Summer is such a wonderful season, but can be filled with annual caregiving concerns. Plus, there are the details of what to do with the kids to make the season special. Katie Bugbee, our global parenting expert has some wonderful ideas for you -- or your summer sitter -- to make this summer one your kids will always remember.
At Care.com, we are getting ready for summer – meaning: prepping for the surge of families looking for summer caregivers. School will soon be out and suddenly the main source of child care for so many will be on hiatus. (Learn tips for hiring a summer sitter or nanny)
With summer on the brain, I’m already starting to wonder how this year’s break will be better than the last. How to fill their beautiful days with memorable moments. Moments my kids might want to recreate with their own kids one day. Especially because I’m not there. I’m working. So I need my children’s nanny to create these moments for them, while I focus on weekend fun.
The following is a list of fun, memorable summer activities. Whether they’re hosted by you or your nanny, the beneficiaries will still be the little ones who matter.
- Be photographers for the day. Get disposable cameras or old digital ones and take the kids on a photo journaling journey. Their job? Finding beautiful moments in an average day. Print them out and create books, letting them caption each one.
- Picnic at the park. Take your average lunch and spruce up the location. Bring kites and a ball and lunch turns into a half-day activity.
- Sit by a stream. Find a small serene body of water where you can stand on the banks and explore surrounding nature and plant-life. Take sketch pads or water-themed books (Where the River Begins, Undersea Animals, Trout Are Made of Trees) to learn about and draw what you see.
- Make summer crafts. Everyone needs to plan for indoor “down-time.” Whether it’s a rainy day, too hot to go outside, or you just need a break, here are 62 summer crafts to do with kids.
- Create a summer-focused scavenger hunt. Make a list of summer spotted items such as: sprinklers, rose bushes, picnic baskets, beach blankets, kites, sunscreen, convertibles, butterflies, ice cream, popsicles, lemonade stand. Go out on an exploratory walk looking for each item (if kids can’t read, print visual icons for them to spot). Make it even more challenging by putting the kids and their friends in teams.
- Make the biggest sandcastle possible. Each summer, challenge kids to make the tallest or most-fabulous castle possible – out of sand. Chronicle each year’s growth in pictures.
- Clean up trash. Well yes, this is quite memorable, isn’t it? But here is a way to get kids involved in the protection of their favorite park. Be sure to protect them first with long rubber gloves and rain boots. Also take tongs for grabbing the yuckiest things. Use this as a way to teach basics about the environment, discuss littering, and how to take care of things you love.
- Make classic summer foods: S’mores at lunch, homemade ice cream, fresh-fruit popsicles.
- Host an outdoor movie night. You can hire this out or create a makeshift version with a large sheet draped from trees, laptop, speakers and a projector. Invite kids to bring sleeping bags and beach chairs. You can provide the bug spray and popcorn.
- Throw water balloons. Just steer clear of hitting faces.
- Have a backyard “Luau” luncheon. Invite friends for pineapple and ham kabobs, lei-making, hula dancing, pineapple bowling and limbo under the tiki pole. Prep the week of by getting kids to help make grass skirts, palm trees and tiki poles.
Need more activity inspiration? Check out these 101 Fun Things to Do with Kids This Summer.