It’s easy to get stuck in a rut trying to find new, productive activities to fill up long summer days with your kids. The summer is a great time to adventure outside and discover what your community has to offer. Don’t be afraid to ask your kids for some ideas, either! Sometimes, a bike ride to the park is all you need to make an ordinary summer day one to remember! 

Here are a few ideas to have a fun, active summer for you and your family. Who knows, you might be inspired with a few new ideas of your own!

➔      Just because the final bell has rung doesn’t mean the learning has to stop! Encourage your kids to learn something new this summer, whether it be making a visit to your local library to read up on favorite topics or picking up a new instrument. You might also take a look at summer camps offering anything from sports to coding!

➔      Take advantage of the beautiful weather and visit a state park near you for hiking, picnicking, fishing, or other outdoors activities offered. If you don’t have a state park nearby, no worries! Take a walk around your neighborhood and keep an eye out for the local wildlife. Create a nature scavenger hunt or do some birdwatching with a pair of binoculars. Or, watch your children as they safely ride their bikes or scooters on the paths at Fancyburg Park (in Upper Arlington) while you enjoy a nice walk in the beautiful park. Keep in mind that teaching your kids mindfulness in nature has amazing benefits, including reduced anxiety and increased concentration. You and your child can pick a special “spot” in your yard or at a local park, sit or lie down in the grass, and take some time to simply observe nature with your senses. Encourage your child to listen to the birds, insects, and wind, smell the grass and flowers, and observe any thoughts or feelings that may arise. Afterwards, talk with your child about what they experienced or encourage them to draw/write about their observations.

➔      Check around your community for events close by! Stop by the Upper Arlington farmers market to buy some ingredients for a special dessert, visit festivals to talk to artists or listen to some local music, or visit a nearby recycling center. These excursions are perfect opportunities to promote a sense of community, connection with others, and practice of social skills and perspective taking.

➔      Volunteer in your community! It’s a great opportunity to increase empathy and compassion in your child. Not only will they learn the value of kindness towards others, but they can also have a ton of fun. Consider planting in the community garden, working with animals at a nearby shelter, or reading or performing for residents at a local nursing home.

➔      Sometimes, whether it be because of a bit of rain or some much needed relaxation, a day at home is exactly what you need. Kids really benefit from some “down time” in the Summer, so don’t hesitate to have a lazy day at home playing board games, baking cookies, or building a fort right in your living room! When night begins to fall, you can break out the family movies and popcorn for something you can all enjoy.    

The key to a happy Summer is to create a day-to-day schedule that balances structure and flexibility.  Decide on a few things (e.g., chores, rest time, reading, exercise) that will be consistent each day over the course of the summer and then work in some spontaneous, unexpected plans as well. Most importantly, keep pulling yourself back “in the moment” with your kids, mindfully tuning into their silliness, joyfulness, and appreciation for the little things—most of all, their time with you.