11-free-summer-activities-for-kids

Our summer may look simpler this year than it normally does.

Instead of being disappointed or frustrated about our losses during this season, let’s choose to embrace the slower pace of the summer of 2020.

If you’re like me and hanging out at home more, with little desire to spend a lot of money right now, perhaps these fun, but low-cost, ideas will be of interest to you. 

11-free-summer-activities-for-kids

1. Plan a themed family night

Look at your summer calendar and see if there are any days coming up that you could purposely celebrate. For example, National Ice Cream Day is coming up on July 21! Why not surprise your family with an ice cream party that day or set up a sundae bar after dinner?

One of our family’s favorite theme nights we’ve ever had was a backward dinner, where everyone shows up to eat with their clothes on backward. You also serve the meal backward starting with dessert first and serving the salad last. 

The point is to be silly and plan a fun family night that you wouldn’t ordinarily do.

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2. Seek out Little Free Libraries

Little Free Libraries are “take one, leave one” book stations, and are located all over the place. Visiting Little Free Library locations with your child both encourages a healthy habit of reading and helps kids recycle books they’ve already read.  

Our youngest and I enjoy trying to match the theme of the books we donate to the theme of the little library we are donating to, as we recently did at our local dog park. Get creative with your experiences and enjoy exploring your community together.

Check out littlefreelibrary.org for a map of libraries near you, as well as best practices during the Coronavirus.

3. Make a Boredom Bucket

I’m giving you permission to stop playing cruise director and constantly entertaining your child this summer!

Boredom is mightily beneficial, if we are strong enough to allow our children to experience it. Use this summer downtime to let your kids figure out how to entertain themselves, by themselves, just like we had to do back in the day.

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One way to set your son or daughter up for success is to help them create a Boredom Bucket, Bin, or Basket with quiet activities to occupy them when they don’t seem to know what to do with themselves. It’s that or a toilet bowl brush so let them take their pick!

CHECK OUT  MY SUMMER OF SIGNIFICANCE PRINTABLE PACK HERE

Putting together a boredom bucket also doesn’t need to cost you anything, unless you want to mix in new items. Your child can choose what items go in the bucket or you can go through their room like I did and pick out small items that have rarely gotten used. You can also add new items to the bucket or switch items out throughout the summer to keep it fun.

These magnetic balls are pricey, but they have been our son’s favorite boredom cure this summer so they are worth it!

4. Start dialogue journals 

School may be over, but we want to keep up on our student’s penmanship. So, grab one of your child’s barely used notebooks from this school year and start a dialogue journal with your kids to help them:

  • Improve their penmanship.
  • Get more comfortable expressing their thoughts, feelings, and ideas through the written word.
  • Think about the thoughts and feelings of another in this interactive form of communication.
  • Create a keepsake from their childhood to be cherished later.

Click HERE for more details on how and why you may want to get started on this!

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5. Strengthen life skills 

Take the time to teach your children the life skills that will help them when they start back to school and beyond. What is it that your child needs to know and that they can learn to do this summer?

Not sure? Get my life skills age-appropriate summer task checklists HERE!

6. Go Geocaching

Here’s a family-friendly activity that’s high on both fun and fresh air. Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt offering lots of hidden containers (called caches) and tips and clues for finding them in public spaces such as parks. It was one of our kids’ favorite things they did as we traveled around the USA in our RV in 2014.

Geocaching-kids-summer

Create a free account HERE or download the app from Apple or Google Play on your smartphone. Make sure to bring hand sanitizer and a pen to sign and date the logbook in each geocache you find before placing it back where you found it.

7. Join a summer reading challenge

There are many ways to motivate your child to read more this summer. Start with your local public library to see what they are offering this summer or join in one of the many reading challenges being offered online.

Have a kid who loves pizza? This may be the reading program for them!  Camp BOOK IT is Pizza Hut’s new summer reading program where kids ages 5-12 can earn free pizzas from June through August. Half Price Books is running their summer reading challenge too or you can sign up for Scholastic’s Summer Read-A- Palooza as well.

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8. Send postcards

Postcards are an easy way to get our kids working on their penmanship while sending some love through the mail this summer.

Who knew you can even order postcard stamps from the comfort of your home on Amazon right HERE. I like buying postcards showcasing our beautiful state, but you can buy unique sets of postcards like these if you don’t have an option or desire to purchase them locally.

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9. Make a homemade treat in your kitchen together

Hanging out in the kitchen with your kids this summer will provide so many benefits! Not only will you have some fun together, but you will also have the chance to teach your children lifelong skills.

What recipe can you teach your kids how to make? Homemade Strawberry Fruit Rollups is one of our favorite family summer treats and it’s the only recipe I’ve ever posted on my blog!

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WANT TO CREATE SIGNIFICANT FAMILY SYSTEMS IN THE KITCHEN THIS SUMMER?

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10. Start a glass jar tradition

One of the most important things we can do is take the time to create simple traditions in our homes that teach our kids the values we deem most important. One way to do this is to create an annual glass jar tradition to teach the values of generosity, gratitude, joy, or presence.

Here are four glass jar traditions you could start this summer!

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11. Create a chalk art family masterpiece

I know that chalk art is so “Coronavirus quarantine,” but this mosaic design we painted on our glass door brings me so much joy. I don’t think I’ll ever erase it!

Grab some masking or painters tape and create a design (with chalk markers) on your window or on your driveway and let each family member take part in bringing your artistic creation to life. Make it a fun, family affair!

What are other simple, fun, and low-cost activities are you enjoying with your family this summer?

Create-Significant-Summer-Systems-Kids-in-Kitchen

As we head into summer, let’s talk about how we can use this June, July, and August to strengthen our family systems and raise kids who are contributors!

LISTEN IN as my author friend, Danielle Wurth, and I talk about one chapter of her new book- KIDS IN THE KITCHEN– and how we can use the summer months at home to teach our kids what it is we need them to know in the kitchen while having fun doing it! Now there’s a summer win-win!

7 Ways to Create a Summer of Significance in 2020

  • Grab the Summer Skills Lists in my ‘How to Create A Summer of Significance in 2020 Printable Pack HERE!
  • Download Danielle’s Kitchen Zones Printable HERE
  • Want to make a Family Recipe Binder? Download Danielle’s Printable HERE
  • Check out Danielle’s Books HERE 
  • Get Danielle’s favorite label maker HERE 

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7-ways-to-create-a-summer-of-significancei-in-2020

The Summer of 2020 is being called ‘The Summer of Nothing’ and ‘The Endless Summer.’

While I can certainly relate to the feelings and realities behind both of those statements, I know that I want to make this summer matter despite our circumstances.

Childhood is short. Summer is even shorter. God willing, we only get 18 summers with our kids, so how can we bring significance to this summer that may be simpler than we’re used to?

7-ways-to-create-a-summer-of-significancei-in-2020

1. Strengthen your family values and purpose

Have you taken the time to claim your core values and purpose for raising your kids? It will be nearly impossible to live out a summer of significance if you haven’t taken the time to define what ‘significant’ even means to you.

Start by defining your core values and what it is you want to instill in your children while they are growing up under your care. 

What do you want your son or daughter armored with when they leave your home one day headed into adulthood?

Claim it. Name it and strive to live it out this summer.

2. Prioritize play

Most likely any vacationing or summer camp plans your family had scheduled for this summer were cancelled. Although we’re disappointed with all of the changes to our calendar this year, let’s take a deep breath and instead think about how you can bring more fun to your simple summer days.

How about planning a themed family dinner night? We still talk about the backward dinners we did when our kids were younger, where we all came to dinner wearing backward clothing and started our meal with dessert and ended with salad.

What is it that brings your family joy when you do it together? Plan more of THAT to create significant summer moments and memories for your family.

Click HERE for FREE ideas for being more playful this summer! (Be sure to look for my Boredom Bucket idea helping kids to be playful on their own!)

create-summer-significance-2020-printable-worksheets

3. Cultivate an atmosphere of growth

Our time spent in Coronavirus quarantine exposed many strengths and weaknesses in our families. 

What’s something that didn’t go so well during your time schooling at home? Focus on strengthening that area this summer.

While it’s important to play and relax, it’s also crucial to keep learning and growing through the summer months.

For instance, I’m so tired of online learning and am looking for ways to help my youngest keep up on his math skills. This summer we’re using Learning Math Wrap-Ups to strengthen his multiplication and division facts. Check out this whole line of awesome hands-on learning wrap-ups HERE, where you will get 20% off and free shipping too!

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Learning Wrap-Ups sent us these products for our son to try! I’m so grateful that he enjoys using them, and his math skills are improving!

4. Teach life skills

Having the kids at home provides a perfect opportunity to teach them what it is we want them to know before they leave our homes for adulthood one day.

This summer we can take the opportunity to teach our children how to do their own laundry, cook, clean, or change a tire. Perhaps you can finally open that bank account or help your child start a business. Or simply teach them to tie their shoes or handwrite, address and mail a thank you note.

What life skill will you purposely teach your child this summer?

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GET MY SUMMER LIFE SKILLS- FOR TODDLERS THROUGH TEENS- PRINTABLES

5. Make mindful entertainment choices

Binge-watching random television shows, scrolling social media constantly, or playing video games non-stop isn’t a good use of our child’s time. Sure, there may be space for mindless entertainment choices this summer, but we must purposely set boundaries on them, so they don’t consume our days.

Why not purposely choose documentaries to educate yourself as well as create conversation and awareness of cultural issues in your family this summer?

What healthy entertainment choices will you choose for your family this summer?

4 Ways to Save Your Sanity with a Summer Screentime Strategy

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6. Go on local adventures

We were so excited to celebrate our high school graduates and my husband’s 50th birthday on an Alaska cruise this summer. Unfortunately, our epic trip, along with many other things have been cancelled this summer. As disappointing as it is, we have to pivot and plan for other adventures this summer of 2020.

Where can you plan to go explore, get out in nature, and enjoy the outdoors where you live?

Most likely, you don’t have to venture further than your home state for family fun. Many times we take for granted the beautiful places that surround us locally that we’ve never taken the time to visit… yet.

What adventures will you create this summer that will add to your family narrative and strengthen your relationships?

Summer-2020-Bucket-List

7. Celebrate life, and loved ones, in simple ways

What can you do to celebrate Dad on Father’s Day so that he feels special and loved?

When my kids were younger, they loved it when I planned a special day for each of them. My sons and daughter got to pick what they wanted to eat for breakfast in bed and what our family would do (within reason) that day.

In my Create a Summer of Significance in 2020 Printable Pack, you will get monthly celebration calendars for you to plan your June, July, and August, as well as a fun fill-in-the-blank All About Dad printable for Father’s Day.

Questions to Ask Yourself-

  • What does each family member need this summer to strengthen them physically, mentally, emotionally, and relationally?
  • What frustrated you the most this school year? Work on improving that area this summer so when school rolls around again you may have established better habits.
  • What summer family tradition can you repeat again this year? Summer wouldn’t be summer without this…. bike rides to the bagel shop or boating on the lake. What are the simple things your family does together that can still happen this summer of 2020?

Summer-of-Significance-2020-Printable-Workbook