If you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ve experienced the joys of summer: the sun, the sand, and the never-ending stream of “Mom (or) Dad, I’m bored!”s. Keeping kids entertained in the summertime can feel like a full-time job, especially if you already have a full-time job, but fear not! As a seasoned summer survivor, I have some great and low-cost ideas to keep your kids from driving you up the wall and into a padded room (at least until school starts again). So let’s get into some activities to do with your kids this summer that’ll (hopefully) keep both you and them happy and sane.
- First on the list: good old-fashioned outdoor play! Which is free, by the way. Like most kids, your children are probably full of energy in the summer. Funny how being out of school does that to them! Anyways, depending on their ages, I’m sure they’ll love playing games like tag, hide-and-seek, and red rover. If you’re lucky, they might even be entertained for more than five minutes! But let’s be honest, you’ll probably have to break up a few fights and referee a few disagreements here and there, but that’s all part of the fun, right? Just remember to bring your whistle and your best “I’m not kidding” face. Making these games a competition for older kids might keep them entertained for a lot longer! So even if you have to take the time to re-adjust the rules or make up a prize for the winner, they might be out of your hair for a few hours. Now quick, go catch up on that laundry, or better yet, relax in the sun while they play!
- If your kids are looking for something a little more creative, try setting up an art station outside, weather dependent, of course. You can give them some Cray Z Art® Washable Sidewalk Jumbo Chalk, Crayola® Washable Watercolor paints, or some Pacon® Tru-Ray Construction Paper in assorted colors. If you really want them to let their creativity shine, let them make their own tie-dye shirts (just make sure you have plenty of bleach on hand in case things get messy). And if you really want to up the ante, throw in some glitter. Everything is better with glitter, right? Your vacuum might hate you, but your kids will love you (and secretly, you’ll love the sparkle too). To kill two birds with one stone, you could turn the arts and crafts day into a birthday or holiday gift-making day to get ahead of the busyness of life. Besides, homemade gifts are always better. (And cheaper).
- If the weather is too hot to handle, taking your kids to the local pool, or water park or splash pad could be a great way to beat the heat. Not only will they be cool and entertained, but you can also lay out by the pool and catch up on your reading (okay, fine, your social media scrolling). They might make some new friends, which will just get them out of your hair for a longer period of time. Just don’t forget to bring water, lots of snacks, and sunscreen, or else you’ll be dealing with a whole different kind of summer problem.
- For the days when your kids are feeling particularly restless, set up an in-home scavenger hunt. You can hide clues and prizes around the house and watch as your kids race around like maniacs trying to find them. Just make sure you have a good hiding spot for the last clue, or else they might just give up and start snacking on your hidden chocolate stash instead. This may take some time to prepare, but luckily for you, there are tons of great scavenger hunt clues and ideas online! Play smarter, not harder!
- And finally, when all else fails, let them watch TV or give them the iPad. Yes, I said it. Don’t judge me. Sometimes, a good ol’ fashioned cartoon marathon is just what the doctor ordered, especially if the weather isn’t good and you don’t feel like spending money on entertainment. And if you’re feeling particularly generous, you can even make some popcorn and convince them to let you join in on the fun (just don’t forget to set a timer so they don’t watch TV all day).
So, there you have it, folks. Some tried-and-true ways to keep your kids busy and entertained this summer without spending a ton of money. Just remember, they won’t be kids forever, so try to cherish these moments (even the ones that leave you feeling like you need a vacation of your own). And who knows, maybe you’ll even have some fun in the process. Happy summer-ing!
Imperfectly Perfect Mama. 107 Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained and Survive the Summer. (https://www.imperfectlyperfectmama.com/keep-kids-entertained-summer/) Accessed June 27, 2023.
Verywell Family. 100 Summer Fun Ideas for Kids and Parents. (https://www.verywellfamily.com/summer-fun-ideas-kids-and-parents-3542627) Accessed June 27, 2023.