The shining sun. The warmer weather. The longer days and frozen snacks. Alhamdullilah, the season most of us eagerly wait for, is upon us again. Summer means freedom, fun, and fresh air! It means no school and no homework! But, on the other hand, that also means that parents will have to find some way to entertain kids with high energy levels and almost nothing to do.
How can we ensure that they are busy, having fun, and still learning without relying too much on screens?
Taking them outdoors is a great way to keep them from bouncing off the walls, but sometimes it’s just not possible for parents to take kids out and oversee outdoor playtime all day, along with the daily workload most parents carry. In addition, other ideas such as amusement parks, museums, and other excursions can be costly and time-consuming.
We’ve compiled a list of activities for parents to engage their children in that involve minimal or no screen time, keep kids active, entertained, happy, and educational (but kids won’t know that!) Best of all, they are low cost so they won’t break the bank! (Some activities may need some adult assistance or supervision depending on the age.). These activities can be adapted for all ages.
1) Planned picnic – An indoor picnic lunch planned and hosted by the kids for the entire family. Put the kids in charge of the planning, organizing, cooking, and carrying out a picnic lunch plus clean up. The plus side to this activity is that parents will have one less meal to worry about! Make it a party picnic by inviting other families on Zoom to have their indoor picnic at the same time. Challenge the kids to be more creative than their friends/siblings when it comes to edible arrangements, decor, and clean-up.
Adult assistance may be needed depending on the age of the child(ren).
Educational/well-being gain: Math skills (measurement for cooking, money concepts for budgeting, etc.). Literacy skills (writing lists and organizing). Thinking skills (focus, flexibility, self-control, etc.)
2) Spa Day – With minimal preparation, you can turn your home into a relaxing spa! All you need is a room with dim light, a comfy bed, some warm oil (try coconut, olive, or canola, which are usually already available at home!), and some soothing azkaar to listen to. Massage has been proven to have many benefits for kids of all ages. See the link for more details. https://www.boomeranghealth.com/paediatric-massage-benefits-for-infants-and-children/
Alongside the massage area, you can set up a manicure/pedicure/facial station, depending on the interests of your children.
Afterward, soak in a tub of warm water with bubbles. No splashing here, though! Tell your children it is quiet, relaxation time.
Adult supervision is needed for young kids.
Educational/ well-being gain: relaxes child, improves sleep, improves muscle tone and blood circulation, stimulates brain development, and more.
Warning: This activity may actually make you leave your work and join your kids.
3) Virtual roller coaster– This activity uses screen time, but it is active screen time (children are not just passively watching but actively participating with the screen). Take a cardboard box or old laundry hamper and place it in front of the TV. Then, play roller coaster POV videos and enjoy a day at the amusement park, free of cost, without having to leave your home!
Adult supervision may be required for some children.
Educational/ well-being gain: stress reliever and fun!
4) Book/Quran/Dua Club – Start a club according to your child’s interests! They can decide when to hold meetings and the goals. Adult assistance may be needed. Educational/well-being gain: Reading/memorization/knowledge of Quran or whatever the club is based on. Leadership skills.
5) Scavenger Hunt – Indoor scavenger hunts can be done in so many ways. Use items around the house such as markers, toys, or books, etc. Older children may be able to set up for younger siblings. Educational/well-being gain: problem-solving, cooperation, and teamwork
6) Indoor Camping/build a fort -Bring out your pillows, blankets, and whatever other materials your kids can find to build their own fort or camping tent. This goes well with #12 (making s’mores). Adult assistance may or may not be needed depending on age. Educational/ well-being gain: STEM concepts, planning, problem-solving, and collaboration skills.
7) Bath Fun – Fill the tub with water, bubbles, and toys! To make it even more interesting, add household items such as spoons, containers, plastic bowls. Food coloring also guarantees fun and colorful time! Adult supervision is needed depending on age. Educational/ well-being gain: sensorimotor skills, physical fitness, and coordination.
8) Zoom Charades – Play charades through Zoom with friends! A benefit of this for parents is that minimal supervision is needed, and it is quiet! Educational/well-being gain: teamwork, thinking skills, communication skills.
9) Obstacle Course – Build an obstacle course that runs through your living room! Kids can go under tables, over sofas, and navigate through block towers. Adult supervision may be needed depending on age. Educational/ well-being gain: physical activity, motor skills, sensory processing, coordination.
10) Make a kite – Use materials inside your home to make a kite that can fly! Please test it out outdoors. Adult assistance may be needed for some parts depending on age. Educational/well-being gain: creativity, using everyday items to create something new
11) Photo of the Day Book – Take or draw a pic of every day of summer and, in the end, make a memory book compilation. Adult assistance may or may not be needed. Educational/well-being gain: creativity and memory-making
12) Make S’mores – Print a recipe for making s’mores and allow your children to follow the recipe to make this tasty summer treat! Adult assistance and supervision may be required depending on age. Educational/well-being gain: Reading, measurement, following directions, and practical life skills
13) Decorate old T-shirts -Use paint, markers, puffy paint, watercolors, food coloring, really anything you have. Let them make a mess and have fun decorating T-shirts you wouldn’t mind getting rid of. See what they come up with.
Adult assistance with younger kids needed.
Educational/well-being gain: creative art skills
14) Make Oobleck -Making Oobleck is a great activity for kids of all ages! They will learn how pressure can change the properties of some objects. Oobleck isn’t liquid or solid! Mix 2 cups of cornstarch to 1 cup of water into a bowl. Mix the cornstarch and water until your oobleck is formed. If you would like to make it a certain color, add food coloring to the water before mixing. Once it’s made, move quickly with your hand or a spoon to make it hard or slowly to make it liquid, like water! Adult supervision may be needed depending on age. Educational/well-being gain: sensory play, science concepts, fine motor skills, and hand muscle use.
15) Make ice chalk – You can use normal household items to make this super cool ice chalk! https://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/05/play-recipe-ice-chalk.html?m=1
Adult assistance may be needed depending on age. Educational/well-being gain: science concepts, sensory play, fine motor skills use
16) Board games – Have a board game day! This may also be played through Zoom with friends! Adult supervision may or may not be needed according to age. Educational/well-being gain: strengthens relationships, teaches patience, goal setting, taking turns, winning or losing gracefully, increases brain function
17) Learn a language – Have the kids pick a language and search words and household items in that language. Have them go around and label the items to learn new words in a new language! For example, when learning Urdu, label a chair as “kursi.” Adult assistance may not be required. Educational/well-being gain: improved memory and verbal abilities
18) Extract DNA from strawberries – Most of these things you’ll have around your house! See how here: https://thehomeschoolscientist.com/extracting-dna-from-strawberries-experiment/
Adult assistance may be needed. Educational/well-being gain: science, biology, and exploration
19) Set up an indoor laser maze –
All you need is a long string. Tie in different places at different heights and have your children try to get through without being touched. If they touch the string, they must begin again. Adult supervision may be needed depending on age. Educational/well-being gain:
Fine and gross motor use
Logical thinking skills
20) Make a rainbow jar or tornado jar – https://www.playdoughtoplato.com/rainbow-jar/
Read books related to weather (tornadoes and rainbows to see why they occur). Adult assistance may be needed. Educational/well-being gain: science concepts, reading, art, and fun!
21) Indoor bowling -Create an indoor bowling alley using only recycling items found in your home!
Adult assistance may be needed in finding and shaping items. Educational/ well-being gain:
Fine and gross motor use
Logical thinking skills
I hope you and your kids enjoy these indoor activities during the summer! Also, whenever you do get a chance, make sure to step outside and soak in the summer weather! Have a fun-filled summer!
Nazia Hakim | Principal