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10 Creative Ways to Engage Your Kids This Summer

Summer is here, and that means you can’t necessarily rely on virtual school to keep your little ones entertained. If you have to work, as many parents do, this task can seem daunting. Where can you come up with imaginative ideas when your brain is tired?

Have no fear. The following ten creative ideas will help your children enjoy their vacation without them driving you crazy. Many of these activities can be completed independently by older kiddos, meaning you can focus on other tasks while they entertain themselves. Plus, you may learn a few new groovy tricks yourself. 

10 Creative Ways to Engage Your Kids This Summer

1. Build a Birdhouse 

During the quarantine, many people discovered what their cats have long known — watching feathered friends fly in for food is fun! Since your avian buddies can’t survive on seed alone, why not give them a roof over their heads? You might get to witness the miracle of life if the female has eggs that later hatch. 

If money is a concern, you only need six items to complete this craft, and you probably have many of them already. Once you complete the birdhouse, you can decorate it however you like. Then, hang it near a window for year-round viewing and enjoy the show. 

2. Make a Playground Scavenger Hunt 

Depending on your comfort level, you might not feel safe letting your tykes swing on public sets yet. You tell them dozens of times to keep their hands out of their mouths, but kids will be kids. There’s no need to ban them from the playground — make a scavenger hunt as an alternative to climbing and sliding. 

For younger children, stick to easily identifiable objects like a feather or a leaf. If your children are older, you can get more specific, like a maple leaf or a wild amaranth sprig. This activity can help reinforce biology and ecology lessons that they learned in school so that they retain more knowledge over the break. 

3. Play an Instrument 

Do your kiddos play any musical instruments? While drums might not represent your first choice, introducing your kids to the world of music could improve their grades once school returns to session. According to a study in the Journal of Educational Psychology, students who play instruments score higher on English, math and science exams than their peers. Within reason, let your child select what they want to play. Simple devices like recorders offer affordable options for financially strapped households. 

4. Start a Scrapbook 

What did you do over your summer vacation? It’s a snap to answer this question if you can whip out a scrapbook and show your audience a living story of your adventures. Introduce your kids to the art of scrapbooking. Along with postcards of family vacations, they might add pressed flowers from the trip and decorate the cover with seashells mined from the beach. 

5. Dig in the Garden 

So many Americans got into gardening during the pandemic that it created a seed shortage that put stains on companies like Burpee. It’s understandable — gardening gets you moving in the fresh air, which reduces stress and anxiety levels. It also gives you a modicum of self-sufficiency, if you don’t mind eating an awful lot of carrots and beans. 

Now that the fruits of your spring labor are coming into harvest, show your little ones how to tend to your garden. Teach them how to deadhead old flower blooms to promote new growth. Have them monitor your plot for insect pests and keep it watered and fertilized. 

6. Invent a New Card Game 

You can only play so many rounds of Uno before you start replying, “draw four,” when your hubby asks you what’s for dinner. Why not invent a family card game that is unique? Once you haggle out the details of the rules, your kids can introduce it to all their friends. 

7. Make Homemade Suncatchers 

A suncatcher in a sunny window is your ticket to prism heaven if you like to bring a rainbow inside. Your kids can gather flowers and leaves for their creations or use crayons or melted beads, depending on how old they are and how sophisticated their skill level is. These crafts also make the ideal gifts for grandparents, aunts and uncles with summer birthdays. 

8. Practice Kiddie Yoga 

Bodies of all ages benefit from yoga — there’s even a pose called “happy baby.” The trick is to bring the moves down to their level. Have your little ones arch their spines like a scared Halloween kitty or get low like a tiger preparing to pounce. Most young children love imitating animals, and using these analogies gets tiny muscles stretching. 

9. Get Grillin’ 

Cooking is a fabulous and creative activity, but who wants to slave over the stove when it’s 92 degrees? Instead, why not introduce your children to the art of grilling in an age-appropriate way? Even young children can enjoy toasting marshmallows with adult supervision, and your teenagers can rustle up a steak dinner for you and your partner. 

10. Water, Water Everywhere 

The best part about summer is getting wet to stay cool.  If you don’t have a kiddie pool — or a full-sized model — you can break out the sprinkler and let them play leapfrog through the mist. More states, too, are reopening public pools for the summer, but do call ahead to inquire about improved safety rules in the pandemic’s wake. 

Keep Your Kids Engaged This Summer With These Ten Creative Tips 

Summer is a challenging time for many parents, but you can keep your kids busy, even if you have to work. Draw inspiration from these ten tips to make this sizzling season the coolest yet for your littles. 

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