11 Fun Summer Boredom Busters and Brain Teasers for Kids
Now that school is out, it’s up to us as parents to structure all of this newfound free time in a way that is beneficial to both us and the kids. I remember spending my summers as a child relaxing and having fun! Primrose Schools, the leader in educational child care, recommends encouraging imaginative play and having a plan in place to keep children’s minds engaged during the summer months. Studies show that without stimulation, children can lose up to 60 percent of what they learned during the school year.
To prevent your child from completely vegging out, take a look at these 11 fun and educational ideas from Vice President of Education Dr. Mary Zurn to keep your kids’ minds active during the summer months… Move over video games and TV, here’s what to do on a boring day!
1. Summer boredom busters jar
At the beginning of the summer, sit down with your family and brainstorm a list of activities that can be done alone or that you can enjoy doing together. Encourage your children to share their own ideas and help you decorate and label a simple jar as the family “Mom, i’m bored jar.” They’ll feel more involved in the project and more likely to think this is a “neat” idea if they participate in the creation and idea generation. Next, write everyone’s ideas down on slips of paper and as a group decides which ones should go in the jar. Anyone in the family can pull any idea out of the jar to fight the summertime boredom blues.
2. Bringing stories alive
It sounds too simple, but reading is one of the most important ways to keep young minds engaged during the summer. Make reading even more fun by finding ways to bring stories to life. For example, in the book Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, children create a make-believe town in the desert out of rocks, boxes, and their imaginations. Read the book with your children and then challenge them to create their own town with materials they find in the backyard.
3. Make an art start box
This is one of the most fun brain teasers for kids that brings out their creativity. You’ll need to gather basic art supplies-child safe scissors, glue, markers, tape, and construction paper. Put them in a special box along with empty oatmeal boxes and paper towel rolls, colorful magazines, and bits of aluminum foil. Occasionally add a special surprise like chalk, stickers, or stamp pads so there’s always something new for the children to find. Even if you normally have these supplies around the house, it’s fun for children to know that the Art Start Box is just for them. They’ll probably have some good ideas of other household items that can be recycled to fuel their creative energies.
4. Family Performances are top boredom buster ideas
Break out old clothes or costumes and encourage children to make up characters and create a play to act out. They are the directors, actors, and producers. They can also make musical instruments out of pots/pans, wooden spoons, empty canisters and have a parade; or everyone can play along to your family’s favorite songs. Record or video the performances, and enjoy the replay. You’ll also be capturing a bit of family history everyone will enjoy for years to come.
5. Have a family dance party
Crank up the music and encourage your entire family to boogie down. Dancing gives children a great outlet for self-expression through their own motion and helps build self-esteem. It also enhances motor and coordination development by incorporating skills like jumping, landing, and leaping. Dancing is a great activity that can involve the whole family and doesn’t take very much preparation.
6. Fort Building in the living room
Children love to build all kinds of structures–from small towns to large towers. Constructing forts or tents is an activity that can keep children focused and problem-solving for hours. All the items you need can be found around the house- some chairs, cushions, blankets, and of course adult supervision. This is one of my kids’ favorite summer boredom busters!
7. Cookbook fun
Have you ever shared your favorite cookbook with your children? Take it out and ask your children to choose a recipe to try. Measuring can be a fun and easy way to keep math skills fresh.
8. Create a summer scrapbook
All you need for this project is a spiral notebook. Encourage everyone in the family to draw pictures of favorite activities and collect mementos from special events throughout the summer. Children love to go back through scrapbooks and albums and tell about what happened at each occasion. They will also be building their storytelling skills at the same time.
9. Try playing a listening game
Lie down in the backyard, in the den or at the park, and listen. What do you hear? Do you hear what I hear? Can you imitate the sound? This is similar to watching the clouds and naming the shapes, and it encourages everyone to slow down and focus on listening.
10. Camping out in the back yard
Pretend to camp out in the backyard. Plan a meal, pack a backpack, and set up a campsite. You might even decide to spend the night!
11. Scavenger hunts for kids
Scavenger hunts are such fun summer boredom busters! Make a list or picture cards of common household items and have your children find the items on the list. Invite friends or neighbors to join in the fun to make it a competition.
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