The season of excitement for students, and dread for many of us parents is fast approaching; it’s almost summer. Children will be triumphantly throwing away their pens and notebooks, while many parents will be wracking their brains, trying to come up with some fun activities that will keep the kids engaged, and off the couch this summer.
One of the toughest tasks a parent of a child in the summer faces is balancing fun and learning. For 10 months of the year, our children have tons of information thrown at them five days a week, so it’s understandable that when the summer finally does come, they want to spend it having fun—not learning. But do those two things have to be mutually exclusive?
There are lots of great summer activities that can keep the kids engaged mentally, without them even realizing it.
Your local library is a great place to start. They offer tons of summer activities and programming, from things like board games, crafts, and even video games that encourage physical activity, such as the Wii and DanceDanceRevolution.
If your kids are into scavenger hunts you could try geocaching, which allows people to seek out hidden items through the use of a GPS app on your smartphone—there’s also a variation called earthcaching, which involves searching for natural geological phenomena—a great way to keep the kids entertained, and teach them about the planet.
Another great option is an escape room. Escape rooms provide a fun, challenging opportunity for your kids to tackle problem solving, and, due to their increasing popularity, there are escape rooms popping up all over the place, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one near you.
2. Hit the Zoo
The zoo is a classic summer staple that provides a fun atmosphere where the kids can learn about their favorite animals, while seeing them up close. Additionally, many zoos offer summer programming with courses specifically tailored to kids on summer vacation.
3. Try Out Your Local Museum
An underrated option is your local museum; space, nature, science, military—there is bound to be a museum dedicated to a subject that piques your kids’ interests, and many of them also offer summer-specific programming.
But, while keeping the kids mentally engaged is important, it’s also important to give them time to have fun and just be kids.
4. Make a Splash
The local waterpark is a great way to cool off and let them decompress and just enjoy themselves without any ulterior motives (just make sure they shower after getting in the community pools). If the water isn’t for you or your family, an amusement park also fits the bill.
There are plenty of rides for the kids (and maybe dad?) to enjoy, along with games where they can test their skills and win prizes (hopefully without breaking the bank), and they usually have some sort of spectacle that everyone can watch when they need a break from standing in line for rides.
No matter what your kids are into, there are plenty of activities that can keep their minds and bodies active, and provide enough fun to distract them from the fact that they’re also learning.