordinate and communicate your plans. When you set something up for lots of people, it’s important to delegate as much as possible, or it will be too much for you to manage on your own. Make sure all the kids are kitted out with safety gear, and that a First Aid kit is on hand.
The summer doesn’t have to be long and boring. With some of these activities to hand, you might find the days fly by. Of course, part of your activities list might include creating an activities list! Get your kids involved. They often have good ideas for things to do. Best of all, all of these are essentially cost-free. Have fun.