Today is the first official day of summer vacation, and it's also a very special day, it's our daughter's fourth birthday! She's been done with pre-school for a couple of weeks, but last Friday was the last day of kindergarten for our six year old boy. Now that the long, warm, fun days of summer are upon us, it's important to have activities to keep their days fun and the adults sane.
We don't plan to fill every moment of every day, because kids just can't and shouldn't handle that much structure at their ages. At the same time, our kids can only handle so much unstructured time before they start either fighting with each other or working together to come up with trouble. These are ideas we have to mix in throughout the days, weeks and months ahead which should help make summer fun.
Our city has a really cool beach with excellent lifeguards and great beach, sand, and swimming areas. It's less than a 10 minute drive, and an annual pass is $30.
We have an annual pass to the zoo, so our visits are ‘free'. This year, they have an area where they've set up a bunch of animitronic dinasours, and my son is really into dinosaurs and is looking forward to this, and my daughter can definitely hold her interest with this as well.
Backyard Toys & Swings
We have a sandbox, a swing set with a slide and climber, plus various water toys. These can all make for a couple of hours of fun at a time.
Our kids, as many, love to do art work. My wife is fantastic at hunting ideas down on Pinterest and other sites and can come up with some cool projects for them to do.
We have a lot of parks around that have walking trails, paved, dirt, or crushed gravel. Taking the kids for an ‘exploring adventure' is a sure fire way to burn some energy and discover new things.
Workbooks and Learning
Many kids that don't keep up on their learning skills ‘forget' a lot of what they learn. We have purchased a couple of workbooks for our kids that will keep their skills sharp on the areas where they're currently learning. Hopefully this will keep them sharp and also occupy some time.
Our son is really picking up on reading, and our library has a great summer reading program that he'll enjoy. We want him to help us log his activities in the computer. Our daughter isn't reading yet, but getting books read to her counts, so she'll definitely be able to participate.
Time with friends
Getting kids together in the neighborhood is always a great way for them to socialize and catch up, and the adults get to do the same thing!
We've signed the kids up for some various camps. None are overnight, but my son will get to do a robot camp and a vacation Bible school camp, and my daughter will get to do a dance camp. This will take them for a few hours each day for the stretch of the camp (typically 4-5 days)
Both sets of grandparents love to spend time with the kids, and they love going to the grandparents houses as well. Having visits there is something that's great for everybody, whether the grandparents take both at the same time or split them up between grandparents, or leave one at home, it's a nice change that everybody enjoys (including my wife *lol*)
We have many community parks within a few miles of our house. Each has different play structures and such, so visits here and there are definitely fun and adventurous!
Readers, what are some of the things you do to keep summer vacation flowing for young kids that won't break the bank and will keep the boredom to a minimum?