Weekly Summer Activities for Kids

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Start Your Summer Off Right

Kids Summer Activities Reading
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For kids, summer feels like it flies by. Days filled with summer camp, outdoor playtime, play dates, and barbecues make this season in their lives abuzz with activity. But for parents, filling each long summer day can feel like a full-time job.

Do kids have to do something every week of summer break? Of course not. But if you take the first few weeks to create a summer schedule that thwarts boredom, chances are the rest of your family's summer will flow smoothly and the kids will stay on track for the inevitable return of the school year. 

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Week 1: Join a Summer Reading Program

Summer reading
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Motivate your kids to keep up with their reading with a summer program. Relaxing with a book offers kids downtime after a busy weekend of camping or a long day at the beach. A kid with his nose in a book tends not to bicker with siblings, making your life easier, too. Most importantly, the habit of reading fosters learning that extends beyond the classroom, keeping your kid on track for the next school year.

Most libraries—and maybe even your kids' schools, or your local bookstore—offer summer reading programs that help young readers set goals and earn rewards. Some programs meet weekly, like a club, with a scheduled activity or read-aloud. Others run contests where kids can receive a prize once they've completed a book or a goal. If you have trouble finding a local program, an online program might work well for your child. 

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Week 2: Create a Summer Bucket List

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Summer fun is all about being spontaneous. Kids can amuse themselves for hours with a balloon, a sandbox, or a water squirter. But like many things in life, having fun takes some planning (kids are clueless about the behind-the-scenes efforts of parents). 

In early summer, map out a summer bucket list for your family. Make a game out of it by having your children interview each member of the family, asking them what's on their list: Day trips, picnics, a family vacation, camping, beachgoing, and visiting an amusement park? Next, sit down with each other and your list and map it all out on your calendar. If you don't plan for it, it may never happen. 

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Week 3: Plan Play Dates

Play Date
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Kids are social animals. At school, they are constantly interacting with one another. So when summer comes around and they don't get as much friend time, they tend to get bored. And boredom, we know, is the enemy of any parent. Weekly play dates give kids something to look forward to. Plus, most parents find they are more productive when they have an extra child around to keep their own kids occupied. You could even set up a kid swap where you watch a friend's kid one day a week and vice versa. ​

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Week 4: Enroll Your Child in a Summer Camp

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Some camps require you to enroll during the early season, but others offer last-minute registration, or even weekly drop-in days throughout the summer.  

Registering your kids for a camp one day a week (or for full weeks at a time), lends structure to their carefree days. Summer camps also allow kids the social time they need to meet new friends or reconnect with school buddies. Working an art camp, sports camp, swim camp, or academic camp into your summer calendar gives parents the freedom to work, while also providing an outlet for fun and creativity outside of the home setting.

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Week 5: Start Summer Homework

Summer Homework
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When summer is in full swing, the last thing kids want to think about is summer homework. Some schools give it and some don't. But either way, working consistently all summer prevents kids from falling into a "summer slide." A little work in the summer carries great value once they're back in the classroom. For some families, summer homework keeps kids busy while parents are at work. And if your child's summer work is plentiful, picking away at it weekly sure beats cramming it all in right before school starts up again.

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Week 6 and Beyond: Your Planning Pays Off

With these routines and plans in place, you can keep everyone busy and productive (but still having fun!) all the way through the last days of summer.

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