(Activities 1 – 43 can be found at Summer Activities for Children (6-15-17), More Summer Activities for Children (6-30-17), and More Summer Activities for Children (7-7-17).)
44. Let’s hunt for treasure. Have a treasure hunt. Hide one or more treasures (candy or trinkets). Use different colors of chalk to write clues on the sidewalk. Make it very simple or more difficult depending on what your child can handle. You can use pictures for non-readers. If you invite neighbors to your hunt, have different colored treasures and clues – one color for each child so they each have the fun of finding their own treasure and they are not rushing to be the first to find a single treasure. If a child is having difficulty, let him ask someone for help.
45. Let’s play “What If I Could Do….” Ask your child a “What If” question about something she is not yet able to do. For example, “What if you could go to school every day like big sister? Or, “What if, you could fix your own snacks when you were hungry?” Listen to your child’s answers and enjoy her imagination. You can also get clues about what preparation she needs in order to do what you have asked about.
46. Let’s do make-believe art. Do an art project with your child that is about adding something to his dress-up stuff. It could be making hats to go with clothes he has. It could be making “extras” like magic wands, tools, etc. It could be whole costumes made out of craft paper or newspaper. It could be props like ovens, hideouts, or walls made from cardboard boxes or blocks. Be sure to play together to try them out once they are made.
47. Let’s make our own special game. Help your child make up a new game. It can be a physical game, like a ball game or running/jumping game. Or, it can be a card or board game. If starting from scratch to come up with a new idea for a game is too difficult, try making changes in a game your child already knows. How else could Chutes and Ladders be played? Or baseball? Let him make up whatever rules he wants as long as they are not unsafe or hurtful to other players. Be sure to play the game after it is created. Discuss how well your child liked the game and whether it could be even better with some additional changes in it.
48. Let’s all scream for ice cream. Make homemade ice cream. It’s National Ice Cream Day in the United States. You can find recipes in most cookbooks, at the library, or on the Internet. If you want an adventure, try making ice cream the old fashioned way in a tin can. Or, use an ice cream maker, if you have one or can borrow one. Some recipes don’t require any special equipment – they just go directly in your freezer. Little known fact: it has been reported that there are over 1000 different ice cream flavors.
49. Let’s play puppets. Have a puppet show. For puppets you can use stuffed animals, dolls, hand puppets, marionettes, and even old socks that you have drawn faces on. The show can be inside or outside. A stage can be a chair, table, rock, box, etc. Make up the story and name the show. Perform it for the family or neighbors. Be as fancy as you like – with tickets, refreshments, etc.
50. Let’s tell jokes. Ask your child to tell a joke as his “ticket” to each meal and for each ride in the car. For young children, ask them to make a silly face or a silly sound. For older children, you can find knock-knock jokes, riddles, and plays on words at the library or on the Internet. Read some jokes to your child and let him repeat them through the day or print them for your child and let him read them through the day.
Q: Knock, knock—-Who’s There?—-Who—-Who Who? A: Is there an owl in there?
Q: What gets wetter the more it dries? A: A towel.
Q: Why can’t your nose be 12 inches long? A: Because then it would be a foot!
Q: What has one head, one foot and four legs? A: A Bed
Q: How many letters are in The Alphabet? A: There are 11 letters in The Alphabet
51. Let’s build a special place. Build a tent or fort. It can be in or out of the house. You can use a real tent or blankets, tablecloths, and furniture. Let your child decide what the tent or fort is all about – a secret “mom and me” club, hiding out from monsters, a lab for making a power potion, etc. Once the fort is done, play pretend together. Let your child know when you start playing pretend and announce when you are done pretending.
52. Let’s appreciate art. Plan an art appreciation activity with your child. Go to a museum, dance performance, concert, or get some children’s library books about some form of art. Ask the librarian to help you locate books that are pictures of finished art or of performances and that are right for the age of your child.
53. Let’s act it out. Let your child choose a favorite story and act it out. Pick out just one small section of the story, if your child is young. You can do several sections with older children. You can have neighbors join or you can each play different parts. Make up costumes from things you have around the house – just different hats can work, if that’s all you have. If you are playing more than one part, having a different hat for each part can help you switch from one to another. Perform the “play” for your family or neighbors. Be as fancy as you like – with tickets, refreshments, etc.
54. Let’s play house designers. Make a new room. Choose a spot in the house – child’s bedroom, play area, TV room, etc. Tell your child you are going to play being “designers.” Together, take all the moveable stuff out of the room. Tell your child he can decide where to put things back into the room. Tell him you will leave the room “his way” for one day to test how it works, and when the test is over, you will be in charge of what to do with the room. Take before and after pictures. Be sure to check in with your child about how the room worked during the test period.
55. Let’s wonder. Play “What Do You Wonder About?” Pick a state or country to learn about. Ask your child, “What Do You Wonder about Alaska (or any other state or country he might be interested in)?” You’ll need your computer or some books to find answers to his questions. Here is how you play.
- You each take turns asking the question, “What do you wondered about …?”
- After each question, the person being asked the question makes a guess about the answer and the other person agrees or disagrees.
- Then, look up the answer together in a book or on the computer.
- If the question is too complicated to easily find an answer, break it down into parts and try to find an answer to just part of the question. Over time, keep looking for more information to add to the answer until your child is satisfied with the answer. Remember, young children like simple responses, so don’t dig more deeply than your child seems to need.
56. Let’s have Sunday sundaes. Make your own ice cream sundaes. Set out several ice cream flavors and toppings and let each person make their own. Once their sundaes are built, let each person tell the group what it is and what it is going to taste like – as though they were the star of a cooking show.
57. Let’s play storyteller. Help your child tell you a story. Notice the types of characters he chooses – children like him, superheroes that can’t be real, or animals that come to life. Notice what the problem is in the story and what feelings are in the story – is someone mad, scared, happy, sad? About what? Notice how the story ends – good, not so good, or not at all. If the story doesn’t end at all, you could talk about possible ways it might end and let him choose the way he likes best. If your child is old enough, you could have him write his story or use a keyboard, if he is old enough to learn this important skill.
58. Let’s draw a story. Draw a story. Have your child draw the pictures for a story. It can be a story your child tells you (or has told you in the past) or one you tell your child. Even older children can enjoy doing this if they have any interest in art. They might prefer to use photographs, make a movie, or cut out magazine pictures to illustrate the story.
59. Let’s train pets. Plan to take your child to see animal training classes. Talk to the workers about what types of animals can be trained, how long it takes, and how important the owners are to the success of the training. If you own a pet, decide whether training classes would be helpful for your pet and family members. If you do not own a pet yet, decide whether you want to arrange for training classes for your pet if you get one at some point.
60. Let’s parade. Have a costume parade. You can use old Halloween costumes or you can make new costumes out of things you have around the house, including old newspapers and craft paper. Don’t give out any candy at your parade – so this doesn’t just become an early Halloween. For a bigger parade, ask neighbors to join or dress up stuffed animals and dolls.
Summer’s Picture Books
We have been amazed at how much good parenting information is in children’s picture books – books that we hope you are reading everyday to the children in your lives – your own, your class, those you take care of. For each book, we are noting there is something in it to remind you of how to be the parent you want to be.
What’s in it for you, the reader?
A reminder that preschool-aged children test out what it means to be mean, but you can help them learn that there are good reasons to give up being mean to be nice.
OLIVER AND HIS ALLIGATOR by Paul Schmid
What’s in it for you, the reader?
A reminder that the first days of school can be scary for your children at any age and that you can help them get over those fears.
KATIE AND THE PUPPY NEXT DOOR by John Himmelman
What’s in it for you, the reader?
A reminder that all children have trouble sharing, but you can help them learn that it also can be fun to share.
I WILL LOVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT by Jay Rutland
What’s in it for you, the reader?
A reminder that your children need to know you love them no matter what – “On fun days and sad days and happy days and mad days….”