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Out-of-the-Box Summer Fun Activities for Kids

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What parent hasn’t gotten one week into summer vacation without hearing those dreaded words: “I’m bored!”? For most kids, there is no shortage of time over summer break, but another day at the the playground or picnic on the lawn might not always feel compelling. It’s time to brainstorm some out-of-the-box summer ideas to shake things up a bit! Summer is a great time to tackle goals, learn a new skill, or pursue a favorite interest. Use the following summer fun activities to get your wheels spinning on how to fill those sunny days.

Achievement Oriented

Free summer days are a great opportunity to apply some hard work and accomplish goals. Maybe this is the summer your child learns to swim, masters a two-wheeler, authors a long story, or completes drivers’ ed. What project or interest has been put on the back burner for weeks or months? Pull it out and dust it off! Kids can complete a summer scrapbook, create a video montage or short film, or perfect their free throw shot.

Learning Outside the Classroom

Take learning beyond academics and cook some new recipes together, explore a nature preserve, or practice teamwork on a ropes course with friends or family. Take a park district class on animal tracking or bugs or how to identify trees by their leaves. Use a trip to the beach to learn about sea creatures or an amusement park day to learn about budgeting and time management.

Just for Fun

Don’t forget the simple pleasures of a childhood summer. Go out for ice cream, enjoy a summer blockbuster in the theater, or try out a new restaurant. Walk barefoot in fresh water, meander downstream in a canoe, ride a tandem bike, or visit a carnival or amusement park and wander the grounds with a big wad of cotton candy. Make some fresh-squeezed lemonade and sell it to your neighbors on the street corner. Have a yard sale and let your kids help with the organizing, sorting, and selling.

Once in a Lifetime

Is this the summer for a big to-do? Plan a vacation to a place you’ve never been. Road trip to some national parks. Build a tree house in the backyard, a clubhouse in the basement, or a fort in the woods. Invent a new game, host a family reunion, spend a day at the horse races, or walk part of the Appalachian trail.

Programs or Camps

The opportunities for summer camps are almost endless. Drama camp, sports camp, art camp, horsemanship camp, and overnight camps. Check out the offerings at the local park district, YMCA, or Boys and Girls Club. Museums, arboretums, historic sites and churches offer a wide variety of activities. Look for programs at local animal shelters or become regular volunteers at a charitable organization.

Close to Home

Time, expense, or schedules may keep you close to home this summer. No worries. Take the opportunity to explore your hometown in a new way. Pretend you are tourists and go to a museum, take a walking tour, camp in the backyard, host a slumber party or visit a new park every week. Watch a sunset. Watch a sunrise. Stay up all night in between if it sounds fun! Sleep in, paint a mural, bake cookies or build something out of duct tape. Compile a summer reading list and take turns reading, or have your kids read out loud to a pet. Visit the library, build a massive lego creation, or tackle a home improvement project.

What is one of your favorite summer memories from your childhood?


What is something you want to make sure we do together this summer?

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