It can be difficult when you don’t know what to do in the middle of summer. Its too hot to push the kids outside and you also don’t want them vegging in front of the tv all day. There are only so many tImes you can go to the pool. But there are more options than you think.
1. Library Events
Many local libraries have special visitors and activities designed to draw in the younger crowd. Our local library has had BMX stunt riders, a traveling reptile show, representatives from the local living habitat museum, and reading to rescue dogs. Usually each event has a suggested reading list for all ages.
Our library also does a summer reading challenge that encourages people from 1 to 92 to abandon their comfort zone and stretch into reading new genres with the promise of a free book at the end.
2. Tech Free Week
It may seem counter intuitive to take away things to do to find more things to do, but it works! You might want to start with one day, if you aren’t sure if your family can handle a whole week. Either way, plan for it. Ceremonially pack up the iPads, eReaders, Fitbits, and other handheld devices and solemnly swear to not use them for a week. Play board games, build forts, stargaze in a field, and get more sleep. The first couple days will feel crazy, but after your family settles into a routine, they will expand their imagination, become more thankful, and spend more time together.
Bonus ideas include ditching the microwave and cooking all of your meals as a family, having each member of the family pick an activity for the day, and finding something no one has tried and doing it together for the first time.
3. Learn A New Skill
Skills like cooking, gardening, whittling, knitting, sewing etc. are incredibly useful and contribute to the whole family. There are more skills than we have time to teach, but the summer season is good time to get a jumpstart on those conversations. Summer is a good time to learn from others in the area who are experts by shadowing or taking lessons.
If you have a teenager who is looking for life direction, shadowing a professional for three months would give a good glimpse into the realities of a chosen profession. It also looks great on a resume and future employers would see determination, initiative, and experience that few other graduates would have.
4. Start A New Hobby
All hobbies require skills, but not all skills have a set hobby. Try combining them in new and exciting ways. For example, if your child loves stamps, they can learn art history, national history, and geography. Some stamps even have mysteries to solve. Kids who like geography would enjoy stargazing which is a geography of the sky and has a history all its own. Also it has the added skill of navigation which is more dependable than moss on a tree. (Hint: Moss grows on the shady side of a tree whether or not it is north.) Many employers ask about hobbies and enjoy seeing potential employees who are self starting and have diverse interests. From ballroom dancing to beekeeping, backpacking to marathon running, hobbies are good activities for children to build character and develop interests outside of themselves.
5. Read Together and Apart
A list of summer activities would be incomplete without the reminder to read long and deeply, together and apart, to foster great minds, good conversation, and deep souls. Read challenging books. And remember you can always send your child outside to get out from underfoot, but if they’ve read any fairytales, they might go on wild adventures instead.