Do waves of panic rush over you when you think about how you’re going to keep the kids busy this summer? Never fear, Daddy Nickell is here with fun, creative ways to keep your kids happy and active all summer long! Daddy Nickell (a.k.a Robert Nickell) is a parenting expert, a father to seven, and the founder of the DaddyScrubs line of delivery room duds and daddy gifts and apparel. You can find his sage advice published weekly around the blogsphere.
Just Say No to “I’m Bored” This Summer Break!
- Put Pinterest to Work. Use your Pinterest account to craft the summer away. There are ideas for every day of summer break! You can find everything from science experiments and sidewalk paint to creating your own splash park in the back yard. Most ideas use items you already have around the house or for little expense.
- Water=Fun. Give the kids a bucket, sponge, and soap and put them to work cleaning the car. You can also set them free in the shower with some non-toxic cleaner and a scrub brush. Rainy days can be particularly hard in the summer, so instead of keeping them cooped up inside, let them play in the rain!
- Teach Your Kids to Give Back. It’s essential to teach children the importance of giving back and being grateful for everything they have and are given. Summer is a great time to do it. With no school stress, kids have more time on their hands. Giving back can come in different forms; you can find a local charity that could use some extra help, have your kids donate their old books and toys, or call the parks department in your area to see if there’s a clean-up day.
- Start a Veggie Garden. I don’t know about your kids, but mine have always loved to play in the dirt. A veggie garden in your own back yard teaches kids where their food comes from, encourages a love of nature, and keeps them busy for hours. If you’ve never gardened before, start small with a few basic, easy-to-grow plants.
- Buy a Metal Detector. It may sound kookie, but a metal detector can keep kids busy for hours on end, especially older kids. One can be picked up from Walmart for just $20. Unleash them into the backyard and they’ll be excited by what they can find!
- Tent Time. Kids love tents! It never ceases to amaze me. Just give your kids some space, blankets, sheets or old wrapping paper with masking tape, and old chairs or a card table and let them build. I would give my kids a theme for the day, such as a member’s only club. Another fun theme is that they have to survive in the wilderness.
- Give Your Kids a Camera. Give your kids an old digital camera or buy an inexpensive one and let them photograph their siblings and friends, nature, and the neighborhood. Kids love seeing the photos they’ve taken, and they would enjoy printing pictures for a summer journal or scrapbook.
- Check Out Local Programs. Do a little research and you’ll be surprised by what’s offered in your area. Check out your local parks & recreation guide. You can find everything from free tennis lessons to guided nature hikes.
- Go Off the Beaten Path. Summer is the ideal time to venture into new territory. Find a “pick your own” farm and let your kids collect everything from blueberries and strawberries to apples. Search for working farms in your area that provide tours and take your city kids to the farm for the day. They would love to feed baby calves, collect chicken eggs, and jump in hay. I guarantee it’s a memory they will never forget.
- Kitchen Help Wanted. The eating habits you teach your kids today will last a lifetime, so get them off to a great start now. Summer requires extra meals and snacks. Get your kids (even the little ones!) involved in making meals and healthy snacks. Kids love to help in the kitchen and it enables you to get the inevitable done (albeit with a bit more mess and disorganization). Let them help with meal planning, picking recipes, and assigning jobs (head veggie cleaner, sous chef, etc.). You may not realize it now, but they will forever look back on this memory with appreciation and love. Studies also show kids eat better when they are a part of the process.
Robert Nickell (a.k.a. Daddy Nickell), father of 7, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of DaddyScrubs.com, delivery room duds, gifts, and apparel for dads, and the Daddyscrubs.com blog, where he covers topics about parenting and the latest baby and kids gear, all from a Dad’s perspective.
About Daddy Nickell
For his blog, Nickell writes from a father’s perspective on topics such as bonding with your child and what the father should expect during pregnancy and infancy. Daddy Nickell also contributes his parenting expertise to national talk shows and daytime television shows. He has been featured on “Good Morning L.A.,” “Good Morning Texas,” “Daytime TV” ABC15 Phoenix, MSNBC, WZZM 13, San Antonio Living, KSBI TV, and as a syndicated columnist for national newspapers, parenting magazines and websites including Baby Couture Magazine, Oh Baby! Magazine, City Parent Magazine, The Bump, Parenthood, and Homeschooling Parent.