12 Summer Activities: Encourage Kids to Discover & Explore

It’s important for your kid’s brain to take a break during summer, but that doesn’t mean they have to stay inside playing video games and watching TV for 10 hours every day. The summer is a time for exploration. It’s a time of freedom, creativity, and imagination.

During the summer, the world is the classroom. There are no books because you’re doing the things you’d normally read about. Here is an activity for each week of the summer that will get kids exploring and discovering in their off time.

Hike a Trail

Walking outdoors is great for both your mental and physical health. A hike down a trail is also a good way for kids to become familiar with their natural surroundings. Before you’re out on the trail, it’s a good time to review emergency procedures and check your first aid supplies just in case an emergency happens.

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Visit an Interactive Museum

Getting hands-on is an effective way to learn and retain information no matter how old you are. Children’s museums around the country offer hundreds of exhibits that teach a broad array of subjects and cover countless topics. Science, history, the arts – museums are an experiential way to supplement all kinds of studies during summer break. Currently, the Junior League is sponsoring nearly two dozen children’s museums across the United States.

Community Garden

Gardening may seem like work to some, but for kids, it’s an excuse to play in the dirt. Their wonder at discovering how things grow is reason enough to find a nearby community garden to join.

Visit a Farmer’s Market

Every few weeks you can visit a farmer’s market to see where food goes after it grows. If your community garden has a booth, volunteer to work one week and your kids will get an even closer look at how the process of farm-to-plate works in real time.

Build a Tree House

Every kid that ever had a tree house will tell you how amazing it was to have a place of their own built from the ground up. Unlike buying a store-bought playscape, your kid will get to be a part of the planning process and have input on how it’s made. They’ll learn how to use basic tools while troubleshooting engineering issues along the way.

Make a Fort

If they can’t wait for the tree house to be done, let kids build a fort in the interim. Give them the supplies – sheets, cushions, pillows – and hours later they’ll still be finding ways to reconfigure their hang out.

Decorate the Floors

Colored tape and chalk can be used to make temporary designs on the floors indoors and surfaces outside. Popular games to draw with chalk outside are hopscotch, tic-tac-toe, and four square.

Camp Out – Inside or Outside

All kids love a good campout whether it’s indoors or outdoors. Make a night of it by pitching the tent a few hours before sunset, grilling out for dinner and telling campfire stories and enjoying smores after dark. You can even craft an indoor fire using a flameless candle and old paper towel rolls to bring the outdoors inside!

Make a Mission Impossible Course

You’ll be surprised how busy this keeps kids. Plus, it tests their agility, physicality, and decision-making skills. It works best if you have a banister, but with a little tape and string, any hallway can become a Mission Impossible course.

Stargaze at Night

Technology has gotten so advanced, even an inexpensive telescope can give you a great view of the moon’s craters and some of our nearby planetary neighbors. Pick a cloudless night and relax while you look for shooting stars among the constellations.

Come Up With a Signature Sandwich

Eating healthy can be a challenge during summer when set times for meals go out the window. However, it’s also a time to help your kids make healthier choices on their own. One way to encourage healthy eating is to suggest that they come up with a signature sandwich. Give them a list of healthy ingredients to mix and match until they find the perfect combination.

Create a Summer Photo Journal

At the start of the summer give your kid a blast from the past with a Polaroid camera and film that will help them capture memories instantly. Kids that have grown up with smart phones and pictures that exist only in the cloud will get a kick out of the printed Polaroid’s. Even though Polaroid shut its factory doors in 2008, IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT has continued to make black & white and color film for the cameras.

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