School is out and summer is here, which means it’s up to us as parents to figure out how to keep our kids entertained for the next three months. Don’t be tempted to plop your kids down in front of their electronics for the duration of the vacation. Here are some fun things to do with your kiddos this summer that you might not even think of!
Throw a Luau
You may not be planning a trip to Hawaii this summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the luau home with you. Make some tropical foods, serve drinks out of pineapples or coconuts — mocktails for the children, rum and fruit juice for the adults — decorate your backyard with tiki torches and tropical flowers and buy some leis to hang around your neck. Then, all you need is some music, and you’ve got the perfect at-home luau recipe! Try a hula dancing contest — or a hula hoop contest if no one in your family can dance.
Head to a Farmers’ Market
Summer is the best time of year to get your hands on fresh produce, so why not take a family trip to your local farmers’ market and see what they have to offer? It can be a fantastic opportunity to teach your children where their food comes from, as well as a chance to bolster your home’s food stores with tasty, healthy options.
Get out on the Water
What summer vacation is complete without some water sports? You don’t necessarily have to go to the beach — which is fine by us, because the beaches are always crowded during summer vacation — but take some time to get out on the water. Rent some canoes and explore the river. These are perfect for kids, too — put them in the bottom of the canoe while you paddle. If you’re near the beach, rent some paddleboards and explore the area. Just make sure you’ve got life jackets and pay attention to water safety.
Get Those Appointments out of the Way
OK, this might not be the most exciting thing to do with your kids this summer, but hear us out. Getting them in for appointments at the dentist or doctor during the school year is a pain. They have to miss school because most offices aren’t open in the evenings or on weekends. Try to schedule your kid’s annual dental cleanings and well-baby appointments during summer vacation to reduce your stress and make them less of a hassle.
Check out Local State Parks
As of 2017, there are more than 8,500 state parks spread across more than 18 million acres in the United States. Why not explore a few of them this summer? Chances are high there are more than a few within driving distance of your home. Just search “state parks near me” and plan a trip to one of these wonders of the modern world. Explore the 52,000 miles of trail or set up a tent at one of the 220,000 campsites inside these parks. You might be surprised how much you end up enjoying spending time in the great outdoors.
Make Exploding Paint
OK, so it doesn’t actually explode, but it’s a fantastic way to make a mess and end up with some art in the process. All you need are some press-top containers like old film tubes, some water-based tempera paint and some Alka-Seltzer tablets. Pour the paint into the containers, drop half an Alka-Seltzer tablet into each container and seal it up with the lid. Shake and put it upside down on a piece of paper or canvas and watch the fireworks! You’ll end up with a unique piece of art, and you got to blow something up to make it.
Have a Water Balloon Fight
What summer is complete without a water balloon fight? Break out a hose, fill a cooler with water balloons and have a massive battle in the backyard. If you’re worried about the latex in the balloons or don’t want to have to pick up a ton of scrap rubber after your battle, opt for some biodegradable balloons, so you don’t have to worry about polluting the environment with your summer fun.
Enjoy Those Summer Months
These seven things are just a few ideas to get you started. Use your imagination and come up with something you and your kiddos will both love. You’ve got a limited number of summer vacations before your little ones head off to college — enjoy every single one of them.