By Gina McSheffrey Emmons, PhD
Summer is here! With school closed over the next 2 months, many parents are left wondering what they can do to entertain their kids all summer long! Summer vacation is a wonderful time to explore new things and spend quality time with loved ones. If you need ideas for some summer fun, then this blog is for you!
One of the best places to look for things to do is in your own town. Your local town offers many different programs such as summer camps, sports, and classes through their Recreational Department. Some towns even have outdoor movie nights and host concerts in the parks. Summer day camps in town also provide great job opportunities for teenagers looking for work where they can serve as counselors-in-training and gain experience working with children.
Your local town library also offers a great array of programs to help promote reading during the summer months with reading clubs and activities for all ages. Children can keep track of how much they read and submit a reading log to earn incentives. There are also many library-sponsored events throughout the summer to continue the learning process and to foster community involvement.
Day trips to zoos, museums, environmental centers, and aquariums can provide fun learning opportunities for children where they get to explore and engage in exciting hands-on activities. It may be worth becoming members at some of these places so that if you go back a few times, it is more cost effective!
The summer is the perfect time to further build upon and explore children’s interests, and discover new ones. They can take classes in music, art, technology, science enrichment, dance, cooking, theater, etc. Many classes are offered through local businesses, town programs, and YMCA’s.
Of course heading to the beach and pool will be on the list this summer, which are great outdoor activities. You can also enjoy outdoor fun by having a picnic in the park, catching a baseball game, going to water/amusement parks, going on a hike on any of the local hiking trails, and attending the many local summer street fairs, carnivals, and festivals. Some great websites to use when searching for things to do are: www.njfamily.comandwww.njkidsonline.com. There are many summer events and activities that are free too!
On rainy days, get creative indoors! Use your imagination and create games and art projects with everyday objects…make your own instruments, build a bird house, put on a puppet show, etc. Continue the fun at home any day by camping out in your own backyard, counting fireflies, spotting pictures in the clouds, blowing bubbles, making a fairy garden, planting a vegetable garden, creating murals with sidewalk chalk, or selling lemonade. And you can’t forget making special summer treats together like s’mores and homemade ice pops! The sky’s the limit!
These are just some ideas to consider when mapping out your summer days as there are plenty more out there. With a little research and some planning, you can make your summer truly magical. No matter what you choose to do with your summer, the best part of it is spending and enjoying the time with your family and friends. It is about making the most of this special time of year where you can relax and take a break from busy schedules. Share your summer family traditions with your children and make new ones! Your summer adventures await you!