I don’t know about you, but it gets tricky keeping my kids busy during the summer without a bunch of screen time, especially when it’s too hot to be outside. I am always on the lookout for activities to keep them playing, thinking, growing and limiting video games/tv/computer etc. With the older kiddos, it’s especially difficult to find activities to keep their interest. Here are a few ideas that have worked for us so far this summer…
1. Build a House of Cards. It takes patience, a steady hand and practice. A rough surface definitely helps and be ready with the camera to snap a photo of success, because the whole thing is very delicate and a breath of air knocks it flat in 0.2 seconds. My two oldest boys have spent a good hour or two on a few different afternoons trying different techniques and building bigger/taller houses.
2. Craft Stick Bombs. My oldest son learned how to make these chain reactions from a friend and then looked up more patterns online and even made up some of his own. Again, this activity gets kids using their hands and brains. It takes a little patience to learn the patterns, but they’re not too complicated. My kids’ favorite is the Cobra Weave because it is long and super impressive when you let it loose and all the sticks fly… but they also like the smaller throwing ones that explode on impact. I like to challenge them to create and name new designs. Look up “Craft Stick Bombs” for detailed tutorials and ideas.
3. Recycled Marble Run. My 7-year old loves to build contraptions. Even as young as 4, he would build complicated tracks for golf balls or marbles with pipe, wood molding pieces and/or car tracks that would knock over blocks, jump off ramps, go through tunnels etc. He loves to look for items in the garage and around the house and build marble runs attached to domino paths. We make the dominos climb blocks, make circles and get more and more complicated… each time it’s a completely different set up and challenge depending on his imagination.
4. Organize the House. The kids do NOT love this one, but I DO. Plus it keeps them busy, and they learn how to organize at the same time. I learned a few years ago from my mother-in-law that each summer she would make a list and have her kids clean and organize all the cupboards in her kitchen. I loved the idea. So each day that we are home during the summer (and in addition to their regular chore), my kids pick one organizing job from the list such as: the silverware drawer, the bathroom cupboard, a shelf in the pantry, their backpack, a drawer in their room, etc. I help the younger ones and oversee the older ones, but they basically have to take everything out of the cupboard/shelf and wipe it off, throw away garbage and take out stuff that doesn’t belong and then put it all back in an orderly fashion. The key is not to make any one project a huge job, but combined they really add up when we are each tackling little bits all summer.
Good luck keeping everyone entertained and busy!1