- Play games. Whether you prefer board games or card games, sitting around the table with the family is a great way to spend time together, laugh and just enjoy one another. Our favorites include Phase 10, Chinese Checkers, Uno, Clue, Yahtzee and The Game of Life.
- Make home videos. Either film the kids just playing and interacting, or put on a play of some type. My son loves an app installed on his 3DS called Stop Motion Camera, which allows him to make a movie after taking a series of photographs, kind of like a high-tech flipbook.
- Take out old photos. Either just look through them and reminisce, or turn them into a scrapbook!
- Put together a puzzle. If you have a table that’s not in daily use, spread out all of the pieces, and just leave it out for anyone to work on as they see fit.
- Try out new recipes. Take cookbooks out of the library and try vegetarian cooking, slow cooker recipes, recipes centered around a certain ingredient or dishes from other cultures.
- Plan a craft. This is even better if it’s something messy, like tie-dye, that the kids don’t get to do regularly.
- Paint one or more rooms of the house. Obviously, this is not something you’ll want to attempt with toddlers, but older kids might do a good job. Try sponge-painting; that’s easy to do and does not require perfection. If you or one of your kids is artistic, try your hand at painting a mural on a bedroom or bathroom wall!
- Travel around the world with Google Maps. Pick a city or town in a foreign country, zoom down to ground level, and check out the houses, cars and scenery!
- Build a huge lego city! If you don’t have enough legos, try scouting ebay for a good deal; we were once able to score a big tub of them for $25. Legos are timeless and appeal to kids from preschoolers to teens, and adults, too!
- Choose a television series to watch together, starting with the first season. My preteen son and I are currently watching The Wonder Years, for example. If you have a Netflix account, they have a lot of TV seasons available. If not, check your local library!
- Invite friends over! Even if the kids are not doing anything out of the ordinary, they’ll have more fun doing nothing with a friend. If you invite the friends’ mom over as well, then you’ll have company, too!
Keeping kids entertained during the summer break doesn’t have to mean leaving the house every day. As long as you can think of something to occupy them for part of the day, they’ll usually be able to go off and make up their own fun afterward.
What are your favorite at-home summertime activities?