Thursday, May 11, 2017 12:03 am
A project a day keeps the boredom at bay
46 ideas for summer fun
Camp, road trips and family visits do a great job of keeping everyone engaged throughout summer. But what about those lazy days when nothing is planned? Every parent wants to enjoy kicking back when school is out, but too much lollygagging can lead to listlessness and squabbling.
Staying engaged this summer does not have to mean overspending. Galvanize attention by keeping a fun list of summer projects that can be done with scant money and planning. Many of these projects encourage upcycling household items or picking up a few inexpensive items at the dollar store or resale market.
Consider any projects that may interest your children, and print out instructions you find online. Then pull all your summer projects into a folder, make a list of supplies and pick them up to have on hand. Once the first chorus of “I’m bored” begins, you’ll be ready to dive into plenty of hands-on summer fun ideas.
- Plant vegetable garden starts that everyone will enjoy eating.
- Sign up for a faraway pen pal and write weekly letters.
- Grab binoculars, a guidebook and a notepad and take a bird watch walk.
- Bake homemade granola for energizing yet economical breakfasts.
- Plant a flower-cutting garden from annual seeds for future bouquets.
- Make sock puppets and construct a theater for performing with them.
- Create bedroom window banners with craft supplies you have on hand.
- Pack a picnic, a blanket and some outdoor toys to take to a new park.
- Purchase an oversized bag of birdseed to make fresh bird treats all summer long.
- Pull some ho-hum wooden furniture outside and give it a colorful makeover.
- Mix up a batch of strawberry shortcake biscuits and serve with homemade whipped cream.
- Plant sunflowers in cups on a windowsill and then transfer them outdoors once they have sprouted.
- Build butterfly ponds to attract winged friends into safe spaces.
- Start a homemade instrument band.
- Court hummingbirds with feeders filled with homemade syrup.
- Paint colorful garden rocks and encircle the house with them.
- Create grab-and-go tote bags with engaging activities for each family member.
- Gather items that signify your era and bury them in a time capsule.
- Melt old crayons into rainbow crayons using muffin tins.
- Make a watch-me-grow-up slideshow and send it to faraway relatives.
- Gather seashells from old beach trips and embellish thrift store frames and mirrors.
- Plan, price and construct a tree house or outdoor fort.
- Have pets pose for photos you can use to paint watercolor portraits.
- Construct a composter for turning grass, leaves, kitchen scraps and twigs into potent fertilizer.
- Have a paper airplane making and flying competition.
- Camp out overnight in the yard.
- Recycle whimsical items into a fairy garden in a shady spot.
- Put on an outdoor play – original or adapted.
- Make a simple lemonade stand with tables, signs and everything for sale made from scratch.
- Spend the day learning to juggle.
- Lay on blankets in the yard and read books of poetry from the library out loud.
- Make muffins or coffee cake with fresh blueberries and share some with an elderly neighbor.
- Plan a hydrated hike destination you can reach from home, then rest, then back.
- Paint words, names or destinations on scraps of wood and make them into signposts around the yard.
- Have a good old-fashioned water balloon fight with the whole family.
- Make a role model collage with images and words and then share what you admire aloud.
- Research, practice and put on a magic show complete with hats and capes.
- Create a family nature journal that includes pressed samples and photos you can add to all summer.
- Ask neighbors for empty water and wine bottles in a variety of colors and transform a post into a bottle tree.
- Grab a couple ladders, pool noodles and folding lawn chairs and construct an over-under obstacle course.
- Research couple or group dances and have after-dinner practices.
- Make a family patchwork quilt by giving each family member a certain number of squares to finish by the end of summer.
- Make homemade pizzas from scratch with your fresh veggies and herbs.
- Practice all day for a family talent night.
- Make mosaic stepping stones customized to each family member.
- Brainstorm holiday teacher and coach gift ideas, then make non-perishable items.
Author, journalist and writing coach Christina Katz remembers summer as a time when lazy days inspired imagination, creativity and bliss, in the days long before cellphones.