School’s Out for SUMMER! How to Keep Kids Busy

5 ways to keep kids busy when school's out

School’s out! What do you do to keep kids busy? At Little Sprouts that means some of my little kids leave for the summer and my school-age kids are here every day. Obviously, it takes a different finesse to teach and entertain a 10 or 11-year-old than it does a 2-year-old, right?

How to keep kids busy when school’s out

Over the years of keeping older kids in the summer, I have tried every different strategy I could think of. But I always know the number one thing I have to do is my golden rule for child care of any age child. Keep them busy or they will keep you busy, and I don’t mean good busy.

Basically, you can give the kids something to do, or they will find mischief to get into, hard and fast rule of nature like the law of gravity. It’s going to happen. Now after 19+ years in childcare, I have not had one single day go by where a problem of some sort didn’t arise.

That’s life, into each day some rain must fall, right? The kids are here for 10 hours a day, that’s a lot of time to fill. But here are a few tried and true things that we do here that help us!

Make sure to spend plenty of time outside, click here for some great reasons to spend time outdoors with kids. 

Any post on this blog may contain affiliate links which pay me a very small commission for items you purchase using the links but costs you nothing extra. I can help defray a small percentage of the cost of producing the blog to share information with you.


School's Out for SUMMER! How to Keep Kids Busy

Keeping kids busy-summer programs

I see all of these summer activities for kids, so I decided to make up some of my own. My husband is a personal fitness trainer and on Mondays he goes into work at noon, so we have physical education class every Monday morning. He teaches the kids sports techniques for football, basketball, soccer, and baseball.

They think it’s fun. At the end of summer, we give out awards. We also made up our own summer reading program. The library had one, so we made our own and we have incentives for the big kids to help the little kids reach their goals by reading to them.

It improves their reading skills, gives them confidence and teaches their younger counterparts. It’s a win-win. We give awards for that as well. Last year I had a couple of boys who were interested in outdoor survival techniques so we did a 10-week survivalism training program. I don’t have any expertise in that, so I bought some books. Then I divided up the info into 10 segments and every week I taught the kids how to do something to improve their safety.

For DHS regulation purposes I skipped teaching them to use knives and make fire, but we all learned a lot. At the end of the summer, I had them bring old backpacks from home and I filled them with ponchos, flashlights, whistles and other things for surviving in the wilderness. You could do your own vacation Bible school, movie club, scout camp, or art camp. There is plenty of information available to help you teach the kids yourself, and you will have a great summer!

Keeping kids busy-Visitors that Teach the Kids

You can invite people to your home to do activities with the kids such as library story time. A police car, a fire truck, or an ambulance could be brought. Someone could bring an animal to teach the kids about. The OSU extension, health department, and Cherokee Nation has programs in my area they can bring such as healthy eating, dental hygiene, exercise, Cherokee traditions, etc. We have had many special visitors here and the kids love it!

How to keep kids busy when school's out



How to Keep Kids Busy-Gardening

Obviously, our gardening takes up a lot of our time in the summer, so that helps a lot. Even when we are not “gardening” as a group, the kids like to explore and look around the garden. They might want to look for bugs, measure the tiny fruits on a plant, or even use a camera to do some photography. Some kids just like to sit in the garden and think because it’s so peaceful.

Check out this great list of ideas for things to do for cheap or free this summer!
We always have a loose structure for the activities of the day. This year we have PE on Mondays, gardening on Tuesdays, art on Wednesdays, science on Thursdays, and games on Fridays. We plan water parties on a few days. The kids wear their bathing suits and run through the sprinkler or slide down a “water” slide we make with the hose.

 

How to Keep Kids Busy-Special Party Days

We also have other special events such as show and tell, art parties, or pajama days where they can bring sleeping bags or pillows and have an all-day “sleepover” atmosphere. We do a lot of cooking as well. Kids LOVE to cook! Another great idea is to let the kids plan an open house of some kind for their parents.

They spend a lot of time preparing and they get so excited. We are having a garden open house this summer. The kids LOVED having it last summer and were so excited when their parents came to see what they had done!

School's Out for SUMMER! How to Keep Kids Busy

At the end of school or the beginning of summer, I always ask the older kids for ideas of things they are interested in doing and I try to plan how we could do them. This year we are trying an idea I have used before where the kids pick activities, and I write them on calendar squares so we get all their ideas in.

How to Keep Kids Busy-Letting kids teach

My oldest wants to teach the younger kids the activities we chose, so he is going to. It makes the summer more exciting for him and the little kids love it too. Let your older kids take the lead on some of your summer plans, they are more interested in it if they are invested in it. Plan a lot and then be flexible with how your plans turn out. If you’ve been working with kids for any time at all, you KNOW that nothing ever turns out exactly as you planned it. But that’s okay! Happy Summer Ya’ll!

How to keep kids busy when school's out

Don’t forget to pin for later!

5 ways to keep kids busy when school's out

EGYPTIAN WALKING ONIONS: Did you know there was a kind of onion that grows in spring, summer and fall? Did you know there was an onion you could plant once and never have to plant again? Egyptian walking onions will continue to grow themselves year after year in your vegetable garden

How to Grow Egyptian Walking Onions in Your Garden

Did you know there was a kind of onion that ...
Read More
Fairy gardens are all the rage these days and I can see why. Who doesn’t love miniature everything? So cute! There are so many cool ways to make a fairy garden and they are a great tool for teaching kids. We have ours set up like a dollhouse where kids can move the toys around in it and play together.

Fairy Garden Ideas for Kids

Fairy gardens are all the rage these days and I ...
Read More
Cooking with kids teaches them so many skills that will give them a better future. Jump in the kitchen with your kids and make some awesome memories with them. They will cherish them for the rest of their lives. There are so many benefits of cooking with kids.

10 Benefits of Cooking with Kids

Cooking with kids teaches them so many skills that will ...
Read More
Summer is a fun time for preschool. There is so much to celebrate and learn about. You can do bugs, gardening, beach, and so many more fun ideas. Crafts, learning activities, fine motor, gross motor, science, math, art, music, sensory play and more. Here is a list of summer theme ideas for preschool.

Summer Theme Ideas for Preschool

Summer is a fun time for preschool. There is so ...
Read More

6 comments

  1. Lesli says:

    Very good information. Lucky me I came across your website by accident (stumbleupon).

    I’ve book marked it for later!

  2. F. Thayer says:

    you are amazing !!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.