The heat is on, but classes are over and there’s not much to occupy your children’s free time, leaving them with many idle moments and you with their protests that they are bored at home. Why not take the vacation as an opportunity to bond with your kids, learn something new together and make their summer enjoyable and productive? Here are seven great activities that you can try with kids as young as toddlers, and as old as teenagers.
1. Go to a cooking class together.
Nothing prepares your child for responsibility more than learning what to do in the kitchen—cooking is a creative and useful skill that is best learned early on so kids have a greater sense of independence. If you have a toddler, there are plenty of kiddie chef classes being offered which will help them interact with new playmates and learn basic recipes with mommy and daddy. Cooking classes also benefit teens because they can help them whip up healthier, more interesting snacks and even help them discover their passion.
2. Take a weekend off and head for the beach.
There isn’t enough physical activity in kids’ lives these days. Skip lounging in the hotel and let your kid, no matter what age, enjoy building sand castles and walking along the dunes. Let them try out diving or play in the waves. They’ll get a better appreciation for nature and enjoy themselves away from their mobile devices.
3. Visit a museum or gallery.
Museums require plenty of time to make full use of them, and you have all the time you’ll need in the summer, as well as promos which can often score a free entrance for your kids or for the whole family. Depending on the interest of your child, take them to a natural history museum, a planetarium, or an art gallery, and let them absorb some knowledge and culture that will deepen their appreciation for the world around them.
4. Try some arts and crafts.
DIY-ing is experiencing a renaissance of sorts amongst teens, and is a fun activity for toddlers. Buy sewing books or polymer clay for your children. Macaroni art, watercoloring sets and coloring books are staples for younger children, while older kids may enjoy drawing guides for more complicated creations, or even knitting patterns to make funky scarves and wallets.
5. Pop some corn and have a movie marathon at home.
Going to the theatre is expensive—think of all those individual snack buckets—and run the risk of awkward encounters with people who don’t deal well with younger, noisier children, or strangers who don’t observe basic theatre courtesy. Skip the headache, stay home and go on a TV series marathon with your kids. Let them customize their snacks and even discuss what you’re all watching together.
6. Set up a board game night.
An oldie but a goodie, family board game night brings out the fun competitive spirit in everyone. From Scrabble to Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly to Candyland, there are board games for every age which will keep you occupied all day. Form teams and set up a reward system, like the winner gets to choose where to eat out that night, or is exempted from a chore.
7. Encourage your child to take up a summer sport.
Whether it’s soccer for your athletic ten year-old, or jazz dance classes for your graceful teen, physical activity improves your child’s health and hand-eye coordination, and helps them gain confidence, teamwork skills, or in the case of martial arts, even survival skills that will keep them tough during scary situations. Do not force your child into a sport of your choosing—make gentle suggestions and see what your child may be interested in, to ensure that they sustain interest in the activity.