When schools are out, you likely find yourself looking for family summer activities. Because, let's face it, having the kids around all day, every day can be stressful. It helps to have activities planned.
Even if your kids are enrolled in a swim class or a summer day camp, there will still be an afternoon (or two, or twelve . . . ) when you are wondering how to keep everyone entertained. Here are a handful of ideas to keep the kids happy and occupied while you enjoy a parents' summer vacation, too.
1. Visit Your Local Library
Local libraries are community builders, and many offer summer reading programs. These programs get kids reading and have added extras like make-at-home crafts, giveaways, and special events in tandem with the programming. For the kids, nightly reading can become more fun when they know their friends across town are enjoying the same stories. Plus, you can connect with other families participating in the program, leading to more community connections that can travel out of the libraries and into playgrounds, schools, and elsewhere. You can also teach your child more about green living with books on beekeeping or recycling.
2. Pack a Picnic
Take advantage of the summer weather and dine alfresco. Packing a picnic treats you to an afternoon of relaxation while saving money and eating heathier. While packing your favorite munchies and heading to a local park is a tried-and-true option, know that you can have a picnic in other locations throughout the summer, too. I find it peaceful to enjoy a meal near water, so I'll often make sandwiches and bring the family to a local lake or river so we take in the view. Or, you could invite neighbors over and have a social picnic in your backyard. When you are done eating, you could even bring out a bucket of water or two for some splashing fun.
3. Shop the Farmers' Market
If you are looking for an outing before compiling your picnic basket, take a stroll through your local farmers' market. The market is an ideal opportunity to spend time outside and secretly introduce your little ones to a few lessons about food. For example, your child can begin to understand how different farms specialize in different products and how their food reaches your table. With a few repeated visits throughout the season, the seasonality of produce will also become clear, and your kids will be sure to savor their favorite berries when they are available.
4. Take a Hike
Get your exercise and enjoy the summer weather with a family hike. A stroll through the woods provides a cardiovascular workout with stunning scenery. Even if you are in the city, chances are you can find some wildlife to talk about, from birds to insects. Family hikes foster lifelong bonds between children and the natural world around them. Hikes are also an ideal opportunity to teach kids about leaving no trace when we visit nature. Set an example by keeping all water bottles and snack wrappers with you when you leave the park. You can even bring a small bag along to pick up litter, leaving the natural environment even more beautiful for the next family.
5. Dance Outside
Warm months are filled with free outdoor concerts in parks and at community festivals. Your family can soak in the sounds of local folk bands or the city orchestra. Live music is inspirational and fun. Plus, listening to music and watching others perform can encourage young minds to learn an instrument themselves and get their little feet moving. If you do decide to bring music education into your child's life, know that research shows studying music can help children excel in language development, concentration-based tasks, and memory recall, according to the New England Board of Higher Education. And with evening being a popular performance time, you can enjoy the outdoors without the full summer heat.
6. Summer Volunteering
People often think to volunteer during the winter holidays but may be less likely to acknowledge the need for volunteers during the summer months. Yet, helping hands are needed every month of the year. For example, many nature centers feature restoration work days where volunteers pull weeds, collect seeds, and plant native species. Reach out to your local nature centers to ask about which restoration days are family-friendly events. There is also an active need to help homeless populations throughout the warm months. Families can help by creating summer kits to donate that include basic hygiene and first-aid supplies.
This summer, take the opportunity to unplug, leave the house, and enjoy family activities. Read together, enjoy a farmers' market picnic, dance through the sunset, or hike a trail. Each of these is an ingredient to enjoying the magic of summer.
What are your favorite family activities in summer? Let us know on Twitter!
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Why It's Good
Enjoy the magic of summer with your family! With fun activities scheduled, it will be easier to adjust to having the kids home for the season. Plus, they can present a great opportunity to teach your kids about giving back to the planet and your community.