If you have kids, you’ve probably spent the last few weeks enduring cries of  “I’m bored!” as your children struggle to entertain themselves over the summer. Summer means freedom for kids, but if also means filling a lot of time, especially if their parents are busy with work and household responsibilities. Here are some ideas to keep kids occupied until school starts back up again in September:

 

Day camps

Day camps have come a long way since most of today’s parents were kids. Whether your little ones are into sports, art, cooking, or tech, there’s bound to be a camp they’ll find appealing. Many of the most popular camps fill up six months before summer even starts, but if you search, you can usually find something at the last minute for bored kids. And they don’t have to be all day — many camps do half days for families who don’t need a full day’s child care.

Summer reading

Give your kids a summer reading challenge — depending on their age and reading level, set a reading goal over the summer. Be sure to hit the library to pick up your books to save money and give kids your kids to read as much as they want to.

 

Outdoor chores

Money can be a big motivator over the summer and paying your kids a few dollars to mow the lawn, pull weeds in the garden, or wash the car will keep them busy while also keeping your yard in shape. If they’re feeling industrious, kids may offer to help out the neighbours as well.

 

DIY cooking school

Bigger kids can spend some summer time in the kitchen — if they’re old enough to use the oven or knives they can teach themselves to bake or even make simple dinners. Supply them with some easy-to-follow recipe books and give them the independence to do it themselves (with some casual supervision if necessary). At the end of the summer they may even want to throw a dinner party for friends.

Learn some new games

Dig out a few board games and a deck of cards and teach the kids how to play. Set up a picnic blanket in the backyard under some shade where the kids can play games throughout the summer.

 

Make some friends

It’s less common these days than it was 20 years ago for kids to know everyone on their block. If you haven’t already, introduce yourself to some neighbours with similarly aged children so that they have easily accessible playmates all summer.

 

Art projects

Buy some inexpensive paints and canvases and let your kids spend a chunk of their summer working on art projects. Give them specific projects to work on or just let them channel their creativity — they’ll keep busy and you’ll be left with some keepsakes (or gifts for the grandparents).

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