Screens aren’t the enemy. Excessive screen time is. One of the harder parts of summer for many parents is keeping the kids occupied all day long, all week and all weekend. We’re used to the kids being in school during the week and when they’re suddenly home seven days, not two we have to get creative, or we run the risk of them permanently connecting with the couch, remote in hand, until August. The reality is, most kids don’t want to watch TV all summer. Watching some is fun but too much gets boring and in some cases, can cause behavioral issues. So how do you keep them occupied and away from the TV in excess? You can have a screen-free summer if you plan.
Stock up on art supplies
What art or craft activities do your kids enjoy? Are they into painting, coloring, building with clay? Whatever it is they enjoy, stock up on some new art supplies in preparation for summer. Get a big roll of art paper at Lakeshore Learning or IKEA and let them go crazy. Unroll that paper down the hall or all across the playroom and get out a new big box of crayons, markers, or colored pencils and start drawing. Join the kids and play with them.
Check out Pinterest for art or craft ideas for kids of all ages. There are so many ideas there! Create 4th of July fireworks pictures with handprints or fingerprints. Have them draw pictures of what they’re most excited to do on vacation.
Bake something fun together
Kids love to help in the kitchen when given the opportunity. Have them help make a fun dessert for a summer picnic, pool party, bbq, or just because it seems like a fun thing to do. A super easy, fun, colorful cake the kids can help with is an old-school Jell-O cake. Bake a white cake (a box mix is just fine) according to the directions. When it’s done, remove it from the oven and poke holes in it with a small dowel or fork. Mix the Jell-O and pour the hot Jell-O on top of the cake, the color will soak in and create a new marble-like effect. You can top it with whipped cream, cool whip, whatever you want. The kids will enjoy it because it can be a fun, colorful cake and it’s easy enough for them to make it on their own as they get a bit older. For our favorite cooking and baking tools for little ones, check out this post.
Create your backyard water park
Get out your water toys, buy a small inflatable pool or a slip and slide if you don’t have one, run in the sprinkler, play with water guns, fill water balloons, you know how to set this up. Think back to your childhood, what was fun to do. We didn’t have all the screens that kids do today. Many of us grew up playing outside all summer long. You could run and play with friends until the street lights came on. What did you do? How did you fill those days? Get some of the water toys you loved as a kid and introduce them to your kids.
Explore the City
Visit the kids’ museum, go to the botanical garden, visit the zoo, go to a paint your pottery shop, go bowling, go to the trampoline park, visit a bounce house. There are so many places you can go and explore. If you’re not sure where to take the kids, think about the places you’ve taken them to birthday parties, or they’ve gone on field trips, these are often places they’d enjoy going back to another time. Expose them to the arts. Take the family to see a children’s theatre production. Go to the symphony. Get out and explore Houston and enjoy the arts here.
You can have a screen-free summer your kids will enjoy and remember. When the weather is beautiful, get out of the house and enjoy some time outside. When it’s really hot and humid, look for indoor venues. You don’t have to resort to movies or hear the kids say, “I’m bored” all summer long. Start planning now, buy a few new indoor and outdoor toys if you need, and enjoy a screen-free summer together.