Our grandchildren have completed their last tests and assignments, hugged their favorite teachers good-bye and tossed their bookbags into the closet, along with their memories of the school year. Summer vacation has officially arrived.
Children are ecstatic about this vacation from school. That is, until the summer doldrums arrive (and I am not talking about the weather). Summer can be long, hot, tedious and rainy. By mid-July, if not sooner, our grandchildren will be repeating the phrases their parents once used:
“There’s nothing to do…”
Experience taught us that the best way to handle the summer doldrums is to be prepared. Therefore, the Christian Grandparenting Network staff has assembled a list of our favorite ideas for summertime fun. Categories include: Full or Half Day Trips, Crafts and Games, Kitchen Fun, and Backyard Activities.
Full or Half Day Trips:
- Visit the library, farmer’s market, children’s museum, aquarium, or petting zoo.
- Have a nature scavenger hunt at a local park. (Look for something round, green, woody, soft, hard, etc.)
- Tour a fire station, nature preserve, or historical site.
- Picnic in the park.
- Go hiking at a state park.
- Rent a pontoon boat with friends or extended family members.
- Go fishing.
- Wade in a creek or go to a water park.
- Build sandcastles at the beach (or in a sandbox).
- Take a photo walk through a park or a public garden.
- Hunt for interesting rocks, paint and distribute them on a playground for other children to find.
- Enjoy an inexpensive matinee, complete with buttered popcorn.
- Visit a miniature golf course.
Crafts and Games:
- Paint clay pots and plant seeds in them.
- Make glitter ornaments. DIY Glitter Ornaments – Mop & Glo Method – YouTube
- Make tie-dye t-shirts. Rainbow Tie Dye Shirts – Crafts by Amanda
- Create stepping stones. Children’s Stepping Stone Projects – Homemade Stepping Stones For Kids (gardeningknowhow.com)
- Build a bird feeder.
- Make bead jewelry.
- Build playdough sculptures.
- Use toothpicks and marshmallows to see who can build the tallest building.
- Make posters with DIY Chalk Spray Paint. DIY Chalk Spray Paint Recipe – The Imagination Tree
- Play dress-up or hide-n-seek, or charades.
- Learn a new card game. (Uno, Go Fish, and Crazy Eights are some of our favorites.)
- Play “I Spy” during a walk or car ride.
- Build and fly paper airplanes.
- Create a collage with magazine pictures. (You can assign a theme, such as God’s Creation.)
- Host a dance competition with trophies for the winners.
- Build a castle out of cardboard boxes (Refrigerator boxes and masking tape work great). Decorate them if you wish.
- Read a chapter book together.
- Create videos, talking about something funny, old memories, or favorite holidays.
- Set up a movie matinee at home, complete with popcorn and comfy pillows.
- Ice and decorate sugar cookies. (Experiment with colors by combining blue and yellow, red and blue, or red and yellowing food coloring). Make the cookies from scratch to reinforce math concepts.
- Grow herbs in interesting containers such as: milk jugs, clay pots, or coffee cans.
- Cut wide slices from a watermelon and take it outside for a seed spitting contest.
- Dye white carnations by placing them in colored water. These make a great gift for their mom after working all day.)
- Make crafts with coffee filters and markers. coffee filter crafts – Search (bing.com)
- Plan a week’s menu and make a grocery list. Go shopping together.
- Make homemade bread or ice cream, or a family favorite recipe from scratch.
- Make homemade butter (science experiment). Scrumptious Science: Shaking Up Butter – Scientific American
- Make (and eat) “dirt.” Dirt Pudding (Oreo Dirt Dessert Recipe) | NeighborFood (neighborfoodblog.com)
Backyard and Neighborhood Activities:
- Create an obstacle course. Time yourself running the course; try to improve on your time.
- Draw Noah’s ark in chalk on the driveway. Draw animals coming to the ark.
- Draw a city, (with roads, stop signs, train tracks, and buildings) in chalk on the driveway and ride tricycles and scooters through the streets.
- Create a Frisbee golf course. Make A Frisbee Golf Course | Green Planet 4 Kids
- Play hopscotch or jacks, roller skate, ride bikes, jump rope, or fly a kite.
- Teach kids to swim or enroll them for lessons.
- Pull out the garden hose, run through the sprinkler, or fill water balloons – anything to get soaked.
- Set up a lemonade stand.
- Hold a car wash, bikes included.
- Help a neighbor (or church family) with gardening chores.Play “Would You Rather?” by directing your grandchildren to run from one side of the yard to the other. For example, would you rather be a pilot or a teacher? If pilot, run to the left side of the yard; if teacher, run to the right side of the yard.
- Play croquet, badminton, balloon toss, four-square, HORSE, red rover, monkey in the middle, or kickball.
- Build a tent with old sheets and blankets and camp out in the backyard.
- Roast hot dogs over a campfire; ditto with s’mores.
- Stretch out on lounge chairs at night and observe the stars (Use a telescope, star identification book, or app.)
We hope these ideas will chase away the summer doldrums before they have a chance to take up residence in your grandchildren’s vacation time. Helping them put the fun back into summertime might even add a spark to your own enjoyment of the season while building memories you can all treasure forever.
Please let us know how you used these suggestions at: (firstname.lastname@example.org ). After all, we love hearing your stories.