SUMMER FUN WITH CHILDREN Keeping Children Happy, Healthy, and Challenged During the Summer Months

surfboards sitting in the sand at the beach
surfboards sitting in the sand at the beach

Children look forward to summer break - no school, no responsibilities, sleep in late, no worries! But many parents do not relish summer break.  It can be stressful for parents, especially working parents, to keep children entertained and active without becoming couch potatoes and bored during the break.

There are so many questions parents must ask prior to summer break: is my child old enough to be left alone during the day, how will they stay occupied, will I have to find a caretaker, can I afford a summer camp, do I even want a summer camp, will the caretaker keep them busy enough, will I keep them busy enough, is it fair to drop them off at their grandparents everyday – for both child and grandparent.

Not all parents work outside the home, so asking several of them for help and offering fiscal compensation could be an option for working parents.  If you work from home – and that includes stay-at-home parents because they are often the hardest workers of all and the most overlooked – you are one of the lucky ones during summer breaks.

Here are a few ideas for summer activities:

  • Reading and games. Buy some new books and games throughout the year, but do not share them with the children until summer break begins.  A good way to stock up on books is to check with the local libraries for the dates of their book sales.  Many will have quarterly, if not monthly sales.  Some great games at inexpensive prices can also be purchased at early morning garage sales and consignment stores.
  • Local Parks & Recreation Department have summer activities available for children. Many will offer art lessons, introductory swim lessons, music lessons, dance and exercise lessons, and the best thing about the Parks & Recreation Department, they are usually well-staffed and economical.
  • Performing theaters and museums. Many of the performing arts theaters have early bird performances during the summer months where tickets are half price, and the museums will have special showings for children as well as art classes.
  • Plant a little garden in small planters. Let them be responsible for its watering and care.  Help children appreciate not only the beauty of flowers and the importance of herbs, but encourage the benefits of being outdoors.
  • Baking. Pick one day a week to bake something new for the entire school break!  Any extras can be delivered to neighbors, the staff at convalescent homes, your doctor’s and dentist offices.  The little acts of kindness are the ones that children will remember most.

It’s important to help children stay challenged with academics during the summer months.  Grade appropriate workbooks can be found in many stores, parent teacher stores, and online.  Spending 30 minutes going over a few pages a week can go a long way with reducing stress when returning to school.

Summer is a great way to spend extra time with your children.  It’s also fun to make a Special Summer Family Calendar where the entire family can contribute ideas.  It’s a great way of staying organized, keeping the excitement high, and the stress level low during summer break.

surfer standing next to surfboard at beach
surfer standing next to surfboard at beach

Harry Pierre & PeTunia would love to hear any ideas you may have for entertaining the children during the summer months!

--Debbie Caldwell

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