With summer right around the corner, you might be looking for ways to keep your children busy all season long. Don’t know where to start? Look no further, we’ve created a list of cost-effective activities that will keep your children busy, entertained, and wanting more! Read on for a list of summer family activities and why they are important for children and the family’s mental health.
Summer Family Activities
A summer activity for children can undoubtedly be on the pricier side, especially for day-filled ventures such as summer camp. However, there are severalactivities that can involve the entire family and keep costs minimal. Here are our favorite family friendly activities to add to your summer bucket list:
1. Make use of nearby parks
Whether you live in an urban, suburban, or rural area, finding a new local park with an obstacle course to explore with the whole family can be a great summer activity. With around 8 weeks of summer vacation, planning to visit a park a week will leave your children with 8 new parks to explore. They will be given the opportunity to climb new structures and make new friends all summer long.
In certain rural cities, it can be difficult to find different parks to go to. However, this list is not solely limited to recreational parks, consider visiting open areas and exploring the land right in your neighborhood’s backyard. National parks and open landscapes are an excellent way to expose children to the natural beauty in the world.
2. Create a fun-filled scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts are not only fun for children, but keep their mind focused on the process of hunting for list items. Here are some of our favorite scavenger hunt ideas:
- Household scavenger hunt (find something that lights up, that you can open, that makes sounds, etc.)
- Color scavenger hunt (find something blue, pink, black and white, etc.)
- A-Z scavenger hunt (finding something for each letter of the alphabet)
The best part about scavenger hunts is that they can be done at home or out and about with your family. Try doing a family scavenger hunt the next time you are at a park or even in your backyard – you might be surprised by how quickly your children can complete their list!
3. Get crafty in the kitchen
Not all summer family activities have to be outdoors. You can go to the farmers market to buy ingredients to make dinner with your child. Making treats and meals with your children is a fun activity that will not only teach them about nutrition, portions, and creating something from scratch, but will also give them a sense of maturity in doing so.
A fun way to mix things up in the kitchen is to incorporate different recipes from all around the world. This is one of many diversity activities for kids that help them learn more about different cultures. With just under 200 countries in the world, all with different regions and cuisine, there are endless possibilities for trying something new. Get started with this list of easy at-home, culture-filled recipes that you can make with your little ones:
- French crepes
- Indian naan
- Mexican sweet bread (conchas)
- Chinese spring rolls
- Spanish churros
- German chocolate homemade ice cream
No matter what you choose to make, you can be sure that your children will have a blast in the kitchen with you!
4. Summer time water play
What’s better than cooling off in the water on a hot summer day? The best part about water play is that you don’t need a pool to cool off. A hose, water balloons, and even a sprinkler is all it takes for your children to run around outside and enjoy the summer sun without overheating. Just be sure to layer up and reapply sunscreen throughout their time in the water!
Why Summer Family Activities Are Important for Mental Health
Summer family activities are important for maintaining and fostering positive mental health of the entire family. Plus, these activities can help prevent parental burnout. Keeping active, trying new things, creating daily routines for kids, spending time with family,and teaching self-care for kids can significantly impact the children’s and parents’ mental well-being. Not only do these types of activities boost endorphins, but they also create a sense of closeness and belonging that positively impacts mental health.
If you are concerned for your child’s mental health going into summer, Children’s Bureau also provides several mental health tools, resources, and services that positively impact their lives, both short and long-term. With individualized treatments and a team that caters to each child’s needs, you can take some of the weight off of your own shoulders and provide your child with an external support system. Mental health is important no matter what age, as each individual deserves to feel the best they can, both mentally and emotionally.
It’s Time for Some Fun in The Sun
Engaging children in activities during the summer not only fills their time with excitement, but it also allows them to keep their mind sharp all summer. Introducing your child to new environments and giving them fun challenges will allow them to continually grow mentally and emotionally while they have time off from school.
With the family-friendly summer activities listed above, you’re guaranteed to give your child a fun-filled summer that they won’t forget!
Reviewed By: Jose A. Ramos Jr., Director of Prevention
Jose A. Ramos Jr., MSW, is the Director of Primary Prevention at Children’s Bureau. He has worked with Children’s Bureau since 1994 and has over 30-years of experience working in the Child Welfare field. He has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Long Beach and is earning his MBA. Jose is also Secretary of the National Association of Social Workers.
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