10 Fun Ideas to Keep Your Children Entertained During the Summer
Summer is here, and so is the unique challenge of balancing work and childcare! As many of us are working from home with our kids in tow, it’s important to find creative ways to keep them entertained. To help, we’ve compiled a list of ten unusual and out-of-the-box ideas to keep your children engaged and having fun this summer. From homemade science experiments to outdoor scavenger hunts, you’re sure to find something budget friendly to keep your kids busy for hours.
1) Freeze Their Toys
This caught our eye on social media, and we just HAD to share it! Watch the full video HERE. Grab some of your kiddo’s favorite toys. Put them in a bowl of water and then freeze it. Take the frozen toys outside and let your child work on the block of ice to try and free their toys. This is a great activity to cool down, and it will help your child get creative.
2) Create an Obstacle Course
This can be as simple or as elaborate as you want, depending on your child’s age and ability. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Set up a balance beam using a long piece of wood or a log.
- Use hula hoops or pool noodles to create a “hopscotch” course.
- Hang a rope or a tire swing from a tree for your child to swing on.
- Place cones or other objects for your child to weave in and out of.
- Create a tunnel or fort using cardboard boxes or blankets.
- Use a small pool or water table to add a fun water element to the obstacle course.
Make sure to supervise your child and ensure that the obstacle course is safe. You can even time them to make it more exciting, and encourage them to try to beat their own time. This is a great way to get your kids active and burning off energy while you get some work done. You can also flip this around and ask your child to design their own obstacle course for you to complete!
3) Use Old Boxes
If there is one thing we all have sitting around in abundance, it’s old boxes (Amazon, anyone?)! There are so many great ways to recycle these with your children such as:
- Let your kids create their own forts with boxes and duct tape
- Ask your kids to build a car OR decorate one that you make from boxes
- Lay boxes flat and have your children paint their own race track for their toy cars
- Challenge your kiddos to come up with their own ideas!
From spaceships to entire cardboard cities, the sky’s the limit!
4) Have a Scavenger Hunt
To set up a scavenger hunt, first decide on a theme or a list of items that your kids will need to find. You can make it as easy or as challenging as you like, depending on the age and abilities of your children. Some ideas for themes might include a nature scavenger hunt, where your kids have to find specific plants or animals in the backyard, or a treasure hunt where they follow clues to find a hidden prize. Once you have your theme or list of items, it’s time to hide them! Be creative with your hiding spots, but make sure they’re safe and accessible for your children. You might hide things in the bushes, behind furniture, or up high on shelves.
When your kids are ready to play, give them the list of items or the first clue and watch as they race around the house or yard searching for their treasure. You can make it even more fun by adding in time challenges or other obstacles, like blindfolding one player or having them complete a task before they can move on to the next clue. Flip the script and ask your kiddos to design a scavenger hunt for you that you can complete after work!
5) Create A Numbers Game
If your child has a lot of the same toy (such as toy cars), then you can create a numbers game to help them learn! Create a “parking lot” with masking tape or markers on a cardboard box. Number each space. Take masking tape and then number each of your child’s toys and ask them to match the numbers. It can be even more fun if you set it up in a way where you can easily rearrange numbers on the parking spaces. If your kiddo is a bit older, you can even turn this into a math game. We used toy cars as an example, but any toy works! If your children have a lot of dolls, you can tell them the dolls need to get to their homes instead of their parking spaces.
6) Imagine A Toy Parade
Grab some masking tape, or string, or anything that can help you create some lines on the floor which can easily be removed later. Tell your child to line up their toys along the line to then create a toy parade which they can show you. This activity is great for younger kiddos that are learning to “color within the lines” so to speak. This can become more challenging after a straight line, create crazy loops and zig zags that they must match their toys to.
7) Create An Indoor Movie Space
Bring the drive-in inside! Use tip number three from above, and work with your kiddos to design some comfy and cool “cars” from old boxes. Then, set up a movie screen or television, and have your kids take their cars to the drive-in for a movie night! You can even set up a little concession stand and use some Monopoly money for your children to make purchases from the stand. If you have several kiddos, then you can challenge them to be in charge of the concession stand! You could also try showing short videos as intermission entertainment during a rainy-day double-feature, just be sure to set parental controls on YouTube to keep all the programming kid friendly and mom approved.
8) Paint Rocks
You can start by taking your children on a nature walk to collect rocks of various shapes and sizes. Once you have enough rocks, set up a painting station outside or in a well-ventilated area inside. Give your children a range of colors to choose from and let their creativity run wild as they paint their rocks. Once the rocks are painted and dry, you can use them to decorate your garden or display them in your children’s room. They also make great gifts for friends and family. This activity is not only fun, but it also teaches your children about colors, textures, and nature. Take it a step further and put the rocks back along the walking trail for others to enjoy on their own hikes!
9) Construct Sailboats and/or Paper Airplanes
If your children like a challenge, ask them to create something they can race against each other with! Paper airplanes are simple for those that need to stay inside. Kids can decorate them and try to fold them in lots of different ways to find the best “flyer”. Or, if you can go outside, create some sailboats to see which one floats! There are kits you can purchase for this, or you can really push your kid’s creativity by asking them to find their own materials out in nature to discover what floats and what does not.
10) Bring Sports Indoors
If your child has a favorite sport they like to play such as bowling or even volleyball, ask them to create their own version of it indoors! With craft materials, kids can make things like bowling pins and a bowling ball for indoor fun, or they can use things like rubber bands and cardboard tubes to make their very own volleyball net. This can be an effective way to keep them entertained for hours while you work as they search for the best way to make a ball out of the materials they have on hand!
These ideas are a few of our own that our kids enjoy, but we would love to hear from you! What are your favorite ways to entertain your kiddos while you work from home during the summer months?