25 Activities to Keep Kids’ Brains Active in Summer
Here are some awesome summer activities and ideas that will keep your kids engaged this summer. Best of all, they are all really fun! Pick one that looks like a good fit or combine a few of them to create a season packed with learning.
- Fill in summer’s special days and events on a calendar. Help children use pencils, drawing paper, and rulers to create, decorate, and fill in their own summer calendars.
- Teach kids to cook and bake using recipes and cookbooks, including those from your family history and traditions.
- Make homemade bubble solutions and experiment with unique bubble blowing tools like strings, milk containers, and garbage can lids.
- Read aloud The Paper Crane by Molly Bang. Then introduce the art of paper folding by printing and following the instructions for how to make an origami crane.
- Go on a nature walk.
- Create musical instruments from materials found around the house.
- Cool down by making ice cream in a bag. The simple technique produces delicious ice cream in about five minutes.
- Read aloud your favorite myths or fairy tales. Discuss the stories with your child. Then invite your child to choose a story, and together make a diorama depicting a pivotal moment in the tale.
- Catch a firefly and then go online to learn more about fireflies or read a book about them.
- Have your child make an original tessellation.
- Staple together pieces of plain paper or use a notebook to help your child make a cartoon flip book. Have your children draw a sequence of cartoons and simulate motion as they “flip” through the pages.
- Learn about national parks from the comfort of your own home, and encourage your child to complete online activities and become a web ranger.
- Start a rock collection. Collect, gather, identify, and store neat rock specimens.
- Plan with your child a family activity day. Decide how much money to spend, and help your child research events and activities in your area and choose an affordable activity the whole family can enjoy.
- Take a virtual campus tour of colleges and universities your high school student might be considering.
- Ask your child to design an original paper airplane and diagram the steps for constructing it so another family member can recreate it!
- Start a family or neighborhood book club. Even a parent and child can form a book club by reading the same book and chatting about it.
- Hang a white sheet outside at night and shine a light on it. Observe the variety of insects it draws.
- Kids rarely have the opportunity to design their own rooms to best suit their individual needs. Invite your child to devote some thought to ways to improve his or her living space.
- Help your child make a set of tangrams. Trace the designs on a piece of paper, mix up the tangram pieces, and use them to create jigsaw puzzles.
- Create a clue-based scavenger hunt. Write clues and place them in envelopes, then give your child the first clue. As they open the clues, they are practicing their reading skills and ability to follow directions. At the end of the hunt, you can place a small surprise or a fun activity for your child to find.
- Turn your favorite book (story or chapter book) into a play. Write a script, have family members take different roles, and even create your own props and backdrops. Record or share it live with family and friends over Zoom.
- Turn plain white carnations or fresh-picked Queen Anne’s Lace into dramatic colored creations. Using just food coloring and water, flowers can be changed from white to any tint (usually in just one day).
- Invite your child to play a math game and record his or her scores on a sheet of paper. Choose a probability game, a timed flashcard activity, an online game from a site such as FunBrain, or another favorite math activity. Celebrate your child’s effort with a special treat.
- Put old wallpaper and magazine scraps to good use by using them to create recycled paper beads. This easy activity requires very few common materials and keeps kids very busy on rainy days. When they’re finished, children can string their beads and give them as gifts or wear them for fun.
This article was adapted from “25 Activities to Keep Kids’ Brains Active in Summer.”
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