School’s out! Learning and homework have officially become the last things on kids’ minds. And that’s alright for a few weeks of summer, but it’s important to have a plan in place to prevent academic backsliding and we have a number of summer crafts and activities to keep your student engaged!
As a parent, we know it can be a challenge to strike a balance between fun and learning. To help you out, we’ve assembled some brain stimulating ideas that are enjoyable and affordable so your kids can enjoy their time off of school while staying mentally sharp at the same time.
Summer Crafts and Activities
Listed below are summer crafts and activities for different age groups to help keep both your younger and older kiddos from that dreaded summer brain drain.
Toddlers and Preschoolers
Young children still need a lot of routine and structure in their days regardless of the season.
- Hands-on fun encourages exploration and builds fine motor skills– plus young kids love to get messy!
- Reading is a must. Two to 4 year-olds can read the same book every day without getting sick of it, but try to aim for at least one new read a week to keep their minds going. This doesn’t mean a brand new book, maybe just one they haven’t reached for in a while, or a trip to the library for story hour.
- Baking is another great activity that doubles as a snack. And a well-fed toddler, is a happy toddler.
Kids’ imaginations are going crazy at this young and exciting age. It’s a great opportunity to dive deeper into their interests and expand their knowledge and understanding.
- When it comes to summer reading for these kids, it’s a good idea to make frequent library trips to let them find books that they are interested in reading. It could also be fun to help them write their own book for the summer.
- Take a theme and roll with it.
- If your child has a passion for oceans, for example, make that the focal point of their learning opportunities with books about oceans, ocean-themed movie nights, ocean crafts, a trip to the aquarium, ocean-inspired snacks, etc. You get the idea, and your child will be over the moon that you’re investing time and energy into something they love.
- It’s also a great age to think about signing them up for summer camp. Camp allows kids to branch out a little in a safe environment and learn new skills and make new friends. There is a camp for any interest and comfort level, from day camps to over-nighters, from sports camp to music camp.
If the idea of reining in a teenager for the summer scares you, you’re not alone. Thankfully there are pioneers out there that have survived a summer with teens and are willing to share their wisdom.
- An “I’m bored jar” can be a lifesaver. Take some cues from this Ultimate List for ideas to include so they never have an excuse to complain. It’s also good to remind them that being bored is ok and their personalities and creativity can be developed through boredom.
- For older teens, a summer job can provide them with the opportunity to learn a new skill, meet new people, and earn some money for their summer plans with friends. There are so many positions available for teens to take advantage of:
- Camp Counselor/Lifeguard
- Plant/Pet Sitter
- Little League Coach
- For fun with the family, you can entice them with movie/game nights or let them plan the menu and help prepare at least one meal a week. It’s something that can end up being fun without feeling like you’re desperately trying to make them have fun with you. After all, freedom at this age is something they cherish.