Summertime offers you a great opportunity to reconnect with your kiddos. For many parents, it also presents a challenge when it comes to finding activities. After the first couple weeks, your reserves for fresh ideas that’ll keep your kids occupied starts to dry up. You don’t want to just plop them down in front of the electric babysitter—your television—for hours on end, but sometimes you just need a break. What to do?
Well, we have a couple ideas that you can easily download and print out from the comfort of your home. From classic games to stimulating brain teasing puzzles, here are some of our favorite ways to keep your kids happy when the summer heat rolls in:
Coloring book. A surefire way to keep the kids occupied for a while is to give them something to color. Whether they’re just old enough to scribble out massive swatches of Abstract Impressionistic color or ready to meticulously color between the lines, coloring is a great mess-free way to spend an afternoon. Crayola.com, Disney.com, and SesameStreet.org have delightful printable pages sure to excite the little ones.
What else do you need? Crayons, color pencils, markers. You can always throw glue and glitter into the mix too.
Printable mazes. For a puzzle you can bring anywhere with you, mazes are a great summertime delight. Bring them to the park with you and relax in the shade during the hot part of the day.
What else do you need? Crayons, pencils, a pen, or just a finger.
Paper dolls. Popularized in the 18th century, paper dolls are a fun way to give a boost to your child’s imagination. Kids can enjoy cutting out their models and then expanding on their wardrobe for hours of playtime fun. Your paper dolls can also be easily re-enforced by gluing stronger cardstock on the backside of each, making them stand up better (and last longer).
What else do you need? Scissors, color pencils, markers, imagination!
Crosswords. Just because school is out doesn’t stop your child’s budding curiosity. Crosswords are a great way to build their vocabulary and help them learn new things about the world. Crosswords are also good for introducing new concepts to children, allowing them to work through them as part of a game and develop their knowledge.
What else do you need? Pen or pencil.
Word search. For the younger kids, word search puzzles are a great way to familiarize your child with reading and help strengthen their vocabulary for a range of subjects. They’re also quite fun for adults too!
What else do you need? Pen or pencil.
Sudoku for kids. Sudoku puzzles aren’t just for grownups! Another great way to keep your kids mind moving during the long summer months between classes. Studies have shown that Sudoku puzzles work like exercise for the mind, flexing your memory skills and increasing concentration while giving the brain little rewards each time a tough puzzle is solved (boosting your happiness).
What else do you need? Pencils, pens
Bingo. Sing it with me now: B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O! For a quick and easy printable game that’s good for hours of fun, you can’t go wrong with bingo. Ideal for keeping several kids engaged at once, you can either stick with traditional numbers-oriented bingo or write up your own games using everything from barnyard animals to Disney characters (and an infinite number of other options). You can use coins as place markers or cut out your own custom pieces from paper as well.
What else do you need? Scissors to cut out pieces (optional).
I spy scavenger hunt. I spy games are popular for teachers and parents alike, because they make a fun game out of boosting young children’s recognition abilities. I spy scavenger hunts come in varying degrees of difficulty designed for different age groups.
What else do you need? Nothin’!
Play date cards. This one is more for you, parents. Play date cards are a charming way to invite your child’s friends over for an afternoon of adventure (all while keeping their parents up to date!) They also help you keep organized for more formal play date events by establishing RSVPs, which can give you an idea of how much pizza to get . . . and printable games to print!
What else do you need? Using a nice, heavy stock of paper is good, but optional.
When the summertime blues come around, relying on your printer to add a little adventure and uniqueness to your day can be a lifesaver. Thanks to the marvelous array of creative minds who love to share their work online, you have an incredible resource for fun sitting right at your fingertips. All you need to do is hit print and you’re on your way!