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School is out and your elementary-age kids are on summer break! Yay for them, eek for the parents! Whether you are a work-from-home parent or a stay at home parent, it still falls on you to help guide your child through every day of summer with activity options. You don’t want to take the lazy way out and just let your kids watch TV or play video games all day. Not sure what to do? Here is the best summer activity schedule for kids that is full of options to keep them busy all day long, all summer long.
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As I write this, we are in the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic. Now more than ever, we are all looking for options of what to do with our kids while staying at home. It can be very challenging trying to juggle work (if you work from home), housework, keeping kids busy, making meals and so much more. You want your kids to have fun but not completely waste the day away. You want your kids to be challenged and grow and not be coming to you every 5 minutes saying they are bored.
I used an activity schedule for my 10-year-old son when I first started working at home so he could take control of what he was doing with his time within parameters. He would know the expectations and what he needed to do before he could play video games or watch TV. Setting ground rules and expectations are important. We have revised that schedule for summer and it is working well so far.
Here is my post about How to Work from Home while your kids are home for plenty of tips on how to keep ahead and not get too stressed out.
Creating Your Summer Activity Schedule
Below I have included a FREE Printable that you can edit and add in details for your own child. First, you will break the daily schedule down into about 1-3 hour time blocks. For our schedule we use 8am-10am, 10am-12pm, lunch, 1:30pm-2:30pm (quiet time) and then 2:30pm-5pm. In each section, you will give your child options of what they can choose from. Some choices you might want to decide on your own and other options let your child decide. The options will vary depending on your child’s age and interests.
Schedule Time Blocks
In your first block of the day have your child do the things that are needed or that they might not want to do as much. By doing these early, they get the hard things out of the way and then can be rewarded with fun. Here are some ideas of what to include in this section.
- Chores– Feed/play with the dog, make the bed, unload the dishwasher, vacuum, make breakfast, get dressed, and brush teeth.
- Grade-appropriate workbook– Have them complete about 5 pages
- Practice tying shoes
- Practice instrument
- Learning websites like Scholastic Learn at Home (their free program is ending 6/30/20 but they have other learning resources), BrainPop.com, Cool Math Games, or Prodigy.
- Physical Activity
There are a variety of ways for your kids to get physical activity every day. They need to have some sort of exercise even if they stay inside all day.
- YouTube videos- GoNoodle videos are fun for kids to move and dance. There are also kids yoga videos and KidzBop dance videos.
- Play outside- Activities like Basketball, Soccer, dodgeball with a sibling or parent, jump rope, or even just running up and down the stairs are great options.
After lunch, it is quiet time. It doesn’t matter how old your child is, it is good for them to have some downtime. If they don’t nap anymore, have them find a quiet activity to do in their room. I look forward to this time of day EVERY day, even on weekends. It’s the time I will clean up the kitchen after lunch, maybe start a load of laundry, and then either get some work done or relax a bit.
Some options for quiet time activities are:
- Reading (We love buying used books at BetterWorldBooks. Great prices and they give back to schools and libraries)
- Activity book
Here are some non-electronic options for activity rotations that you can use for your schedule.
- Playing with Legos
- Playing with dolls
- Play dress-up
- Riding bikes
- Playing in the backyard
- Making slime
- Chalk art on the sidewalk
- Make a blanket fort
- Create a pretend store
- Make up your own play or musical performance
- Word Search Book
- Activity Book
- Craft or Art (rock painting is a ton of fun and then you can place them throughout your neighborhood for others to find)
- Card game (Solitaire or War)
- Boardgame with a sibling
- Writing in a journal
- Writing a letter to a penpal
Here is my post about Creative Activities for kids on Holiday Break. There are plenty of options that are great for summer also.
Activity or Toy Recommendations
Here are some toys or activities that my kids have really enjoyed playing with through the years.
Electronic Options and Parental Controls
Most school-age kids are going to want to do something with electronics whether it be games or watching TV. We have most of the gaming consoles available since my husband also enjoys playing but we set time limits for our kids. One electronic that I will HIGHLY recommend is the Amazon Fire Kids Edition. There are so many parental controls and it is very kid-friendly. There are options to choose time limits on a daily basis for various activities like games, videos, reading, and more. You can also create different profiles for each child so that they each have their own content and time limits.
The Kids Echo Dot also has a lot of great parental controls so you don’t have to worry about what your child will have access to. They can play games with “Alexa”, she can read them stories, they can listen to music and so much more. We even have our Echos set up to act as an intercom system at our house. We can say “Alexa, drop in on boys room” and then we can talk to the kids while they are playing in their room. It is very convenient. You can also “Announce that dinner is ready” and all of the echos will announce that dinner is ready. It’s really fun to find all the cool tricks it can do.
Microsoft also has some Family Safety settings you can set up on a computer to help keep your child safe. You can set it up so you have to approve any new website requests from your child. They will only be able to go to pre-approved sites. You can also set daily time limits on various activities or total computer time. They can request more time when it is close to being up and you will receive an email to choose how much time or not to extend. You will also receive a log of your child’s computer activity.
Special Activity Options
These activity options are great for every now and then to change things up. They often take a little more time and effort but it will be a nice change.
Food challenges are best when you have 3 or more participants so there can be some competition. You can choose to do them in a variety of ways. They all involve blindfolding participants, having them taste something, and then guessing what it is. We have done food challenges with candy, ice cream, chips, soda, cookies, and more. You could even do it with vegetables! If you want to make it really formal, you can print out a paper with all the different options (and maybe some fake ones too), and then after each taste, the participant marks down their guess. For fun, you could even make a YouTube video out of it!
Peanut Butter Play Dough
This is an activity I loved doing as a kid and have passed down the tradition. The normal recipe is not very allergy-friendly but some parts could be modified. The best part is, you can play with it and eat it too! Here is my full blog post that includes the easy recipe for Peanut Butter Play Dough.
You can create an obstacle course inside the house or outside. I found the kids liked it best when I created one first to give them ideas and then let them make their own. Use what you have around the house. Have the kids ride on a trike, jump down the hall, make a basket with rolled-up socks, crawl under chairs, or do summersaults.
Cooking or Baking Together
Kids often love learning new skills in the kitchen. Let them learn something new each week and soon they might be able to help you with making meals. Some fun options are homemade pizza, cookies, cupcakes, homemade ice cream, scrambled eggs, pancakes, and smoothies. See below for the Baketivity subscription box so you can get new things for your kids to make every month!
I haven’t done any of these virtual camps yet but have been looking into some of them as an option for this summer. I will include the links below for the ones that I have started looking into to save you some time.
- Code Ninjas– Kids can learn how to write code while creating video games on the computer.
- Act One Theater Camp– Virtual theater camp.
- Camp Wonderopolis– STEM and Literacy based topics for this camp.
- iD Tech– Kids can learn app design, animation, and more.
Getting a kid-friendly subscription box can be very exciting and something to look forward to. Here are some great options to choose from and see which one fits your family’s interests the most.
- Try the World– You can choose either their Countries box or the Snack box. The Countries box is a curated selection of foods from around the world. The Snack box is an opportunity to try different snacks from around the world every month. What a great way to learn about other countries and cultures!
- Baketivity– Baking activity boxes that arrive monthly! How awesome is that!
- Think Outside– Subscription boxes filled with gear and resources that will get your kids outside and exploring nature.
- Superpower Academy– Fun kits to build emotional intelligence in kids.
- Healthy Living Kids- Subscription snack boxes filled with healthy snacks for kids.
- Little Global Citizens– Subscription box that introduces your child to countries and cultures around the world.
- Night in Boxes– There are options for kids or parents! Kids night in boxes are great for playing with purpose. The Date Night In boxes are great for Mom and Dad!
Engaging with Friends
If playing with friends in person is not an option, here are some fun ways to still connect. Socializing with friends is important for kids of all ages. I am more okay with my kids being on electronics if it means they are also getting to engage with friends or family.
Facebook Messenger for Kids
We recently added this app on our kids’ Fire Tablets so that they could interact with family and friends. I love that I have control over who I let them talk to and I can see all of their interaction. They can play games together or just video chat. It has a ton of fun filters so I tend to see my boys just playing with those when talking to their grandparents sometimes. It has really helped them feel more connected since they can’t be together in person right now.
Zoom Video Chat
You can set up virtual play dates with your kids’ friends or family members using Zoom.com. There is a free option you can use as well. Set up the meeting invite and send it to whomever your child will be chatting with. They can just talk or they can play together! Bigger screens like a laptop or large tablet work best so they can see each other better. They can have a dance party, play games, draw together, play dolls and so much more! My oldest son has a standing Zoom play date with his cousin every afternoon and they play Roblox together on their computers for an hour or so.
Minecraft is a video game that can be played on almost any device (PC, XBOX, and more) but you usually have to purchase a copy for each device you want to use. With Minecraft’s creative mode, younger kids just starting out, don’t have to worry about threats (creepers). They can just have fun creating their world. One of the cool features of Minecraft is you can find your friends and invite them to a party so you can chat and play together. There are other games you can do this with also.
FREE Summer Activity Schedule
Additional Resources from other Mom Bloggers
- 101 Fun and Free Ways to Learn at Home– MomHacks101.com
- 5 Summer Scavenger Hunts– IrishTwinsMomma.com
- What to do with Kids Indoors when stuck at home– ThisMomWonders.com
- 27 Fun and Free Education Websites for Kids– BusyMomSmartMom.com
- Energy-Burning Indoor Activities for Kids– MamaShark.blog
- Best Hands-On Educational Kits for Kids– BestMoneyMom.com
- 101 Online Ways to keep kids learning– TwoKidsandacoupon.com