I have a love/hate relationship with summer break. I love having freedom from planning and writing weekly lesson plans and from the hours of sitting at our dining room table helping our children complete their daily work. I hate the loss of a daily schedule and the inevitable moaning of our kids about how bored they are. Even though we homeschool and could adhere to a “homeschool around the year” schedule, it has always been our children’s desire that we keep to the same school and break schedule as the neighborhood children. While the kids are initially happy to have the free time given to their peers, I am able to commiserate with other moms over the challenges of keeping kids gainfully occupied during their vacation from school. We also strive to keep summer as tech free as possible, as I imagine most of you do as well. What then can we do when boredom sets in? I’ve spent several weeks pondering and perusing Pinterest and have come up with a decent sized list of summer boredom busters that won’t break the bank.
SUMMER BOREDOM BUSTERS
Indoor Activities for Rainy Days and the Dog Days of Summer
-Try some summer science projects. Our 11 year old loves 50 Science Things to Make and Do which is filled with easy and inexpensive experiments, most of which use common household objects.
-Write letters to faraway relatives, friends, or new pen pals.
-Play pretend doctor’s office, veterinarian, restaurant, etc. using these great print outs from My Joy Filled Life.
-Have a family cooking showdown modeled after the Iron Chef, Chopped, or Master Chef.
-Turn on some up-beat music and have a dance party.
-Have an indoor scavenger hunt. Life of a Homeschool Mom has several ready made lists. I like this one based on letters of the alphabet
-Play sardines in a can, which is basically hide and seek in reverse. In this version one person hides while everyone else counts. After the count everyone splits up and searches for the hidden player. If a searching player finds her, the searcher hides right along until everyone but the last player is hiding, squeezed into the same location, just like sardines in a can.
-Play charades. Bonbon Break has a list of charade ideas great for kids.
–Lego Challenge is a game I have my boys play frequently while I’m trying to make dinner. I can easily assign a task, set the timer, and judge their creations without missing a beat during dinner prep. We’ve played so often we no longer need the cards. It’s fairly easy to come up with your own building challenges.
-If you’re feeling ambitious and don’t mind a mess give paper mache crafting a go. I love this cute paper mache piggy bank (I made one very much like it at vacation bible school when I was a little girl).
-Set up a lemonade or Kool-Aid stand.
-Start a rock collection. I saw all sorts of ways this could be done. One family had a collection of rocks that were all heart shaped. I like Inspiration Laboratories ideas for budding rock collectors.
-Paint rocks. I’ve seen so many cute rock painting ideas on Pinterest. I love the idea of painting rocks and leaving them for others to discover and enjoy. Living Well Mom has some cute pet rock painting ideas.
– Plant a garden (flower, herb, vegetable, container). Children love to be able to dig in the dirt and plant growing things. Planting a family Mary Garden is one idea I hope to incorporate some day. Here is a list of flowers and their religious meanings. A friend of mine once said, “I don’t decorate house or yard without honoring the angels or saints.” I love that decorating philosophy.
-Start a bug collection. One of my kids’ favorite websites for identifying mystery bugs–What’s That Bug? Don’t tell the kids you have a cheat site and they’ll think you’re the smartest mom in town.
-Make a fairy garden out of flowers, acorns, tree stumps, painted rocks, etc. If you’re kids are really into it they can create sweet little fairy peg dolls .
-Take a stroll around your neighborhood or nearby park and learn to identify some of the flowers, plants, and trees. We use the LeafSnap app to identify trees and PictureThis to identify flowers and plants.
-Go bird watching and learn to identify the birds you see. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has an awesome website and an app for bird identification.
-You can create all kinds of different kinds of wind chimes using ideas from this site.
-Make mud pies. 3 summers ago, my then 13 year old and her best friend spent nearly two weeks making a mud pie village in one of my garden beds. They still talk about how much fun they had playing in the mud.
-Set up a DIY slip and slide using inexpensive, yet durable plastic sheeting as suggested at this site.
-Make homemade bubble solution. This site has a recipe for super strong bubbles.
-Play water balloon baseball.
Activities for Larger Groups
Getting some homeschooling families, neighborhood or church family friends to join in on these next few activities is not absolutely necessary, but could make the activities more successful.
-Form a summer book club. For several years one of our neighbors held a book club one or two times a month during the summer. As a group they’d choose 3-4 books to read over the summer, completing a book before each meeting. At the club meetings they’d discuss their reading and engage in fun enrichment activities related to each book.
-Form a cultures club. Each family could choose a culture they’d like to learn about and present to the club as a whole. This could go in all sorts of wonderful directions and feature food, dress, language, customs, history, etc.
-Choose, rehearse, and put on a summer play. One summer we joined several other families and performed The Tempest using Shakespeare Made Easy. Our kids gained a little exposure to Shakespeare while having a lot of fun.
-Hold a backyard Olympics
-Go to the zoo, aquarium, nature center, etc.
-Find a local U-Pick fruit farm
-Go to farmer’s market
-Attend a minor/major league baseball game
-Go to a planetarium
Magical Night Time Fun
-Drive out away from night time city lights and look at the stars. Learn to identify constellations, individual stars, and planets or see if you witness a shooting star. Orion Telescopes and Binoculars updates it’s star chart every month.
-Observe fire flies (or lightning bugs depending on regional vocabulary preference). Inspiration Laboratories has a great article on attracting fire flies. If you live in an area that has a lot of fire flies you can get certified as a backyard habitat. Check out the Firefly Watch website for more information.
-Play night games. On summer nights we can hear the neighborhood kids joyfully playing capture the flag, flashlight tag, ghost in the graveyard, and hide and seek in the dark.
-Attend a free concert.
-Attend a free outdoor movie night.
-Play flashlight hide and seek. Turn out all the lights and give everyone a flashlight. One person is “it” and counts, just as in traditional hide and seek. Everyone else finds a place to hide, turning off their flash light once in place. The seeker uses his flash light to try and find everyone’s hiding place. Last person found is “it” for the next round.
-Learn to make shadow puppets and put on a shadow puppet show.
Summer Service Projects
Most of these ideas are most appropriate for older kids and teens, but little ones can pitch in here and there too.
-Offer to weed an elderly neighbor’s garden beds or mow their lawn.
-Pick up trash in your local park.
-Volunteer to clean your parish or parish grounds.
-Offer to be a mother’s helper for a new mom.
-Send care packages and cards to service members stationed overseas. Here is a good website explaining how to send care packages through Support Our Troops.
-Bake cookies and leave them anonymously on a neighbor’s doorstep.
-Make a meal for a new mom, elderly neighbor, or someone needing some special care.
-Volunteer in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
-Offer to wash someone’s vehicle.
-Visit a nursing home and volunteer to read to or play games with residents.
What would you add to this list? Share in the comments, friends!
Need more inspiration? Visit our Seasons.Summer board on Pinterest!