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Summer Activities are something that most parents, including myself, go looking for, every time the temperature rises. It’s no wonder either, considering how many of us are trying to come up with ideas to keep kids engaged, happy and healthy through a 2-month break.
Five years ago, I wrote a post on 62 Summer Activities for Kids, thanks to a parent group on Facebook. The moms there came up with some brilliant suggestions and I’ll be forever thankful to them for that.
Read it here: 62 Gadget-Free Summer Activities for Kids
(Okay I just checked and I published that post on March 24th, 2014! That’s exactly 5 years ago!).
While that list is more or less geared towards the younger age group, today’s list is for tweens and teens. I even asked my 12-year-old for input and she came up with some ideas. Talk about a collaborative post. 😉
But don’t worry if you don’t have a tween/teen. At the end of this post, I have linked to some lovely articles/posts by other moms who have created their own list of activities for kids of different ages. So, make sure you don’t miss any of them!
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So, without ado, here’s a list of Summer Activities for Tweens and Teens that will help you too.
1. Cultivate a Reading Habit
You do know that if I am going to talk about activities for kids, reading will always rank as the first item on the list. That, and the fact that Gy asked me to put it first on the list. 😉
Want ideas for books for tweens?
Here’s an important tip if you have kids who aren’t readers. Let them read anything they like, even if it’s a comic and you think they’re too old for it, please let them read.
Raising a reader needn’t be a challenge. That’s what Allison McDonald and Amy Mascott talk about in this book.
For one thing, it will keep them away from screens (which is a HUGE plus) and for another, it will encourage them to slowly pick up the habit of exploring more books.
Leave books lying around the house and resist the urge to clean up every single day. (As a recovering dusting fiend, believe me, this is hard!)
Summer Activity TIP: Give them a reading challenge of sorts. Introduce them to the Goodreads Challenge and ask them how many books they’d like to finish in a two-month period. You’d be surprised how many kids love a challenge. 🙂
2. Learn a skill like knitting
I know how this sounds and I can hear your brain cells whirring: ‘Knitting? Really?’
Absolutely and this is actually not gender-specific. I remember getting this knitting kit as a gift for Gy when she was 7 or 8 years old. It’s a different matter that she only took it out and looked at it when she turned 11.
But the good news is, once she did, she was completely hooked! So much so that she made an entire scarf from scratch, all by herself and with zero help from me. Kept her completely occupied.
Summer Activity TIP: Anything which lets kids use their hands in a DIY exercise is good for the brain. So if knitting doesn’t work for your child, find something else that will.
3. Encourage storytelling
I remember how thrilled I was when Gy came to me one evening and made up a story using nothing but a set of story blocks.
In fact, I immediately captured it on video and it was something so many parents loved!
The best part? These story blocks are so inexpensive! They’re quite ideal to carry on road trips as well, especially if you have a large camper of sorts where the kids can use the rear space in the car to play.
Summer Activity TIP: I’ve discovered that open-ended toys are especially useful for introverted/shy kids. It helps build their confidence in social interactions. Try it out and let me know.
4. Collect Stamps/Coins
Remember doing this as kids? The idea came to me when Gy stumbled across her dad’s stamp collection from 30 years ago. He has an entire album full of stamps from various countries.
I know it’s the age of e-mail, but get a friend or a relative to send some postcards every now and then. Gy has been building her own collection for a while now and she intends to sort and organise her dad’s collection in a new scrapbook.
The same can be done with coins. Did you know that in most zoos/ tourist spots they give you custom coins, made by a special machine? On our trip to the Boston zoo in 2010, we collected quite a few like these!
You can get a piggy bank to store these or even a scrapbook like the one above to keep track of different coins from various places.
Summer Activity TIP: Collections can be extended to anything that catches the kid’s interest. Rocks, leaves and twigs, birds’ feathers are all ideas for a Nature scrapbook, for example.
5. DIY Kits: Science/ LEGO/ Terracotta
April 2018 was one of those months when I watched the creative side of Gy truly blossom and take shape. I’d always known that she was more craft-inclined than I was, but this particular activity blew me away.
A simple 10-day Terracotta workshop, a DIY terracotta kit, some paint brushes and 3 hours every afternoon, were all it took to make these lovely designs. The instructor was pretty patient and after 3 days, the kids managed everything on their own.
I couldn’t find an identical kit for this on Amazon, but if you just want a terracotta painting experience, you could start with this cute piggy bank version.
Other great DIY kits I’d recommend are those that encourage learning and fun simultaneously. LEGO and Science kits are pretty fabulous.
Lego kit : Lego technic Mack Anthem (The one grouse I have against the marketing here is that it is labelled for ‘boys’. Gy is a girl and has loved LEGO for the longest time. She builds everything from doll houses to airplanes. Gender stereotyping should really not happen anymore, but that’s a subject for another post).
If you’re in the space for a STEM subscription box, this award-winning one by Green Kid Crafts comes highly recommended. Spans a whole gamut of age groups too!
Summer Activity TIP: Pretty much any activity- Science, Craft, Lego- can be made interesting, if you look for the fun element. Research some ideas that will help kids remain occupied and learn something at the same time.
6. Maintain a Habit Tracker Journal
This warms my productivity-filled heart like nothing else can. 🙂
You know that expression that kids learn more by watching and observing than by direct instruction? It’s never been more true than in the case of Gy.
She’s quite the sponge when it comes to watching and learning. Over the period of one month, she noticed how I worked on my journal and my personal habit tracker and then asked if she could start one too! You can imagine my delight. 😉
And so , I helped her make one from scratch. Now, she’s keen to add stickers and other items that will make it more colourful. Okay, yes, she’s a stationery junkie like her mom.
If you want an idea for a DIY habit tracker, check this post below.
If you’d like some add-on features like reward stickers, I loved the look of these ones here.
Summer Activity TIP: Habit trackers are great to keep track of chores, household duties, school assignments, fun activities to do daily- the list is pretty endless. Once I started doing this, I noticed how Gy automatically became more responsible in other areas too.
7. Indoor Games
I’m a big fan of board games, strategy games and card games myself. Turns out Gy is no different.
On the days when the heat is just too much to bear, a good stack of board games can help beat boredom and keep the children entertained.
We’ve got all of these, by the way. The Monopoly Game in particular is a huge hit, with the electronic credit card machine to track money instead of the paper money of yore. 😀
Summer Activity TIP: Get more open-ended board games and indoor games that are not necessarily age-restricted. I love these varieties since they encourage long-term use.
8. Go on a hike/trek
If the outdoors gets your kids more excited than the indoors, the one way to burn off all that excess energy is to take them on a hike.
Every year, Gy’s school organises two or three treks in nearby hillocks and Nature spots. Apart from building strength and stamina, this is a fabulous way to encourage the exploratory nature of kids.
If you’re slightly more adventurous and are willing to try them, send the kids for overnight camps with a trusted guide. We’ve done that four or five times and although the first time was a bit apprehensive, her sheer joy at the end of the camp was enough to send her again.
Hikes and treks require a one-time investment in hardy camping gear as well as sturdy shoes and backpacks. Find all of these at reasonable prices in your local stores or just order them online.
Summer Activity TIP: Hikes and treks may not be suitable for kids of all ages/ dispositions. If you are unsure about sending your kids on a hike alone, accompany them so you can be certain if this something they can manage by themselves later.
9. Hit the beach
Nothing spells Summer like a trip to the beach, am I right?
The sun, the sand, the waves are all designed to give you a most memorable experience. Add these lovely beach toys to the mix and you have hours of playtime for kids of all ages.
Gy had a huge stack of these when she was younger and even now, we take a few of them when we visit the beach. Hey, sand castles are for everyone, even the young at heart.
Summer Activity TIP: Don’t forget to use plenty of sun protection gear such as sun hats, suntan lotion, sunglasses both for yourself and your kids. Stay safe outdoors.
10. Be a tourist in your home town
Ever noticed that you tend to visit the hot spots (pun intended) in your home town, only when family and friends come over to visit?
It’s natural. Most often, we don’t look at our own backyard as an option when it comes to activities to do. Here’s how you can change that.
Set aside an entire day to devote to sightseeing around your city. Take a map (a regular one, not Google maps) and mark out the best spots for tourists.
Ask the kids to draw up an intinerary, plan the transport and carry scrapbooks or notepads along to take notes. Don’t forget to pack a good point-and-shoot camera as well. Armed with these, plus a bag of snacks and water, you’re now ready to explore the city you grew up in.
Summer Activity TIP: After the day out, ask the kids to either record their experiences in a journal or create a scrapbook of memories they can cherish.
This lock journal is something Gy has and absolutely treasures. And yes, mom and dad are off-limits when it comes to this book of hers. 🙂
Looking for more screen-free activity ideas for kids? Check out these links below. Thank me later. 🙂
- 8 Meaningful Summer Vacation ideas by Melinda Stoops
- Keeping Kids Busy- Summer Ideas for Work At Home Moms by MrsDaakuStudio
- School Holiday Bucket List of Ideas by Holly of Simplify, Create, Inspire
- 33 Non-Screen-Time Activities for Kids by Ophira of Easy Mommy Life
- 10 Epic Summer Activities for Kids by Christi of Keeper of the Memories
- 5 Best Summer Water Toys for Outside Fun by Elizabeth of Worth Writing For
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