Fortnite. Minecraft. YouTube. Instagram. Snapchat. These days, the list of digital distractions for kids goes on and on and on. During the summer, all parents—whether they have a child with a bleeding disorder or not—face the struggle of limiting screen time and getting kids to take part in screen-free activities.
The following are fun summer activity ideas for children—no Wi-Fi required.
Get your child interested in reading
- Visit the library. Swapping screen time for storytime (with printed books) is one of the best ways to cultivate a lifelong love of books and reading. Local libraries have free summer programs with reading activities and incentives for kids of all ages.
- Bring audiobooks in the car. If you’re going on a road trip, stash the screens for a while and listen to an exciting audiobook instead.
- Create your own comic book. Have fun coming up with the characters and story, and then drawing all the scenes.
Family-friendly home activities
- Have a family game night. Go old school and dust off that Monopoly or Scrabble game on a closet shelf, or dig into something newer like the wildly popular The Settlers of Catan.
- Have fun with puzzles. A big jigsaw puzzle can keep the whole family engaged, but you can also find brain teasers and logic puzzle books at your local library.
- Get cooking. Make a fun summer dessert, like strawberry shortcake or blueberry pie.
Easy arts and crafts at home
- Use materials from around the house. Choose an old-fashioned craft project, like milk carton bird feeders, flower crowns or tie-dye T-shirts.
- Make art with recycled materials. Make a collage using pictures and words cut from old magazines.
- Create a time capsule. First, choose which items to include, such as a few photographs, a recent magazine and an empty cereal box. If you don’t want to bury the time capsule, put it in storage with a label “To be opened in 10 to 15 years.”
- Build something. Create a giant castle with building blocks.
Outdoor activity ideas
- Take in a free outdoor concert. Listen to beautiful music while enjoying the great outdoors. Don’t forget the blanket, snacks and bug spray.
- Play with water. Have a water balloon toss, or set up the sprinkler in the backyard for the kids to run through.
- Take a bicycle ride on a nearby trail. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has a list of more than 2,000 trails across the country.
- Go for a nature walk. Bring binoculars for bird-watching, or collect interesting stones or other objects along the way.
- Organize a yard sale. Search the attic and basement for stuff you no longer use, and don’t forget the lemonade stand. You can use the proceeds for a special dinner out.
- Create a colorful chalk mural. You can also play hopscotch or tic-tac-toe.
- See a local theater production. Lots of communities offer free Shakespeare in the park performances—as well as other productions—during the summer months.
- Go camping in the backyard. Pitch a tent, play flashlight tag and roast some marshmallows over a campfire.
Fun things to do inside on a hot day
- Plan a staycation. Visit a local museum or science center you’ve never been to before.
- Make an indoor fort. Raining outside? No problem. Big cardboard boxes work great as construction materials, but so do couch cushions, pillows and blankets.