20 Things to do with Kids this Summer that Don’t Involve Smartphones!
Check out these 20 things to do with kids this summer that don’t involve smartphones for a fun and enjoyable summer vacation!
Are you tired of your kids spending too much time on their smartphones, tablets and in front of the TV? I know I am! I’ve compiled a list of 20 things to do with kids this summer that will get them outside, moving, exploring and having fun. The best thing about this list is that most, if not all of them, cost little or nothing at all to do. Better yet, you can do many of them together and strengthen the family bond.
I think back to when I was growing up, before smartphones, computers and 200 channels on TV. Ok, before you start thinking I’m a hundred years old, it really wasn’t that long ago. I’m talking about growing up in the 70’s and 80’s- what a great time to be a kid! When we weren’t doing chores or homework, we spent our time outside or doing something constructive!
Read on for some ideas- you’re probably already doing some of them.
Read a book together: There are so many amazing books for all ages from infant on up. It’s never too early to start reading to young children. Encourage older children to borrow books from the library or join a summer reading club. Challenge them to read a certain number of books over summer vacation!
Color: Coloring with your child can be so relaxing. They even make coloring books just for adults because so many of us enjoy it so much. Coloring is a great way for young children to show their creative side.
Take a walk through the woods: Explore a wooded area and see what interesting things you come across. Be sure to wear bug spray and check yourself and your children for ticks afterward, but don’t let that stop you.
Go on a scavenger hunt: While you’re walking through the woods or the neighborhood, have the kids search for the items on a scavenger hunt list. Choose any variety of items and see how many they can find.
Leaf tracings: You might remember this from when you were a child. Pick a variety of leaves from various trees and plants (watch out for poison ivy). Put the leaves on a table and place a piece of white paper over the leaves. Rub the crayons over the leaves and see the magic that appears!
Plant a garden: Young children with delight at planting their very own garden. Watch their excitement as the very plants they planted grow pretty flowers or vegetables. They may even eat their vegetables now that they grew them.
Set up a bird feeder, better yet, build one out of recycled materials: There are many ways to build a bird feeder from recycled materials and bird seed is relatively inexpensive. Watch and record the birds that visit your new feeder.
Build a birdhouse: You can purchase a Bluebird birdhouse or better yet, build a simple birdhouse from scratch. You just may get your children interested in a building trade.
Go Fishing: Relax as you sit by the water’s edge and cast your line. Listen to the birds and, who knows- maybe you’ll get lucky and catch a fish! Either way, it’s a great way to bond and keep your kids off their smartphones.
Visit a park and have a picnic: This is a fun one and there are so many different parks to visit. Pack some sandwiches and drinks or go all-out and have a BBQ. Every park has different amenities such as playgrounds, splash pads, views and such that each time will be a new experience!
Camp out in the backyard: If you have a tent or know someone who does, set it up in the backyard. Invite a few of the kids’ friends over, build a fire and roast marshmallows. There is something magical about sleeping outside and under the stars.
Bake some cookies: My son used to love baking cookies with me (when he was little, of course). This is such a great teaching and bonding moment, and who doesn’t love fresh baked cookies?
Build a campfire, roast marshmallows and tell stories: What could be more fun than building a campfire and roasting marshmallow or making Smore’s? Relax by the fire or tell scary ghost stories and sing songs.
Visit a lake or river and teach them to skip rocks: When my son was younger, he loved going to the lake and skipping rocks. I think he could skip them better than me and maybe that’s where he got his great throwing arm for baseball.
Pick some wildflowers and take them to an elderly neighbor: Take a walk together and pick some pretty wildflowers from the roadside. Stop and visit an elderly neighbor and brighten her day with a surprise flower bouquet.
Take a bike ride: Get the kids together and go for a family bike ride. Don’t forget the helmets and be sure to do a safety check before going out. My son once had a pedal fall completely off his bike as he was riding, causing him to fall off and break his wrist.
Set up a sprinkler on the lawn and get out the swim clothes: Can’t make it to the beach or don’t have a pool? Set up a lawn sprinkler and let the kids play in the water on a hot day. They’ll cool down, be much happier and get exercise at the same time.
Draw chalk pictures on the driveway or sidewalk: Your children will love to show off their artwork as they draw on the driveway or sidewalk with chalk.
Jump rope, play hopscotch, marbles and more: Remember the fun you had as a child jumping rope, playing hopscotch or shooting marbles? Let’s bring back some of these oldies but goodies and get our kids outside and moving and off their phones.
Start a collection: Get them involved in collecting things such as rocks, stamps, seashells, Hot Wheels cars, Pokemon cards, coins and more. They will be so excited every time they add to their collection.
Hopefully, this list has given you some ideas on how to get your kids off of their smartphones. I know for me and my son, it’s a constant battle over his phone. He’d probably be on it all day if he had his way. And it’s not just kids who have issues with cell phones. They can be addictive- I’ve found myself spending more time on mine than I should at times. Sometimes I wish cell phones were never invented. I’d love to go back to the good old days of finding a payphone when you needed to call home. Or, using a landline phone to actually speak to the other person. Many of today’s kids don’t even know how to have a normal conversation with someone. Much of what I see consists of “Sup”, “yep”, “ok”, or, it’s talk about a video game conquest or cheat codes. UGGHHH!
Better yet, get them involved in bird watching. There is so much to learn about nature and birds. Tell us in the comments how you keep your kids off their smartphones. As always, keep those bird feeders filled and Happy Birding! ~ Karen