What do you think of when you say “summer”? For many of us, it is the sun, sandy beaches, and water; camping under the stars, or summer cookouts and barbecue. Even if you’re staying home, these themes are easy to incorporate into activities with your child and honor the season whilst having fun with the following activities!
- Water play
You don’t need the ocean or even a lake to have some splashy fun – just set up a kiddie pool or even some buckets on the lawn, on a balcony, or even just in the bathtub. Depending on the age of your child, you can set up simple scooping or transferring activities for a baby or toddler, a water “cooking” station with a few kitchen utensils for a preschooler, or have your elementary student create water paths and mazes with plumbing pipes, straws, old food containers and rubber bands or silly putty. A few drops of food colouring provide extra interest at little additional cost and washes out easily off of clothes if needed.
The great outdoors is a favourite activity – and childhood memory – for many families. But even if you’re not ready to pack up all your necessities into a backpack and head out into the forest, there’s no need to miss out. Backyard tent camping is a fun adventure for preschoolers and elementary children (especially if they’re old enough to sleep outside by themselves!) and even a balcony can be an adventurous respite, especially in the summer heat. Don’t underestimate a kid’s appeal of even a living room blanket fort, or a quilt “teepee” in the park in the middle of the day.
Whether you break out the grill for hot dogs and corn, roast marshmallows or make ice cream, there are some treats that just scream summer. Involve your child in more than just the eating: small children can piece together fruit kebabs or mix ingredients in a salad, preschoolers can chop vegetables, score the hot dogs, and an elementary age child can help with the grill or fire; just remember to teach them proper fire safety. And children of all ages can help with set up and clean up and make eager helpers and servers.
- Nature Exploration
There is so much going on outside and summer is the perfect time to enjoy it with your child. Create a fun nature scavenger hunt, one that increases in complexity with age. For an added challenge, an older child might be asked to count what they find. Once the items, such as leaves, twigs, seeds, grass and other interesting pieces have been collected, use them to create artworks together!
- Travel Journals
If your summer plans do involve travel, put your child in charge of vacation memories. Children from four up can be given a travel journey to glue in tickets and photographs, draw pictures and maps, and for older ones, journal about their experiences. This provides your child with a whole bunch of benefits: a wonderful educational activity that’s perfect for quiet moments like car, train or plane rides; an opportunity to process and consolidate their new experiences; a whole new focus during your travel as they actively look for mementos and things to document; and finally – a lasting keepsake that they might enjoy returning to year after year.