Summer Fun for Kids
School's out, and your kids want to have some fun in the sun. How can you keep them happy and busy -- and maybe help them learn something -- all the way through August?
On a warm summer day, take the bins outside and spend some time
playing in the shade -- when the bins get boring, take advantage of nature by
showing your toddler flowers, playing in the sandbox, or swinging on the jungle
Book time. "Reading is such a great activity for all
ages," says Borba. "For toddlers, have book time where you sit down and
read for a half hour or so. Point to the pictures and tell your child what it
is, and after reading it a few times, it's amazing how fast they'll pick it up
and start saying it with you."
Read books to your toddler that have pictures of things you'll
find outside in the summer -- butterflies, flowers, birds, frogs, bees,
anything under the sun. Your toddler will know the names of Mother Nature's
creations before summer is over.
Swimming lessons. "Swimming lessons are great for
toddlers as young as 2 or 3," says Ken Haller, MD, assistant professor of
pediatrics at St. Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri. "And
your whole family can enjoy this activity."
While swimming lessons for toddlers is a good way to beat the
heat and introduce them to water, remember that children this age should never
be left alone around pools. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics,
"teaching your child how to swim DOES NOT mean your child is safe in
water," especially toddlers.
Classic pastimes. Games of old are great inside, but
even better outside in the summer. "There are very simple games toddlers
really enjoy, like duck duck goose and ring around the rosey," says Roth.
"Toddlers also love tunnels and forts -- you can either buy them or make
them out of cushions and blankets. And if you're ready for some noise, give
your toddler pots and pans to play with, or go for a quieter version, and give
From ants on a log to chalk on a sidewalk, here are ideas that
will keep kids 3-5 happy all summer long.
Simple kitchen projects. "Projects with preschoolers
in the kitchen are always supervised and simple," says Roth. "Make ants
on a log using celery, peanut butter, and raisins, and let the child do most of
the work -- they'll love it."
Other simple preschooler projects for the kitchen: trail mix,
apples and peanut butter, and for a hot summer day treat, ice cream sandwiched
Arts and crafts. "Drawing with lots of different
papers is a great activity for preschool kids," says Roth. "Give them
different kinds of markers, pens, pencils, finger paint, chalk, and chalk
Let kids paint to their heart's content outside on the grass to
make cleanup easy, and let them use paper, cardboard, driveways, and sidewalks
as their canvases -- your little Picassos will be busy for hours.