If you’re scrambling for summer activities for kids during COVID 19, try a few of these projects to keep them busy for more than a hot minute!
Many of us have already spent months at home with kids searching for fun activities for kids to keep them busy and entertained. Now, summer is upon us, and for many of us this summer will be different than most. We may have to forego travel plans and summer camps, and we parents can already hear the incessant refrain, “I’m bored.”
To help fight summer boredom, I’ve compiled a list of projects for kids at home this summer. Rather than a quick activity that will be over in five minutes, the idea is that these are little projects kids can get wrapped up in and spend a while doing. Of course, not all of these may appeal to your child, but hopefully one or two of them will get your child’s imagination flowing and help him to fill a few summer afternoons with creativity.
The other benefit of these projects is that parents don’t need to be heavily involved for most of them. (Of course, it will vary depending on your child’s age and interest level.) My advice is to suggest one of these projects, start talking about some ideas, offer supplies, and then back away. Allowing children to have complete creative freedom and giving them the space (and the push if necessary) to problem-solve is invaluable. (And it can also be invaluable for you if you are working from home or have a to-do list you need to accomplish.)
As children’s counselor and children’s book author Stephanie Scott told us, “It’s okay to let them have time alone to be creative and innovative with their free time. Allow them opportunities to problem solve on their own, rather than having you fill in every bit of their schedule with activities.” You can read more about her advice for this summer in the recent post on regulation emotions during COVID-19.
Make a Board Game
We saw the idea to make our own board games on Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems this spring, and my kids have made a few. My son in particular really took off with this idea.
You can watch the Mo Willems video to get started, or you can just talk about the idea. You child can base their board game on their favorite app, video game, or television show.
My son turned a Minion app game into a fun board game. He also experimented with a few different Pac Man board game ideas. Older children could also create trivia games related to their favorite topic or television show.
This activity really challenges children to come up with a concept, create rules for the game, create the physical game itself, and then see if their game “works well.” They may have to adapt their rules if it turns out to be too elaborate or take too long to win.
Make a Comic Book
Creating a comic book can be a great activity for nearly any age. Comic books and graphic novels for kids are great because they are accessible, unitimidating, and fun. Because comic books rely more heavily on images than words, this can be a good way for younger children to practice creating their own storylines and characters. They can also practice writing without too much pressure. They only need to fill in captions and dialogue bubbles rather than describing every action and scene in their story.
We’re all big fans of Calvin and Hobbes at our house, so my children have spent many happy hours lately creating their own Calvin and Hobbes comic books. Then they started branching out creating their own characters as well.
Children can base their comic book off of their favorite characters, themselves, or a character of their own invention. The options are endless.
Put on a Play
Siblings can work together to create and put on a play. That’s right, work together. There may be some arguing and compromising involved, but it can be a good chance to practice teamwork and conflict resolution.
Another option is for a child to put on a play completely independently. (My kids each put on their own play, and they seemed to really enjoy watching each other’s productions.)
This is another great open-ended project that requires children to use several different skills sets, and they can focus on the area they enjoy most. Some may spend a long time coming up with a story line while another child might spend most of their time creating scenery. Children working together can be the actors in their play. They can also use toys or stuffed animals as the characters, or they can make their own puppets to act out the play.
Sew Something by Hand
Depending on your child’s age, this one may require you to be more heavily involved. However, sewing can be a fun, rewarding, and useful craft. (One day, your child may need to sew a button on a shirt after it falls off!)
If your child hasn’t sewn before, start with something simple. Make a small rectangular pillow for a stuffed animal, or cut an animal shape out of felt and use a blanket stitch to make a little stuffed animal. There are also plenty of sewing kits available for young children using craft foam and a blunt plastic needle.
My daughter has the book, I Can Make Dolls’ Clothes, and it has great easy-to-follow patterns and instructions for Barbie clothes to sew by hand.
Tea Party/Themed Party
Another idea is to have a themed tea party or an entire themed day. Pick a theme your child loves, and just run away with it. Whether it’s unicorns or robots, plan out your party and make it happen.
Make decorations such as napkin rings, placemats, name cards, a garland to hang. You can even create invitations for each other. Come up with a themed menu that fits your theme. (If you need help with ideas, just hop on Pinterest and search your party theme.)
You can wear special clothes, or you can make your own themed hats or costumes for the party.
Do you have any good project recommendations for kids? What do your kids get wrapped up with these days?