For some families, summertime is something they eagerly look forward to because it means family vacations and field trips to all those places they don’t get to visit during the school year. But for others, summer vacation brings with it a high level of stress and dread over how to keep the kids busy and safe for three months. Whether or not you work outside the home, there are plenty of ways to keep your kids active and minimize their utterances of that dreaded phrase, I’m bored!
Language Camps & Culture Centers
If you’re a working parent looking for options when it comes to childcare, consider some of the many camps that are frequently available during the summer. I keep hearing about more and more foreign language camps that are being offered. The dates and times vary, but most meet every day for at least a week at a time. Check out Lango Kids and Vecinitos. Wouldn’t that be a fantastic summer learning experience for your child? Imagine the first day of school. Teacher: What did you do this summer? Your child: Oh, I learned another language.
Cultural centers often offer classes or programs that explore artists, writers, or celebrations specific to a specific culture or country. What a great way for your child to “travel around the world” this summer!
Read Related: Time to Find a Summer Camp is Now
Summer is a great time to supplement your child’s education by looking into what types of classes your local museums offer. For example, art museums may have painting, watercolor, photography, collage, or pottery classes. Our local art museum has a performing arts theatre and runs a summer theatre camp as well. Science museums typically offer a variety of classes or camps that focus on specific themes like bugs, fossils, robotics, physics, reptiles, and more.
One of my favorites, zoo camps are not only fun, but extremely educational, too! The camps usually focus on topics like vertebrates, or birds, or nocturnal animals. Either way, they are a great opportunity for kids to develop science skills over the summer, and they also help your child to get some exercise at the same time as they tromp across the zoo looking at their amazing subjects.
There are several popular reading programs online, including the Scholastic Summer Challenge, and through bookstore chains like Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Half-Price Books. Most libraries also run summer reading programs, and many meet weekly or every other week to monitor your child’s progress and hand out reward incentives.
Don’t let your children spend the hot summer flopped on the couch watching the tube. Sign them up at your local YMCA, which certainly offers sports camps and classes on everything from swimming to gymnastics to rock climbing…and much more.
Summer is also the perfect time to start a hobby or learn a new craft. Popular craft stores like Michael’s and JoAnn’s frequently offer weekend classes and have all the supplies ready for you. But if you’d prefer to stay home, you can find an endless number of tutorials on YouTube and websites for things like jewelry making, crocheting, knitting, scrap-booking, and more.
A scavenger hunt is easy to put together and, depending on how difficult you make it, takes a while to complete. For example, you can have kids find three different types of leaves, two acorns, a flat rock, one pill bug, a bird’s nest, a forked branch, and so on. To make it more nature friendly and not disturb the wildlife, give your child a camera to document everything he finds.