What do your kids do on their summer vacation? Many kids go to camp, or visit relatives, or enroll in special classes designed for children. But no matter if your kids are heavily scheduled, or if their time is completely their own, summertime is a perfect time for kids to experience boredom, forcing them to be creative. It’s a time to follow interests, discover new passions, and experiment. But even the most self-entertaining child sometimes runs out of ideas, so here are some items they can add to their summer checklist.
1. Explore outside. Being outside in nature is important for all children. Fresh air, exercise, and observation of the natural world are synonymous with childhood. See what your kids can discover about the area around your house, and about themselves.
2. Make a pet rock. When they are out exploring in nature, kids can choose a rock. Something not too large, and with a smooth enough surface to take paint or sticky items. When they bring it back, once washed and dried it can be decorated with paint, glitter, sticky foam, googly eyes, or whatever is needed to make the rock into a new pet. And here’s the best part: It doesn’t require food or cleaning up after.
3. Go stargazing. Summer is the perfect time to go stargazing. It isn’t too cold at night, and a family snuggle on a blanket looking up at the night sky is an enjoyable way to learn together. Read up on a few constellations and planetary locations ahead of time, and your kids will think you’re a genius.
4. Study the weather. Set up a little weather station and measure rainfall, wind direction, and temperature. Chart these over time to see how the weather changes in your area. Compare notes with a cousin who lives in a different city.
5. Watch movies. Movies that your kids missed in the theater but are out on DVD still make for an exciting way to spend a lazy afternoon when it’s too hot to play outside. Popcorn and lemonade make good accompaniments.
6. Catch up on geek classics. This is a fantastic opportunity to indoctrinate your kids in the all-important geeky movies, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Princess Bride, Back to the Future, WarGames, Tron, and others. And for older kids, set them on Monty Python, The Matrix, Akira, and Highlander.
7. Read books. That says it all.
8. Visit the library. Most local libraries have summer reading programs, special craft project times, puppet shows, teen clubs, and other fun things organized specially for the summer. Check the schedule at a library near you.
9. Build with Lego. Kids can build free-form projects, or modern art pieces. If they run out of ideas, challenge them to build a spaceship, a plant, or a robot. See who can assemble the most realistic Dalek. But no instruction is really necessary here. We’ve all been building with Lego since we could hold up a 2×4 brick. Give