If “I’m booorred” is an all-too-familiar phrase around your household this summer, you’ll probably want to take advantage of the following summer schedule. Here at LDS Living, we’ve pulled together some ideas to keep your children busy, many of them without even leaving home. Try them and you may find that not only has the whining ceased, but your family has created life-long memories and traditions your children will look forward to for years to come.
Day 1 - Have a pajama day. Start the summer right by letting the kids relax. Make your first day a fun family activity. Make everyone’s favorite breakfast, watch cartoons, and enjoy a day of relaxation.
Day 2 - Have a treasure hunt. Kids always enjoy searching for hidden treasure—especially if something sweet is involved. So hide the clues and include a box of their favorite treats at the end. If it’s particularly hot day, “X” marks the Popsicles in your freezer.
Day 3 - Grow a garden. Have your kids be in charge of a plant that they water and care for daily. Not only will it be something to do on a regular basis, but they’ll get to experience the joy of watching something grow.
Day 4 - Hold a family reading competition. Make summertime learning fun! Challenge each other to read a certain amount of books before the summer ends, either aloud and together or individually, and then reward yourselves with a fun trip or other family activity if you succeed. Make a simple chart to show progress. Get book ideas from our Summer Reading List for Kids, Teens and Adults.
Day 5 - Make a summer to-do list. Have your kids cover a poster board with all the things they want to do this summer, and have them put a box next to each idea, so they can check it off when finished.
Day 6 - Learn a new skill. Ever wanted to ballroom dance, do yoga, or learn to decorate a fancy cake? Take a class as a family! Many are available through community colleges and private studios.
Day 7 - Create water bottle holders. Crafts are always a great way to keep kids occupied, and this one is perfect for helping with your summer outings. Go to crafts.kaboose.com to find this craft and other great crafts.
Day 8 - Host a car wash. Let your kids choose if they want to offer their services free to your neighborhood, or if they think they are professional enough, charge money. Let the kids save their earnings for a fun trip or activity.
Day 9 - Buy a YMCA or community center pass. Kids enjoy having the freedom to learn and try different things, and a pass will definitely give them the opportunity to do that. Your younger kids will enjoy attending one of their many day camps, which will give you free time to relax and enjoy your summer, too.
Day 10 -Fly a kite. This has been a family favorite since before Mary Poppins. Give it a little twist by having your kids make their own kites.
Day 11 - Knit bandages for leprosy victims. Encourage your kids to serve by teaching them how to knit or crochet bandages for leprosy victims. Plenty of Internet sites give instructions for knitting and directions for donating, such as leprosybandages.blogspot.com.
Day 12 - Just add water. Take traditional games or sports and give them a wet, summery twist. Try water balloon volleyball—you can fling them over the net with towels. Or try sponge tag or water limbo with a garden hose.
Day 13 - Take a library trip. Everyone enjoys a trip to the library, and there’s always something going on. Libraries offer many programs and activities during the week that are fun for kids as young as three.
Day 14 - Make frozen treats. Frozen fruit smoothies are simple and nutritious ways to get creative with your kids. Blend together yogurt and milk and your choice of frozen fruit. Or find a recipe on the Internet for ice cream in a bag.
Day 15 - Grow a sunflower. Sunflowers are fun to plant because they sprout in about a week, even though it takes time for them reach their full height. Kids can plant sunflowers in a circle which can become a hide-out as the sunflowers grow.
Day 16 - Have your kids start a journal. Set aside ten minutes each day for them to write in their journals, and keep up on it through the whole summer.
Day 17 - Pet cam. Have your child follow around your dog or cat with a camera (or video camera, if it’s an older child) and see the world from your pet’s point of view.
Day 18 - Be chef for a day. Teach your kids to cook a meal. It can be as simple as a peanut butter sandwich for young children, or a casserole or roast for older children.
Day 19 - Host an Olympics. Get together with other parents and create a Summer Olympics for all the kids on your block. The kids can help create different races and events; let them spend a few days “training” and then let the games begin!
Day 20 - Grow butterflies. For $20, your kids can watch the life cycle of a butterfly in your own home. Go to insectlore.com to purchase a live butterfly garden.
Day 21 - Make an “anything goes” lunch. For just one day, invite your family to have anything and everything they want for lunch. From Oreos and pancakes to potato chips and marshmallows, they’ll think you’re the coolest parent in the neighborhood!
Day 22 - Play “American Idol.” Let your kids spend hours performing their own songs and routines to their favorite tunes. Record them and watch them for the next family home evening.
Day 23 - Play with bubbles. There are many ways to get fun and creative that go beyond buying bottles at the store. Let your kids make their own soap (dishwasher soap and water) and wands (pipe cleaners, coat hangers). Also, using powdered tempera paints, dish detergent, and liquid starch, you can make colorful bubbles.
Day 24 - Hold a no-electricity day. At this point in the summer, you might think your kids’ brains have already melted from TV rays. Pull the plugs on all your electronics and drag out the board games, have a picnic in your backyard, and spend some time together the old-fashioned way. Use candles at night instead of overhead lights.
Day 25 - Enjoy fresh fruit. Feast on the bounty of summer by picking fruit right from the field. Different fruits will be available at different times during the summer, so do your homework. Check pickyourown.org to see if there is a kid-friendly farm in your area.
Day 26 - Use workbooks. Your kids may groan, but it’s good to keep those growing brains working. Many stores sell workbooks that help kids stay on top of their math and reading. Have them do a page a day and reward them with their favorite treat when they finish a book.
Day 27 - Attend a concert in the park. Many cities have a series of free concerts during the summer months, and they often feature many different kinds of music. So grab a blanket or a lawn chair and enjoy!
Day 28 - Go fish. Grab some fishing poles and head for the nearest lake or stream. Even if you don’t catch anything, you can still enjoy some time in the great outdoors.
Day 29 - Live outside for a day. The fresh air does the mind good, and enjoying a cool summer breeze can be great when compared with a hot house. When night comes, pull out the sleeping bags and get cozy. See if a friend has a portable fire pit you can use for roasting s’mores.
Day 30 - Hold a family science fair. Have your kids come up with a simple science project they would like to complete over the day, week, or month. Check out all-science-fair-projects.com for ideas.
Day 31 - Visit a museum. Check your local museum’s website beforehand to see what special collections they will have available during the summer.
Day 32 - Go ice-skating. Skating (at an indoor rink, of course) can be a good way to cool off in the heat. It’s good exercise, too!
Day 33 - Have a cupcake day. There are millions of ways to decorate cupcakes, and most are pretty simple. Your kids will have fun making this cute and tasty treat. Visit cupcake-decorating-ideas.com for inspiration. Take a few anonymously to another family.
Day 34 - Start a collection. Now that you’ve seen a museum’s fascinating collections, have your kids choose something they are interested in, research it, and begin collecting.
Day 35 - Organize a block party. People often choose to move during the summer, so there’s a good chance at least one new family will move into the neighborhood. Why not host a potluck block party and give everyone a chance to get to know one another better?
Day 36 - Help out. Make your neighborhood sparkle by picking up trash that others have left after the block party.
Day 37 - Have a garage sale. Have your kids gather all the toys they don’t want. Make sure they get to keep the money that comes from the toys. You can participate, too, and get rid of anything you aren’t really using anymore.
Day 38 - Stargaze. Warm summer nights are perfect for stargazing. Go to stardate.org for lots of tips and a weekly calendar of celestial events.
Day 39 - Have a photography contest. Give your children a disposable camera and let them take pictures all week of all of their new discoveries and activities. At the end of the week, have a family friend decide which pictures are most creative and hand out prizes.
Day 40 - Go on a scavenger hunt. Create a list of objects to find and then go to a public place, like a park. Split into teams and see who can be the first to find everything on the list. List where you found the things so you have evidence for them.
Day 41 - Organize a pet parade. Invite everyone and their dog to this activity! Have all the neighbor kids dress up their animal. Then have everyone march around the neighborhood. (Make sure you separate the cats and dogs!) You probably want to have more parental supervision than just you for this activity to make sure things don’t get too wild.
Day 42 - Participate in a race. Races are common in the summer, and the days are long enough to give you ample time to prepare. Even if you’ve never run a race before, make it a goal to complete one this summer. Your whole family can participate in the training, making it a summer of health. It can also bring you closer together as you all work towards a common goal!
Day 43 - Make piñatas. Piñatas are easy to make with some paper-mâché, balloons and tissue paper. Look up simple instructions online. Your kids are bound to love this one.
Day 44 - River wade. All kids love taking a trip to their local river or stream. If the river isn't too fast and if there's plenty of adult supervision, floating on tubes or even just wading creates hours of fun.
Day 45 - Paint crazy. Tie up large canvases or old bed sheets, buy some nontoxic paint, and let the kids express their creativity with paintbrushes or their hands.
Day 46 - Read aloud as a family. As part of your summer reading competition (see Day Four), use today as a day when you tell each other about the book you’re reading and then read an excerpt aloud to each other.
Day 47 - Attend a festival. During the summer months, festivals happen all the time. Find one and spend the day learning about the food, crafts, history, music, and dance of another culture. If you check your local paper, you’re sure to find a great cultural event to attend.
Day 48 - Summer clean. Yes, your kids might throw a fit about this day, but working is good for their character. Assign them a specific room and have them clean it. The level of cleaning will depend on their age. Reward them with ice cream sandwiches for a job well done.
Day 49 - Have a talent show. Invite all the kids in your neighborhood to showcase their talents in your backyard. Invite parents and assign each to bring a snack, and have refreshments after the performances.
Day 50 - Make razzle-dazzle shirts. Rhinestone shirts are becoming popular again, usually accompanied by some sort of colorful design. Have your kids grab a plain shirt and help them decorate with rhinestones or crystals and fabric paint. Look for pattern ideas online or buy iron-on rhinestones.
Day 51 - Go to the zoo. Going to the zoo is always educational. Take a day to appreciate and learn about some of the unique animals you don't get to see in everyday life.
Day 52 - Host a game show. Pick a game show that you really like (Wheel of Fortune, Price is Right, Jeopardy) and create a simplified version.
Day 53 - Go horseback riding. Chances are your kids would do anything to cowboy up. Make their dream come true and go on a mini adventure. Don’t worry about your experience level as most stables have horses and ponies acceptable for beginners.
Day 54 - Go indoor camping. No matter the weather or budget, let your kids go camping—inside. If you have a room large enough, set up the tent inside. Let the kids put chairs in a “campfire" circle, eat their meals in the tent, and tell scary stories! Best of all: no mosquitoes.
Day 55 - Enjoy the farmer’s bounty. Markets are overflowing with fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables. In summer, you're sure to find perfectly ripened tomatoes, sugar-sweet corn, and delicious watermelon. Go to localharvest.org or farmersmarket.com to find a farmers' market near you.
Day 56 - Make seashell critters. Did you take a vacation to the ocean this year? Have your kids round up the seashells they found and glue googly eyes to them. They can also glue on additional shells to create bodies.
Day 57 - Make a home movie theater. If you have access to a projector, then simply find a bare wall or vinyl fence for either indoor or outdoor viewing. If not, your home TV works just as well. Whichever you choose, be sure to pop plenty of popcorn and treat yourself to movie-theater-sized candy to get the right effect.
Day 58 - Take a day trip. Find a destination you may have never known about before—that’s only a half a tank of gas away! Tripadvisor.com/tankofgas lets you choose how much gas you want to use on your road trip (quarter, half, or full tank) and then gives you suggestions for places to travel to.
Day 59 - Tell some tales. Gather around a campfire and tell each other stories. Encourage your kids’ imaginations by letting them tell you fairy tales with a twist and stories they have made up.
Day 60 - Get some drama. Enjoy theater but have trouble keeping the little ones in their seats? During the summer, many community theaters host free, family-friendly performances in parks or other outdoor venues. Just bring a blanket and camp chairs and you’ll be set!
Day 61 - Make salsa. Why not make an easy snack your family will enjoy? Choose your favorite salsa veggies, add some seasonings, mix it all up, and you've got a great, healthy treat.
Day 62 - Make homemade lemonade. It’s not really summer without this favorite. Heat ¾ cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small pot until sugar is completely dissolved. Mix in pitcher with 1 cup of lemon juice and 3 to 4 cups cold water. Serve with sliced lemons for a splash of embellishment.
Day 63 - Have an archaeological dig. Draw fossil images on cardboard, then cut them out and bury them in different parts of your backyard, like the garden, a sandbox, or just loose dirt. Leave a small portion uncovered so your kids will know where to start.
Day 64 - Volunteer at an animal shelter. If your family doesn’t have a pet and your kids are animal crazy, they would probably love to take some of the sweet shelter dogs for a walk. Contact your local animal shelter for more information.
Day 65 - Remix your favorite show. Have your kids create their own version of their favorite TV show and videotape their performance. Whether it’s Dora the Explorer, Phineas and Ferb, or iCarly, they are sure to get a kick out of the result.
Day 66 - Attend the county fair. Visiting the county fair is a great event for the whole family. They usually have carnival rides, games, food, entertainment, competitions, crafts, and displays. It's the perfect way to celebrate your local culture.
Day 67 - Have a theme picnic. Take advantage of the sunshine by eating outdoors, even if it’s just in your backyard. You can make things more interesting by having a theme for the food you’ll eat, like eating all foods that all begin with the same letter or are the same color.
Day 68 - Play Uno. No matter your age, you will always enjoy this family favorite. Start an Uno tournament that goes all week, complete with tournament bracket and elimination game. The kids will have fun playing with Mom and Dad, and even more fun beating them every now and then.
Day 69 - Scrapbook summer memories. Print out a bunch of your favorite pictures for the summer. Staple five to ten pieces of paper together, give your kids markers, stickers, and construction paper, and let them design their own scrapbook pages. They will love to look back on these years later.
Day 70 - Winner takes all. It’s time to rack up those points from the summer reading competition. Tally up the number of books and have the winner choose dinner that night.
Day 71 - Have a garden delight dinner. By this time, the garden you started on day three has hopefully become very plentiful. Teach your kids how to make delicious dishes with the veggies they grew themselves, then serve the dishes for dinner.
Day 72 - Play night games. As you reach the end of the summer, let your kids have one last hurrah of staying up late. Play family night games until late and end the night with some hot chocolate.
Day 73 - Make a fort. Every kid wants the chance to make their own space. Choose between letting them create the couch cushion and sheet variety or giving them wood scraps and nails. You probably want to give parental supervision for the latter.
Day 74 - Have a journal day. Remember those journals you started back on Day Sixteen? Have your kids read through them. They will probably laugh at the funny things they’ve written. Ask them if they would like to share any of their entries with the family.
Day 75 - Play Project Runway. Give your kids scraps of fabric, newspaper, toilet paper, and whatever you think would be suitable material for a fashion show. They have twenty minutes to come up with a fashionable outfit, then model it down a runway complete with music. Have Dad be the judge and come up with an award for each outfit.
Day 76 - Show and tell. Have a family home evening where you share what you’ve learned this summer. Let them know ahead of time so they can think about it. Maybe you were able to learn a new skill (like we suggested on Day Six) or maybe your kids will share something they learned from one of your outings. Either way, it’s great to learn from each other.
Day 77 - Create a homemade water park. End your summer with a splash—create a slip and slide out of a tarp and hoses, make a water slide out of a kiddie playground slide with a kiddie pool at the end. Add some squirt guns and you are set for some wet fun. Invite some other families over and enjoy some of the homemade lemonade and ice cream you’ve perfected.