Boredom Busters! 30+ Easy Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy This Summer

These fun activities keep them entertained and learning all season — without breaking the bank.
By Monique Melendez
Jun 07, 2019

Ages

4-13

fun summer activities for kids
ISTOCK.COM

Jun 07, 2019

Summer break: It’s the time for barbecues, picnics, camping trips, baseball games, and family vacations. But even with all of those fun activities, it's still easy to end up with bored and fidgety kids on long car rides and flights, rainy afternoons, and lazy summer days.

Because none of us want to hear “Mom, I’m so bored!” in five-minute intervals, here are savvy tips to keep your restless kids entertained this summer, all while giving them new skills and knowledge. 

Get Crafty with Hands-On Activities!

If you have a kid who gets bored easily, look for hands-on projects that your child can do independently. That's important because if he feels frustrated or constantly needs to ask you for help, it’ll be stressful for both of you — and if it’s not tactile, he’ll lose interest quickly.

You could put together your own art project, but to save yourself the trouble of planning and supply-gathering, try all-in-one Klutz activity kits. They come with pre-packed supplies, plus an easy-to-read instruction book that teaches kids things you don’t have time to Google (like the mechanics of chain reactions). As a bonus, the activities usually result in toys or crafts that can be enjoyed for days afterwards.

Klutz kits make it easy to encourage kids to paint rocks, sew adorable felt mini treats, or build STEAM skills by making colorful bath bombs, cool LEGO catapults, or a glowing LED creation. The playful possibilities are endless!

Skill-Building Activity Kits That Kids Love

Stock Up on Bargain Activities

You know how you buy extra pairs of cheap sunglasses, just so you can have shades on hand when you lose a pair? Do the same with inexpensive activities over the summer, and you’ll never find yourself in a pinch.

These bargain activities keep kids happy, busy, and learning, so there’ll always be something fun to do on a humdrum summer day. Kids can observe real fossils with the Dinosaur Bites kit, learn about earth science with the Rock Stars Kit, become a budding artist with the Pokémon: How to Draw book, or let their imagination run wild in the LEGO Star Wars: Doodle Activity Book, all for a wallet-friendly price. It's a win-win for everyone. 

 

Keep These Activities Under $10 on Hand

Don’t Underestimate Coloring Books

How many screen-free things have you seen grab a child’s attention like a coloring book and a pack of colored pencils? It can be easy to brush off the tried-and-true coloring book, but there’s something so soothing about focusing attention on this simple, creative activity — even we adults can relate. Plus, when your kid is coloring, she’s unknowingly building fine motor skills and spatial reasoning (in fact, a lot is happening cognitively when your child colors).

The key is to find a coloring book that covers a topic your child is into right now to keep her engaged. How can she see what she’s doing this summer reflected in a coloring book? Maybe it’s a coloring book that shows a scene at the beach like the one your family goes to, or one that reviews the letters she’s learning in daycare. The coloring books below are great for road trips or airplane rides, because they keep kids glued to the pages when they need to be glued to their seats.

Upgrade Their Coloring Books!

Sneak in Extra Learning With Activity Books and Reading Sets

Maybe you’ve heard about the summer slide (the loss of academic skills over the summer) and are trying your best to help your little one avoid it. Or maybe he could just use some review in certain skills, like writing. Either way, activity books and early reader book sets serve up entertaining puzzles, word searches, games, and stories to keep skills sharp all summer long.

Look for activities that combine games and “just-for-fun” activities with learning practice, or early reader sets with fun themes and motivation like reward charts, so it doesn’t feel like homework. For instance, if you have a little one starting elementary school in the fall, the Jumbo Book of Kindergarten Fun makes preparing for it easy and entertaining with educational games like mazes. Meanwhile, the Reading and Math Jumbo Workbooks are great for helping kids from preschool to fourth grade practice a wide range of important skills, and beginner reader boxes like the Scholastic Early Learners: Animal Antics set a giggle-worthy scene for boosting reading comprehension.

We like all of the picks below because they pack learning under the guise of fun — something any mom can appreciate.

Teach Them New Skills With These Books

Spin Off of a Series They Love, Like Harry Potter

Accio fun! Your kid is already obsessed with all things magic and Harry Potter, and there are some pretty neat ways to lean into that with activities, beyond watching the movies for the 12th time. After all, getting the most out of a character or story your child already loves is way easier than getting her hooked on something new (she’s already into it, so the “engagement” part is built in).

These enchanting Harry Potter activities offer great learning opportunities, but don’t cloak the fun. You might even pair them with the TV time your kid wants: Put on a Harry Potter movie, and then follow up with one of these activities to continue the magic off-screen.

 

Activities Fit for Wizards and Witches

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