For many kids, summer is a busy time to explore, have fun with friends and hit up some of their favorite activities and parks. This year with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, things look a little different with social distancing guidelines still in place, restrictions at local amenities and many activity camps canceled. Parents everywhere are looking for ways to get creative and keep their kids busy at home during summer vacation. Thankfully, AlignLife at Springfield is here to help with 8 time-tested fun activities to keep your kids active and having a blast!
#1: Give your kids an important task
Responsibility is a great thing. Whether it’s watering the garden, feeding the family pet, or collecting the mail. Having something to do each day will not only let your kids see the value of contributing to daily chores, but also help occupy their time. Create a chore chart together and hang it where it’s visible throughout the day to help keep everyone on task. Remember, even the little kids can help out (and they’ll have fun doing it)!
#2: Create a DIY idea box
If you are looking for some fun indoor activities for kids, make an idea box and fill it with coloring books, crayons, legos, slime, board games, card games, homemade play dough, pom-poms, and paints. The next time they come to you looking for some fun things to do, open the idea box (yes… it can just be a cardboard box) and let them create, explore, and maybe even take on some science experiments right in your kitchen or living room. You might want to pull out an old tablecloth or some newspapers to keep the mess minimal – especially if your box includes glitter and glue!
#3: Plant a vegetable garden
This is a family favorite. Sew a vegetable garden or plant seeds in pots and ask the children to take responsibility for watering, weeding, and picking their crops. If you plant sunflowers, you could have a competition to see who in the family grows the tallest sunflower.
#4: Go on treasure or scavenger hunts
Create an iSpy treasure hunt (or several versions)! You could mix it up between natural and man-made materials; indoor and outside. Here are a few ideas on what you can look for if you’d like to give it an outdoor hunt a try:
- Wild Flowers
- Stream or creek
- Dead tree
- Fallen limb
- Smooth or shiny rock
- Y-shaped twig
- Animal tracks
- Birds nest
- Spider web
- Frog or toad
#5: Encourage outdoor play
Make sure the tires on the kids’ bikes are pumped up, splurge on new soccer balls, and consider setting up a hoop in the driveway. You could even teach them some old outdoor classics that don’t require any equipment like Simon Says, Hide-and-Seek, Red Light/Green Light, Capture the Flag, Marco Polo, and Tag! Or have them create their own obstacle course! Need more ideas? Take a look at this article:
#6: Offer quiet time
Having a mandatory quiet time each day will help keep both you and your kids centered. That doesn’t mean put them in front of a movie or TV show. Unplug and encourage your kids to rest, as well as play. Suggest they meditate, read, test their skills at origami or paper airplanes, or try some yoga?
#7: Decorate the driveway with chalk
With a box of sidewalk chalk, let your kids’ creativity flow and ask them to decorate the driveway or create games like Hopscotch and Tic-Tac-Toe. You can even make your own chalk paint (there are ‘recipes’ on the internet) and they can paint the sidewalk. Here’s a quick three-ingredient recipe if you want to give it a try.
Sidewalk Chalk Paint Recipe
- ½ c corn starch
- ½ c water
- Food coloring
#8: Plan a Chef’s surprise
For children that are old enough, have them contribute or help out in the kitchen. Simply pick an age-appropriate task – whether it’s cutting vegetables for a salad, making a healthy dessert, or mixing up smoothies for breakfast. You could even set up a cooking competition and see who makes the best dish!
Whatever you do, create a routine.
Consistency is key if you’re going to keep boredom at bay. Have breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time each day. Be consistent when it comes to bedtime and waking in the morning. Have healthy snacks handy in the fridge and cupboards. Make sure the whole family drinks plenty of water. And don’t forget to exercise, whether it’s a walk in the park, kicking a ball around the yard, or a swim in the neighbor’s pool.