10 Ways to Have a Great Summer Out of School

With summer just around the corner and school about to let out, now is the time to make the most of your child’s summer vacation. Whether it’s local projects and day trips or wider excursions, here are some fun and easy ways to keep your child engaged.

1. Plan ahead:

Lay out a loose itinerary for the days and weeks ahead, as this will not only keep your kids on a routine but also avoid boredom and unnecessary down time devoted to electronics (or worse!) Gather materials, recipes, and activity lists that can be enjoyed indoors, and make sure you’ve got plenty of books and arts & crafts supplies on hand for rainy days.

2. Look into organized outings and meet-ups:

Many schools, museums, and public centers organize summer activities and day trips for children of all ages, usually at a reasonable cost or no charge at all. Check out your community boards and websites to see what’s available, as you may be surprised (and a little jealous) at the wonderful goings-on planned.

3. Volunteer:

Giving back to your community not only teaches your child valuable skills and ethics, but provides you with a rewarding chance to connect. Whether you prefer to help shelter animals, assist the homeless, or tend to environmental causes, sites such as VolunterMatch.org provide excellent resources for parents that want to get their kids involved in age-appropriate programs.

4. Explore the great outdoors:

Camping trips, hikes, and ranch retreats are just some of the many ways you can get your child out in the fresh air and enjoying all that nature has to offer. Camping is a great way to introduce your child to the rugged wilderness, whether it’s the Texas plains, Eastern forests, or Pacific hills. Check out your local Parks and Recreation online bulletins for suggested locations, tips, and activities. Even taking one day a week at your local park, complete with a picnic and games, can provide lasting summer memories.

5. Get your green thumb on:

If the great outdoors only go as far as your backyard, make the most of it! Plan a family garden and have each member pick their preferred flowers, fruits, and veggies to grow and tend to. Gardening is a fantastic way to teach resourcefulness and self-sufficiency, and there’s no better feeling than watching your efforts blossom throughout the summer.

6. Make it a movie night:

Drive-in theaters may be a thing of the past, but many towns still honor this American tradition, especially during warm summer months. Some parks have outdoor public screening nights, which make for perfect dinner picnics. Taking your family on a weekly movie night is a great opportunity to spend time together and enjoy a magical pastime.

7. Hit up the flea markets:

Flea markets are truly the treasure troves of today, and your kids will have a blast exploring the strange and wonderful wares for sale. Set up scavenger hunts for added fun, or look for items that can be repurposed for creative household projects.

8. Get crafty:

Popular home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot offer great summer programs for kids of all ages, allowing them to express their inner craftsmen and learn from the experts themselves. Birdhouses, trucks, mail organizers, tool boxes, and various gifts are just a few of the items these workshops help your child build.

9. Have cultural outings:

Experiencing the many different cultures and traditions that make up our country can be fun and enriching, and help your child understand and embrace their peers. Arrange museum days, and explore your local art and history museums, as well as heritage houses and monuments. Introduce your child to different foods by taking them on special trips to your town’s ethnic restaurants, and get them excited with stories, music, and films featuring those cultures.

10. Set up a summer job:

Your child may not be old enough to collect a paycheck, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help out and earn a little pocket money. Assign them an easy daily task or two and put their “wages” in a specially labeled jar, to be paid each week or every other week, for them to spend however they want. This will give your child something to look forward to and work towards, and teach them early on about proverbial money not growing on trees!

While many parents and caretakers may find it difficult to dedicate necessary time and money to their child’s summer holiday, rest assured there are many helpful links such as child care resources for finding local childcare and activity resources.

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