Keep Kids Engaged Over the Summer

While most kids look forward to summer break all year, this time can be a challenge for parents. As adults, our jobs and responsibilities do not have an extended break, so finding ways to keep children engaged and entertained over the summer months becomes crucial. This is especially true because lacking a school routine can lead to boredom and mischief for some kids. Below are some ways you can help make your kids’ summer fun and productive. 

Tips for Keep Kids Busy During the Summer

From educational pursuits and creative projects to outdoor adventures and community activities, summer offers plenty of opportunities for children to learn, grow, and create lasting memories. 

Establish a Daily Routine

Creating a daily schedule for the summer can provide children with structure, alleviating anxiety and uncertainty. Include time for chores, meals, playtime, education, and relaxation – because summer should still be a fun break. Also, include when you will have family time and when your child needs to engage in independent activities, such as reading, drawing, or screen time. 

Create a Chore Chart

As part of their daily or weekly schedule, include a chore chart for household responsibilities. This can include tasks like making the bed, cleaning their room, feeding the family pet, and setting the table. Depending on your child’s age, consider incorporating an allowance system for completing chores. This will not only teach your child responsibility for their home and finances, but it can also boost their confidence about a job well done and help them understand the importance of contributing to the care of your family.

Give Them Their Own Space 

Nobody wants to be cloistered in their bedroom all day. Designate an alternative space in your home where your child can keep essentials for summer activities. These can include books, puzzles, coloring books, arts and crafts supplies, and any toys your kid enjoys. 

Come Up with a Summer Bucket List 

Sit down as a family and brainstorm a list of easy-to-complete and fun-to-do activities you all would like to do over the summer. To accommodate the weather, this list should include a mix of indoor and outdoor activities, ranging from a paper airplane contest to flying a kite at the park. Post your bucket list in a central location and make reviewing part of your morning routine, building excitement for the day ahead. 

Spend Time in the Kitchen 

Learning to cook and bake is an essential skill that will stay with your child throughout their lifetime. It also teaches them valuable skills like measuring, nutrition, meal planning, following instructions, and food expenses. Begin with simple tasks such as mixing ingredients or decorating cupcakes, gradually introducing more complex duties like chopping vegetables and following recipes. 

Get Outside 

Spending time outdoors not only gets kids out of the house, but it’s also great for physical exercise for kids who need to burn off some excess energy. Get together with other parents to organize activities for your child and their friends, rotating the parent-in-charge. Plan visits to a local park, going to a public pool, participating in a community service project, or planting a garden.  

Quiet Time is Important 

Just as physical activity is healthy for your child, making time to decompress is essential too. Think about signing up your child for a summer reading program. Many public libraries offer reading programs to help kids foster a love of books and learning. The Clewiston Public Library and the Florida B. Thomas Public Library in Harlem host teen book clubs, and the Barron Library in LaBelle has a variety of events each week. Also, the Glades County Public Library offers a variety of services available, including a Storytime program. Be sure to follow your local library on social media to hear about upcoming activities and consider including a weekly trip to the library in your summer routine to check out books and learn about any community events.  

In addition to reading, explore online games and apps that are fun and educational. There are plenty of age-appropriate options that focus on subjects like math, reading, science, and problem-solving, with most including free trials. Look for platforms that include interactive elements that keep children engaged and stimulated. ABCmouse provides creative lessons and activities tailored to young kids, and Prodigy combines math and English challenges in a fantasy game element. Creativebug has thousands of arts and crafts classes for every member of your family. 

Summer Camps & Community Activities 

Summer camps can be affordable. Explore options provided by your local Parks & Recreation departments or community centers. The 4-H Club programs, in partnership with the University of Florida, offer activities throughout the year in a variety of locations. 

Palm Beach State College offers youth programs as part of its Continuing Education program. Courses are dedicated to various interests, including aviation, arts, computer programming, and more.  

The YMCA of Southwest Florida has a number of summer camps available throughout the summer, focused on a wide range of interests, from sports to teen leadership to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Mathematics), with extended care options. Additionally, financial assistance is available to all families, regardless of your situation.  

Summer does not have to be a challenge for parents or a bore for kids! By incorporating these tips, you can create a fun, unique summer that is just right for your family while also helping your child develop new skills and build confidence, making the most of summer break. 

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