Summer break means time off from homework, studying for tests and doing projects. It also means nearly three months of freedom for the kids, which sounds great at first, but can quickly turn from freedom to boredom.
What’s a parent to do?
Luckily, there are some great, inexpensive ways to keep your kids entertained throughout the summer. Keeping kids busy during the day — without spending too much time in front of the TV or computer — is on many parents’ minds.
Summer camps are available everywhere, from out of state to within your own community. Deciding on where you’re comfortable sending your children usually comes down to their ages, your budget and whether the camp activities match your child’s interests. There are other factors to consider, such as the staff and proximity to medical facilities.
Summer camps offer kids the opportunity to try new activities, make new friends and form lifelong bonds. It can be an empowering experience for young girls and boys to develop self confidence and gain exposure to new skills not typically found in the classroom. From surfing to fishing and even knitting and archery, camp is sure to enrich your child’s summer experience.
If you opt not to go the camp route, there’s always your community pool. Pools offer open swim times which can create hours of summer fun, but usually also offer organized lessons that teach your children the skills they need to stay safe in the water. And if they’ve built up their skill level, see if your community has a swim team they can join.
Swimming is a fun summer activity, but it also is a great physical activity that boosts kids’ confidence in water, and enables them to participate in other water activities like kayaking, boating and surfing.
Summer Reading Programs
Teachers and parents agree that reading is a solid summer activity. It’s an inexpensive way for kids to go on adventures and meet new personalities without leaving the comfort of home. It builds vocabulary and can be done anywhere — the backyard, the beach and anywhere in between.
Summer reading programs encourage children to read by offering incentives, which range from free books to Highlights magazines to candy and temporary tattoos. This list offers a variety of programs offered at large chain retailers like Barnes & Noble and even Chuck E. Cheese.
The warm, balmy days of summer invite endless possibilities for outdoor activities. For youngsters, sidewalk chalk and bubbles can entertain for hours. For older children, roller blading, swing sets and a basketball hoop may suffice.
For the future entrepreneurs, setting up a lemonade stand is a good exercise for learning responsibility and how to make change. Or get the neighborhood children together for an old-fashioned scavenger hunt. Organize a game of kickball in the street, or a math fact challenge.
Not every day is sunny, so be prepared for rainy afternoons. If you’re in the mood for more than an afternoon movie, kids can host their own puppet show. Or they can try their hand at cooking with someone taping them for their own take on the Food Network. While you’re in the kitchen, make some homemade popsicles, then build a fort with blankets and boxes. Make your own pinwheels to decorate for the Fourth of July, or build a bird feeder you can put out when the rain goes away.
Make this summer your child’s most exciting summer yet. Introduce them to new activities and encourage children from the block to get in on the fun. Spending time with your child promotes their overall health and well-being, and can keep them from falling into a summer slump. Overseeing their activities lets you act fast in case they get injured, but most importantly, helps you create lasting memories with your children.
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