Written by Ivy Jacobson
School is almost out—but don't let the last bell of the year alarm you. If you aren’t ready for three months of your kids being home, check out this list of ten great things to do with your family this summer.
1. Get crafty. Fill a shoebox with art and craft supplies and encourage your kids to use paper from the recycle bin to make their own masterpieces. Need some inspiration? Purchase Carla Sonheim’s books Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists, The Art of Silliness: A Creativity Book for Everyone, and Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals from your local bookstore or Amazon.com.
2. Renew your crush on your local library. Prevent “summer brain drain” by taking advantage of your library’s summer reading programs and storytime sessions.
3. Blow some bubbles. Bubble wands are the best summer boredom busters for toddlers. If you have kids six or younger, acquire a giant bubble wand set from the Majic Bubble Wand company.
4. Start a lemonade stand. Let your kids run a business while fighting cancer this summer by having a neighborhood lemonade stand. Have your kids sell lemonade and baked goods and donate the proceeds to Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Register your stand with the nonprofit foundation by May 31st to receive a free starter kit.
5. Go to the movies. Catch an outdoor movie at And don't forget to check out the $1 Summer Movie Express program for kids on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at your local Regal Cinema.
6. Visit your local museums. Many museums offer a “Free Friday” day with free admission and special activities for kids.
7. Create an invention box. Toss some wire, recycled cans and bottles, pipe cleaners, kid-appropriate tools and other items into an “invention box” to have on hand when kids get bored. Author Nancy Blakey’s books Go Outside!: Over 130 Activities for Outdoor Adventures and More Mudpies: 101 Alternatives to Television have other great ideas for low-cost boredom busters and “activity kits” you can put together to have on hand. You’ll find them on Amazon.com or at your local bookstore.
8. Put on a show! Toss leftover Halloween costumes, masks, dress-up clothes, shoes and hats in a box with some potential props and tell your kids to come up with a play. They’ll love performing for you. You can find great items for a dress-up box at your local thrift store.
9. Go on an adventure. Meagan Buckmaster-Ross, a Duvall, WA mom of four and author of the blog An Adventure Every Day, frequently creates “day trip adventures” for her kids. Pick some interesting places to explore that are an hour or less drive from your house. You can help your kids remember their adventures, says Buckmaster-Ross, by encouraging them to take photos and draw the interesting things they see. Her 7-year-old already has her own sketchbook, and her older siblings have kept journals for years.
10. Have fun in and on the water. Go swimming. Rent a canoe or kayak together as a family. Or take your toddler to the local splash park.