Ways to Keep Kids Busy in the Summer
Posted by Emily Pazel

When you think back to your favorite childhood memories, do many of them take place in the summertime? The days start to get longer, the weather begins to warm up and there’s more free time available after school gets out. Maybe some of your fondest memories involve the time you spent at summer camp, hanging out with grandma and grandpa, or maybe even taking swim lessons at your local community pool. Whatever the case may be, the summertime is a great opportunity for children to spend time with friends and family or maybe even learn a new skill here and there.

For working parents that don’t have the summers off, it might be harder to take long vacations or spend as much time with your children as you’d like. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a week to vacation here and there or sign your child up for events and camps that keep them occupied during their time off during the summer.

Summer Camps

From overnight wilderness camps to youth sports camps, spending a few weeks at summer camp can be a great, fun way to have your children stay busy during the summer months. There are many fun and reputable camps to send your child to throughout the state of Pennsylvania. It’s just a matter of finding the right one for you and your children and making sure they fit all the eligibilities and requirements needed for that program.

And as a working parent, summer camps might be a great way to keep your children busy while you have to work throughout the weekdays. If you are on the fence about summer camp, here are a few reasons, according to metrofamilymagazine.com, why your child might benefit from it:

  • Helping Gain Self-Esteem: According to the American Camp Association, reports show that 70 percent of parents claimed their child gained self-confidence at camp. When children are in camp, they learn to grow physically and emotionally, which oftentimes improves self-esteem.
  • Meeting New People: It’s easy when you are around the same people year-round to become complacent with them; sending your children to summer camp is a great way for your child or children to make new friends. In fact, the American Camp Association said that 96 percent of campers claimed that camp helped them make new friends and 93 percent said that it helped them get to know kids who are different from themselves.
  • Learning Independence & New Skills: When you send your children away to camp, not only are they learning how to make new friends but they are also discovering who they are away from home without their parents. And the American Camp Association says 74 percent of campers participate in something they were afraid to try at first.
  • Gaining Perspective: Oftentimes, your child will develop a new, deep understanding and appreciation for the environment and physical activity while at summer camp.

Summer camp is also a great way to keep your children engaged in an enriching activity while they’re out of school and you have to work. And oftentimes children will make lifelong friends because they can become bonded through activities, such as winning a team-building contest together or learning a new skill together.

And summer camps don’t just stop at outdoorsy-type camps. There are summer camps for learning dance, musical instruments, performing drama, playing sports like basketball or soccer, and even academic camps that focus on science. But if summer camp isn’t your thing and you would rather look at different options to keep your children busy in the summer, there are still more opportunities you can look out for.

Other Fun Summer Activities

So, maybe summer camp isn’t your cup of tea and you don’t like the idea of your child going away for more than a few days. Or, maybe you are a stay-at-home parent or a working parent with the summers off and you just need activities to do around your home. Either way, there are plenty of things that you can do that maybe you just didn’t think about or need to know what’s out there.

In fact, there are oftentimes summer programs at your local library that are dedicated to just that – stay-at-home parents that need to get out of the house for a bit while also providing a fun, educational activity for your children. And there’s more to do in the summer than the local library, you just might have to get a little creative. However, we have a couple of things listed for you to do if you need inspiration.

Per UNICEFkidpower.org, here are a few things that you and the whole family can do during the summer:

  • Outdoor Physical Activities: Riding bikes around the neighborhood or bike trails nearby, playing at a local playground with friends, having a picnic at a local or state park, decorating sidewalks with colorful chalk murals, backyard camping, and delicious s’mores, water balloon baseball, plant flowers or vegetables in a garden in your backyard, paint rocks and then hide them around your neighborhood for others to find, plan for a fun activity and have your children dig for fossils, run and play in the sprinkler, blow bubblies, fly a kite on a perfect windy, sunny day.
  • Making Crafts, Projects, or Food: Make homemade ice cream or other fun snacks, create fun science experiments that hopefully are too much of a mess to clean up, make a kaleidoscope, build a DIY bird feeder, create homemade play dough, pull the couches together to build a fort or tent, make milk carton boats and race them in the backyard or at a nearby lake, do a puzzle, make a fun, trending video with the whole family involved.
  • Short Trips Around the Area: See if the local county fair is open and ride on rides, go to a local zoo or petting zoo, visit the local library to see their summer kids program, visit a splash or water park, go to the farmer’s market, visit a local lake or park and feed the ducks, find a local farm that has berry picking, plan a beach trip, go the movies, go to the local bowling alley.

When summertime rolls around, it opens the door for many opportunities to plan fun activities with the whole family, which is important because children can grow up quickly and before you know it, they start making their own summer plans. So it’s important to make them count. In fact, it’s fairly common to see families that have summer vacation traditions. Whether it’s visiting a popular theme park each summer or going on an annual camping adventure, it’s always fun to create memories with your family.

So, during the summer months, while the weather is nice and sunny, it’s a good idea to make the most of it. Don’t let your children get bored and sit inside watching television all day while there is so much more they could be doing. There is a whole world out there ready for you to explore, so book your plane rides or pack the car and spend days doing something fun and worthwhile that your children will remember for the rest of their lives.