It’s only a couple weeks until school resumes, which—this far into summer—makes most parents jump for joy.
When my kids were little, I don’t think they ever ran out of energy . . . E V E R! As summer approached, I would make little summer to-do notebooks.
They were filled with all kinds of fun activities to do and lists of places to go. The only problem I ran into was that I never calculated enough weeks in the notebooks.
When August rolled around, it was always scorching hot, and the kids were stuck inside and bored. Kids with boundless energy plus boredom plus an insane heat index equals trouble.
Around our house, someone would inevitably end up in the emergency room if I didn’t act to channel their energy. Admittedly, this took time and creativity, but I came up with some projects that worked.
To this day, we laugh out loud about the games and adventures we did as summer was coming to a close.
Summer Activity Ideas
If you are dealing with bored kids and you’re out of creative ideas, here are a few things you may want to try. Hopefully, your kids will think back fondly on all the memories you made so you can share great laughs together.
One: Obstacle course: Compile things like bouncy balls, paper plates, stuffed animals, crayons and paper, painter’s tape or chalk, bubble gum, marshmallows, a timer, and some bowls.
Decide where to place the starting line, then gather your selected items and set up different stations and activities throughout the house. Using a timer, each person will try to finish the course the fastest. Each kid must complete each task at each station before moving on. Here are some station ideas:
- Using painter’s chalk, create a hopscotch space. Decide how many times and how each person goes through the hopscotch form; he or she can use all the squares, skip squares . . . your call. Each person should go through the hopscotch form three times before moving on.
- Put a big bowl at the end of a hall or top of a staircase. Set out five ping pong balls, nerf balls, small stuffed animals—anything that will fit in a bowl. Each person has to pick up one of the items and run to drop it in the bowl, advancing once all the items are in the bowl.
- Put a straight object like a cane, bat, or stick in a safe place away from furniture, stairs, or sharp edges. At this station, each kid must jump up and down three times before putting his or her forehead on the stick or bat and circling around it five times. When done, he or she must jump up and down three more times before moving on to the next station.
- Have each person hop on one foot two times around a kitchen island or table, then change feet and hop two more times using the other foot.
- Using cotton balls or ping pong balls and a straw, line up four balls (or a ball for every child involved). Using the straw, each kid must crawl on the floor while blowing through the straws to move his or her ball. Usually a yard is enough distance so your child doesn’t get dizzy.
- Using a tennis ball or item that can be tossed, place a bowl on a chair or on the floor and have the kids toss the ball or item into the bowl. Whenever a kid gets all his or her items into the bowl, he or she can advance to the next station.
- Set out a bag of marshmallows on a chair or counter. Each person must stuff as many in his or her mouth as possible and then say “Chubby Bunny” three times before moving on.
- Put bubble gum on a chair or counter. Each person is to unwrap and chew the gum to blow a big bubble (or two or three) before moving on.
Two: “Joy Bead” game: This is a great game for teaching life skills. Learning to find joy, gratitude, and beauty in life requires a mind-set that seeks things to be grateful for.
From the dollar store or craft store, find age-appropriate-sized beads in various colors and 3×5 cards (or you can cut up paper). These beads will be called the “joy beads.” Hide the beads around the house—some in easy-to-spot places and others in harder-to-find places.
This can be played like “hide and seek” or throughout the week as kids discover a “joy bead.” When they find one, they get to write down on a card something they find joyful, beautiful, or that they are grateful for.
Their papers can be saved to read on difficult days or placed in a scrapbook.
Three: “Tent Night”: Years ago, we did a staycation with all five kids. We pulled out sheets, blankets, pillows, tablecloths, and anything that could be used to make a huge tent.
- Using heavy things like books, chairs, or cans of food for anchors, build a tent as big as possible. Get creative—divide it into sections, spread it out—however you want. Make popcorn, watch a movie, or listen to music. (Make sure to set up a fan too; lots of bodies together get hot overnight.) Spend the night in your homemade tent.
Four: “Beat the Clock” chore game: Using a timer, choose how long it may take to do the chores—laundry, cleaning a room, washing the dog, vacuuming, mopping, putting stuff away, you name it. Add music and see if the kids can get their chores done in the time allotted.
Five: Make cookies with the entire family and then all together take the cookies to an aging care center. Older folks rarely have visitors, and this will bring joy to everyone. You may make a few friends to stay in touch with along the way.
Let Me Hear from You
Now it’s your turn. What fun family activities have you put together for those hot summer days?
I would love to hear from you because I’m always looking for fun ways to end a great summer.
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