Summer Fun:

Entertaining Children of All Ages

Summer Fun: Ideas for Entertaining Children of All Ages

The summer season brings with it longer days, warmer weather, and endless opportunities and possibilities for entertaining children. As parents, we understand the importance of engaging kids in stimulating activities that promote learning, creativity, and fun. Here is a collection of ideas and suggestions to help you create memorable experiences and keep children entertained all summer.

Beat-the-Heat Ideas

The summer heat can be a challenge for all-day activities.  Look for indoor activities sponsored by your public library and local businesses. Libraries often host story time and children's shows with magicians and such, and teen activities can include art or jewelry-making workshops. Home improvement stores offer kid-friendly projects on Saturday mornings that are free or low cost.  

Movie theaters offer kid shows for a minimal fee in the early morning hours, when they are usually not busy. Look for tours of candy, ice cream, soda, and potato chip factories. All of these are available within driving distance of Houston and many other large cities. 

Trips to natural science museums, children's museums, observatories, and art museums can be a great way to spend the heat of the day. If you plan to go more than once a year, the family membership might save you money.

Arts and crafts are a great way to entertain kids while working on motor skills. Our mother would help us make Christmas ornaments, giant paper flowers made with crepe paper, and sewing projects.  A box of craft supplies will help kids devise their own creations.

Backyard Campout Extravaganza:

Transform your backyard into a magical campsite and embark on a mini outdoor adventure with your little ones. Set up a tent, arrange sleeping bags, and create a cozy campfire atmosphere with fairy lights and soft music. Engage children in activities like stargazing, storytelling, and making s'mores. This experience not only fosters their imagination but also promotes a sense of exploration and appreciation for nature.

Older kids will appreciate a neighborhood movie night outdoor projection with all the trappings—popcorn, candy, and a few friends over to join in the fun. A campfire for making smores delights any age!

Make sure to eliminate issues with bugs using a few of these items:

Bug zapper

Bug repellent safe for babies and toddlers

Bug repellent for children over 1 and adults

DIY Science Experiments:

Encourage your children's curiosity by organizing do-it-yourself science experiments at home. From erupting volcanoes to homemade slime, these hands-on activities provide valuable opportunities for learning while having a blast. Websites and YouTube offer a wealth of age-appropriate experiments with step-by-step instructions. Kits with all the necessary materials make planning a snap, check out these: National Geographic Amazing Chemistry, Bill Nye's Virtual Reality Science kit, National Geographic Super Gross Chemistry, and for younger budding scientists age 4-6 try Kids Science kit with Lab Coat. Several companies offer monthly subscription services to keep the learning going year round like KiwiCo , Little Passports Science Junior. Engage children in discussions about the scientific concepts behind each experiment to foster their critical-thinking skills.

Artistic Adventures:

Spark your child's creativity with artistic endeavors throughout the summer. Set up a dedicated art station in your home or outdoors, equipped with a variety of art supplies. Littles will enjoy finger painting and building favorite characters with easy to make   homemade play dough.  

Encourage older kids to explore different mediums like painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, and even video/filmmaking. Books like How to Draw Cute Animals for Kids, Paint Lab for Kids, Stitch and String Lab will help them find a creative outlet to enjoy.

 Engaging in arts and crafts not only enhances fine motor skills but also allows children to express themselves and develop a sense of accomplishment. 

Themed Activities:

Take advantage of the pleasant weather and venture outdoors with a nature-themed scavenger hunt. Create a list of items for children to find, such as different types of leaves, rocks, or even specific bird species. This activity not only keeps kids active but also fosters an appreciation for the natural world and promotes observation skills. You can add Be Amazing! Toys Big Bag of Backyard Science - STEM Science Kits for Kids 8+ to your bag of summer outdoor activities to keep kids busy and excited about the natural world around them.

Kids go through stages of interest, harnessing that inspiration by designing an activity or scavenger hunt around their  current interest.  A Harry Potter party could be magical when young chefs use recipes from Harry Potter: Feasts & Festivities: An Official Book of Magical Celebrations, Crafts, and Party Food Inspired by the Wizarding World. 

 A Marvel Heroes afternoon may empower your kids to save the planet using teamwork inspired by Marvel Super Hero Adventures - Jumbo Coloring & Activity Book - Team Heroes.

Toddlers would enjoy a hunt for their favorite character or animal.  My little girls would have loved a pack of Hello Kitty stickers placed on items around the house, and our cousin's grandsons would have liked a Paw Patrol hunt with Paw Patrol stickers like these.  

Cooking and Baking Adventures:

Invite your little ones into the kitchen for exciting cooking and baking adventures. Select age-appropriate recipes and involve them in the entire process, from choosing ingredients to measuring, mixing, and decorating. Not only does this activity nurture their culinary skills, but it also enhances their math, reading, and teamwork abilities. Specially designed  kid kits make this activity more fun as they have their own tools, check out Baketivity Kids Cooking Sets Real Utensils With Kitchen Tool Guide and Complete Junior Chef Cooking Set, Girls & Boys Childrens Real Bakeware & Cooking Equipment, Utensils & Accessories for Kids by PERLLI  

Cookbooks for kids have easy to follow instructions and kid pleasing dishes. Your child will be inspired by Little Helpers Toddler Cookbook, America's Test Kitchen: The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs: 100+ Recipes that You'll Love to Cook and Eat and The Super Easy Teen Cookbook: 75 Simple Step-by-Step Recipes 

Make it even more enjoyable by organizing themed cooking days or hosting a mini cooking competition. Blind taste testing is a fun way to expose kids to different flavors and textures and expand their palette.  Delivering treats to neighbors or local first responders can encourage community service.

Lemonade stands are a summertime right of passage, a time honored first step in enterprise.  Here’s how we did it with our girls: Buy bags of fresh lemons and have the kids squeeze the juice, either with a kid friendly manual juicer or this Proctor Silex citrus squeezer. Then make simple syrup (sugar and water melted in a saucepan) to sweeten it.  It was so good, compared to the powdered stuff, that people volunteered extra money for the girls. Here is a recipe we like from Simply Recipes for homemade lemonade. We used a lemonade themed plastic tablecloth and an unbreakable unbreakable decorative dispenser and made a display of the fresh lemons and lemon slices for the lemonade cups.  They loved this activity and asked to do it often.

Outdoor Water Fun:

Beat the summer heat with thrilling water activities. Set up a kiddie pool, water balloons, or sprinklers. Older kids will love a slip 'n slide in your backyard. Engage children in water games like water limbo, sponge relay races, or a treasure hunt in a kiddie pool filled with floating objects. Goggles and training swim fins make everything more fun! These activities not only provide refreshing entertainment but also promote physical exercise and coordination. Don't forget your neighborhood swimming pool, water park, or generous friends’ house for a chance to wear them out while staying cool! The YMCA offers day passes to non-members and swim lessons year round.

The summer season offers a fantastic opportunity to engage children in meaningful and entertaining activities. Whether you embark on a backyard camping adventure, explore the world of science, or unleash your child's artistic talents or baking skills, these activities will surely keep your little ones entertained throughout the summer. Remember, the most important aspect is spending quality time together and creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime. So, grab the sunscreen (we recommend our favorite here) and get ready to have a summer filled with fun, learning, and laughter!