Keeping kids busy in the summer

Keeping kids busy in the summer

Parents often ask “How do I keep my kids busy in the summer?” And that’s not as straightforward of an answer as you might initially think. Today, we’ll look at how to evaluate different activities and balance them against interests, available time and funds to arrive at the best ideas for keeping kids busy in the summer as it relates to your unique family.

How do I keep my kids busy in the summer?

It’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. You can’t just grab some picnic hampers and a blanket, head to your nearest park, and have it tick all the boxes (well, not everyone can). What if your child has a deadly bee sting allergy or struggles to interact with other children in a free-play environment? The answer to keeping kids busy in the summer is a bit more nuanced than grab-and-go. Here are the things you should consider, based on a more formal family activity scale. Get a pen and pad. Scribble down an answer to these questions for any activity you’re thinking about this summer:

  1. Is this activity something they will enjoy?
  2. Does it fit into our budget?
  3. Will it fit into our schedule?
  4. Is it convenient enough to get to?
  5. Is it novel or have they done this before?
  6. Are we free from any other commitments at that time?
  7. Will they meet new people or can they bring friends?
  8. Is it enriching academically, spiritually, mentally, socially or physically?
  9. Are there any dietary, medical or mental health issues to consider?
  10. Is it a long-term commitment or a one-off adventure?
  11. Will there be an opportunity for self-guided play or exploration?
  12. Do they need prerequisite skills to participate?

The more positives you get and the fewer negatives, the more aligned this activity is for your family. You could even assign a scale of 1-5, using the numerical score at the end to choose from several equally good options, if that helps.

Ideas for keeping kids busy in the summer

The choices are endless from visiting a museum to unwrapping gift hampers for an afternoon snack. Using the questions above, you might want to think about activities that meet most of these conditions but also make use of the good weather. These will largely be outdoor activities like building a fort out of cardboard boxes, swimming, camping, riding bicycles, table tennis, skating, frisbee, tag, fishing, planting flowers, flying a kite, football, boating, visiting a zoo, going skateboarding, trying a rope swing and other more active or out-of-doors ideas like that. 

Remember to budget and plan for unexpected costs and needs like:

  • Petrol to and from
  • Snacks or lunch while out
  • Time for toilet breaks
  • Sun, wind and bug protection
  • Parking fees
  • Pillows and blankets for afternoon naps
  • Diapers and/or a change of clothes in case there’s a mess
  • Any medicines and basic first aid supplies like plasters
  • Water
  • Books and toys for the journey
  • Pram or tikes bikes

With just a little thought and forward planning, you’ll find keeping kids busy in the summer isn’t that hard. Just apply these tips and you’ll have a big list of relevant, entertaining and enriching things they can do throughout the summer break.