Summer gives kids a healthy break to unwind before a new year of learning. Those weeks, though, can drag when the weather gets too hot or too rainy or the days just feel too repetitive. There are only so many museums, pools (indoor or outdoor), parks and sports activities that kids can enjoy until the novelty runs out. And, let’s face it, most kids think their own house is usually pretty boring.
Parents know what happens when kids get bored. Either those dreaded devices come out…again. Or trouble ensues. Sometimes both. When the quiet whispering from the other room leads to screeches of ‘he did it,’ though, you know you’re in trouble. And you’ll likely have a clean-up on your hands.
Pour yourself a piping hot cup of grace, take a breath and get creative. When summer break makes you feel like you’re going to break, lead kids outdoors to explore the many adventures that await them in the own backyard!
Water Balloon Fights
Grab some balloons and fill them with water. Set up forts with old boxes or toys from the garage and let the craziness begin! Set rules and boundaries for kids so playtime doesn’t get too crazy. No aiming for the face. Make sure to clean up the mess afterward, so birds or other animals (like your pets!) don’t ingest the latex.
Host a Beach Party
If you have a kiddie pool, you can create your own backyard oasis. Make some sandwiches and lemonade and set up a fun backyard beach picnic. Eat outside on towels or blankets. Let kids play in the pool with water toys, and if you have a sandbox, let kids make sand castles! Decorate your beach with plants or potted flowers. Or head to dollar stores and buy some fun tropical décor for a festive backyard luau! Kids can don grass skirts and flower leis…you may even hold a limbo competition!
For some relaxing outdoor exercise, host an outdoor yoga retreat for kids. Grab some yoga mats, put on some calming music and practice kid-friendly postures. The CDC recommends that kids have one hour of physical activity a day, and yoga helps get kids moving while increasing their strength and flexibility. Yoga also helps kids de-stress after a busy day!
If the sprinklers are on to water the plants and lawn, let kids get in on the water fun. Put on their swimming suits and set kids free in the backyard. They’ll have a blast running through the sprinklers and chasing each other. The National Wildlife Federation recommends playing sprinkler games like Simon Says and Fill the Cup, which requires players to fill their plastic cup with the sprinkler water (the first person to fill their cup wins!). Get imaginative and think of a few of your own games for kids to play in the sprinklers!
Host the Olympic Games in your own backyard. Create an obstacle course out of toys or sports equipment, host relay races, and see who can jump the farthest/highest. You can also add other competitions like hula hooping or a tug of war between teams. Create ribbons for kids to celebrate their participation and victories. Real Simple also suggests that teams make their own uniforms for the games!
While long breaks like summer vacation may begin to wear down parents—and kids—the time together won’t last forever. Before you know it, you’ll be packing lunches and sending kids off on the school bus once again. Create memories in your own backyard with fun activities that will take kids by surprise…and get them out of the house and active! And don’t be afraid to join in on the fun…you’re never too old for sprinklers!