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MAIN Arrow to Summer Vacation Survival Guide IndexSummer Fun Guide Arrow to Rainy Day Activities Summer Activities For Kids

kids at the beachSchools out for the summer...

Now the endless days of freedom from books, schedules and homework stretch out – leading to the question of how to fill them with fun things to do!

The thrill of summer vacation passes quickly and weeks of endless days with no planned activities can drive even the most well behaved kids into fits of boredom.

Here are some great tips for places to go and things to do - along with additional ideas for summer fun for kids and teens - to fill those long summer days with happy times.

summer fun1. Summer Camps & Day Camps: Summer camps are a good way to fill the summer with activities that can't be done at home. Camping out around a campfire, dorming with other kids and other special camp experiences are a safe way to separate from Mom & Dad for a week or more. Many churches offer VBS where Bible study is combined with outdoor fun for a week during the summer at very low cost. Adventure or skill building private camps usually have higher fees, but more options for activities. A camp specializing in a sport or academic field has been a springboard to a career for many kids.

summer fun2. Summer School Programs: Many schools and colleges offer summer programs to enrich the regular school year's course work. Some of these programs require a child to be "gifted" but many accept regular students who have an interest in the subjects they offer. In college programs you can often find a combination of academic and sports activities during the summer. Check with your local school district and colleges in the area to see if there's a summer program available. There is usually some sort of fee involved, but many offer scholarships if there is financial hardship.

summer fun3. Museums: If you live close to an area with a museums, you may find that there is a summer program for kids to learn about subjects they display. Art museums may offer opportunities for hands on art work while natural history museums can lead kids to discover the world they live in and the cultures of other people. Local historical museums and societies may offer exploration of the history of your town or state through summer programs. Museums do normally charge a fee that covers materials and other costs.

summer fun4. Public Library: Your local public library may offer a summer program...and most are not just about reading. Many libraries do offer summer reading classes or story hours, but you'll also find guest speakers of interest to many different age groups. If your town doesn't have a library, check your closest mall for a bookstore. The large chain stores and many small mom & pop book stores allow kids to spend time reading and even organize activities to introduce them to the wonderful world of books...

summer fun5. Zoo: Your local zoo can be a lifesaver during the dog days of summer. Besides providing hours of exploring and visiting exotic animals, most zoos are part of an umbrella "Zoological Society" that is involved with protecting endangered animals and conservation of the areas where they live. Many zoos offer classes and activities for kids to help them learn more about animals and the environment. The fees may include donations or membership fees to the zoo in addition to the cost of supplies, but the hours of fun with a purpose are well worth the cost.

summer fun6. Summer Memories Diary: One of the biggest complaints from teachers is that children tend to lose academic skills during the summer. A great tool to keep reading and writing skills in good shape during summer vacation is a diary. It's fun to put together and easy enough for any age child to enjoy doing. The base can be a regular school notebook or a scrapbook-photo album. Start each day with an entry of the plans for the day's events. When your adventurers return home, they can add pictures and notes on the best parts of the day. The pictures can be crayon drawings or prints from a digital camera or anything in between.

summer fun7. Pool Party Time: Whether you have a backyard pool or use a local pool for cooling off, you can have an informal pool party for a few kids with little fuss. Bar-b-cue or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a few bags of chips and thermos jugs with cool drinks provide quick party food and the pool provides the entertainment. Keep the guest list down to just a few kids to make supervising easy. If you need to invite more friends, have a series of get togethers to make everyone happy and still stay in control.

summer fun8. Take a Trip: If you have vacation time to spend with the family a planned trip is always fun. Check gas prices to make sure that your budget can stand a long car trip this summer. Don't forget that short day trips can be just as much fun as a long drive. Play tourist in your own area. Visit the sights that others enjoy when they come to your town. Check out local pick your own farms, petting zoos, parks and other area attractions. Get out of the kitchen with a visit to a new restaurant, call your local police department and see if they provide tours of the police station for local kids. Firehouses are also a hit with kids and the firefighters love the attention. Bring a plate of cookies as a thank you for their time.

summer fun9. Crafts: Summer is a wonderful time to take on crafting projects. If your little princess has been asking for a backyard playhouse, building one together is a fantastic experience. You don't have to be a professional. There are plenty of easy to follow, inexpensive kits available. Do you have any crafting skills you'd like to pass on to your kids? Learning to sew, knit or crochet is fun for boys and is woodworking and pottery! Simple projects are fun even for the youngest crafters. Hand painting tee shirts can keep toddlers busy for hours. Be prepared for a mess. That's half of the fun!

summer fun10. Gardening: If you have a yard or some space on a sunny windowsill, you have the perfect setting for a kids garden. Take some watermelon seeds and watch them sprout and grow. Whether you get watermelons or not is irrelevant...the fun is in watching the vines spread out and grow. Older kids may want to grow vegetables, herbs or flowers in a real garden plot. Check out info on container gardens if your space is limited or you think weeding will be an issue for your young farmer.


More Activity Guides: What to Do with Kids & Teens This Summer
  • Kid's activities at Disney World

  • Go to a street fair

  • Top family vacations in Florida

  • Build a sandcastle

  • Go on a scavenger hunt

  • Visit a national park

  • Fly a kite

  • Adopt a pet

  • Plan a picnic

  • Find a bike trail

  • Attend a summer concert

  • Learn how to knit

  • Go birdwatching

  • Have a summer theme party

  • Go swimming

  • Have a Christmas in July party

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