For most parents, the kids are (finally) back in school, which means it’s time for a well-deserved break, while you try to return some semblance of order to their rooms and the rest of the house. All too soon, however, it will be time for fall break and the parade of school-year holidays that comes close on its heels. While your kids may swear they’re glad to be home, they may not act like it if there’s no engagement–just idle time.
That doesn’t mean you have to hurry them outside, plug them into their video game consoles, or create a regimented structure that rivals boot camp. Learning can absolutely be fun, and the right kinds of activities and playtime can have a dramatic impact on their development. Let’s take a look at some ideas for keeping them busy over vacation days, while still keeping them active mentally and physically.
First Things First
Before you run out the door for your big plans, take the time to do a quick homework or backpack check. In their excitement over activities, many children forget to fulfill their sent-home obligations to teachers,leading to last-minute rushes before class for them, or late night trips to craft stores for you. Your children notice that you’re involved in their lives and education, and it pays dividends for their success.
Activity Ideas for Kids
Stop And Smell The Flowers Everywhere
Nature walks make a great activity for kids of all ages and can help the whole family get their exercise and better appreciate the natural world we live in. Younger kids can work on colors, patterns, and verbal skills, while older children can be given scavenger lists or notebooks to document their naturalist explorations. It can even be a great time to instill a sense of pride in community and service to others by turning your walk into a family litter clean-up day.
As a fun idea, consider exploring a different park than you usually visit, or even a park in a neighboring town. You might also find that there are scenic parks, areas, and preserves nearby where your children can get a glimpse of the relatively untouched land in its natural state. If possible, make sure everyone is unplugged so the whole family can enjoy their day in nature together.
Bring Science Experiments Home
Finding a fun way to blend STEM subjects and play can be an important part of helping make them feel more accessible to kids. Your local library will have several books for at-home science experiments that handily fit into school vacation days. Don’t worry, you don’t have to risk your home for them to have a fun and educational time.
You can take the time to teach them about light and refraction indoors and out. Plant some seasonally appropriate seeds to create a mini-greenhouse. If you are feeling brave, the time-honored tradition of the vinegar and baking soda volcano offers a fun craft project that can easily be hosed out of a garage in minutes.
Visit A Museum That Caters To Their Interests
Ok, hitting a museum during a school break isn’t an earth-shattering concept, but it remains a popular choice for parents for a reason. It’s a great way to get out of the house and spend time with your kids, walking, seeing sights, and helping them discover more about the world around them. If your youngsters are hesitant about museum excursions, you may be taking them to the wrong kind of museums.
Look for facilities that offer interactive exhibits tailored to their age group. Science museums can be a lot of fun, highly educational, and give them plenty to do and see. Art museums may offer kits to help foster the budding young artists your kids have inside. Even regional heritage museums are getting in on the act by hosting traveling interactive exhibits about dinosaurs, Egyptology, and more.
Start Planning Now
While none of these ideas have to be expensive, it pays to plan ahead to make sure everything is ready to go before the kids are out of school. That way you can all enjoy a stress-free, relaxing outing that everyone has been looking forward to.
Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the fashion industry and world of fitness.
Like what you read? JOIN the Mommybites community to get the latest on FREE online classes, parenting advice, events, childcare listings, casting calls & raffles, and our Parents With Nannies Facebook group. SIGN UP NOW!