Fun Ways to Keep Kids Occupied Over Summer Break
Children look forward to summer vacation every year. The last day of school gives way to less structured days when kiddos can spend more time outdoors and less time cracking the books. Summer vacation can be a dilemma for parents, especially in households where both parents work full-time. An increase in remote working has made that problem somewhat more manageable, but even parents working from home must find a fun way for kids to stay occupied until the new school year begins. No two kids are the same, so parents may need to try various activities on for size until they find something their children enjoy doing during the lazy days of summer.
Day camps provide much of the structure of school without all the homework or time spent indoors. Many parks and recreation departments run summer day camps for kids. Camps can be generalized or specialized. For example, some may offer an array of activities, including sports and nature walks, in a given day, while others may focus on a single activity, like musical lessons or science-based programs. Camps run by local parks and rec departments do not typically last all summer long, which parents should keep in mind when enrolling youngsters.
Parents may be surprised by how much their children enjoy a good book. A recent poll from the National Education Association found that 70 percent of middle school students read more than 10 books a year. The National Literacy Trust reports that roughly 45 percent of children between the ages of 8 and 11 enjoy reading “very much.” When suggesting to children that they read more this summer, parents can note the many ways that reading for pleasure differs from reading for school. Point out that kids won’t have to submit book reports and emphasize that they can choose their own books. Depending on children’s ages, introduce kids to a series like Harry Potter, which is a set of seven fantasy novels that has helped millions of young people across the globe discover and develop a fondness for reading. Weekly visits to the library, where kids can pick from hundreds of books, can get youngsters even more excited about reading.
Play dates are a great way to make kids happy and take a little off of parents’ daily plates. Arrange routine summer play dates with children’s school friends, neighbors, and/or cousins. Parents can alternate hosting responsibilities so they can get work done at home and enjoy a break when it’s not their turn to host.
FIND SOMETHING FREE
Perhaps in recognition of the need for affordable, family-friendly fare, many communities now host free events for kids and their parents each week. Weekly movie nights under the stars and concerts in community squares are popular in many communities, but those same towns also may host events specifically for kids during the daytime. A simple internet search of “free events near me” may unveil a host of activities that can keep kids happy and occupied on summer days when their schedules are open. Local libraries can be great resources for free events as well.
Summer vacation is a relaxing time for youngsters. Parents who don’t want that relaxation to turn into boredom can look to various activities to occupy their children’s time until a new school year begins.