It’s summer vacation for the kids! For many parents and guardians, the summer time can be very overwhelming as they search for summer activities and child care for their kids. Whether you select a summer camp or not, make sure your children participate in various opportunities to enrich their skills in order to promote healthy social and emotional development. These activities can be child-centered (i.e. activities initiated by the child) or lead by a summer camp program, parent, guardian, or caregiver. Children have the ability to learn and develop skills through their engagement in activities because they are natural learners. Summer activities that cater to this innate ability in children will help build confidence and foster the skills kids will need to succeed in school when they eventually return. Here are a few summer activity suggestions for you and your family:
Arts and Crafts
Children develop great self awareness, problem solving skills, and confidence as they express themselves through creative activities. As a family, paint a picture together, try a new recipe, or create a clay sculpture! The activities are endless! Don’t have an idea of where to start? Check out our Summer Activities for Children board on Pinterest for a variety of fun arts and crafts activities to do with your kids.
Imaginative Play (Indoor or Outdoors)
This activity can be structured or unstructured play. Take some time away from electronics and encourage your child to just play! Children develop many useful skills just with their ability to play and use a little imagination. For a more structured play activity, create a scavenger hunt for your child where they have to locate various outdoor or indoor objects. Other structured play activities might be putting together a puzzle, playing a board game, creating/performing a puppet show, or using sidewalk chalk outdoors. Pinterest is again a great place to find structured play activities for your child; just make sure that they are age-appropriate! In child-initiated play, allow your child the indoor and outdoor space to engage in imaginative play. This place needs to be safe and comfortable for your child and can include any items that encourage imaginative play (i.e. any toys that don’t require batteries!)
Visiting new places
The places you choose to visit can be anywhere and do not have to be too far away from home. When you expose your children to new places, it fosters natural learning and conversation in them. This will help to build your children’s interests and values, as well as social skills and a sense of self-awareness. Try free (or nearly free!) places to visit as a family, including local museums, nature trails, or beach. If you’re in the Washington, DC area check out this list of family friendly activities.
No one knows your child better than you, so use your judgment in selecting activities for them to do throughout the summer. And remember, you don’t have to spend money to engage your child during the summer. Most children simply want quality time with their caregiver and friends so try to schedule these activities as a family or with your children’s friends in mind.
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