Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Indoor and Outdoor Activities with the Kids

Written by, Bernadyn Nettles

Summer Activities With the Kids


Now that summer is officially here, the warm or should I say, hot weather (especially here in Florida), will be taking over and that means more summer fun with the children.   Since the kids are home during the summer break, many of us parents need ideas to keep them busy and just to enjoy the time with them before the chaotic schedule of school begins in the fall.


Outdoor Summer Activities

I know that here in Jacksonville, we have plenty of things to do that are free or inexpensive that are family-friendly.  Here are some easy, no-brainer activities to do with the kids that your local town may have to offer, too...



Parks are always a good idea for kids and an easy way to enjoy the outdoors.  Take your kids to a park for a picnic and some play time.  It's a great way for them to get outside, exercise, see nature and you can always bring other activities with you, including, sports balls, sports equipment, bubbles and other outdoor games.  

Beach and Pool 

Summer is the time to hang out at the beach or lounge by the pool.  For kids, of course, getting in the water is the best part.  Don't forget floats, swimming vests, goggles, pool noodles, pool toys, beach balls, bubbles and sunscreen. If you don't have a pool to use at home, there should be pool facilities in your city.  


Summer movies


Many cities offer summer kid club movies that show family-friendly movies during the weekdays, usually in the morning.  Check your local theaters if they participate.  They are usually a dollar to get in per person.  Here in Jacksonville, Cinemark Tinseltown shows theirs during Tuesdays and Thursdays and Regal Cinemas have summer kid movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  There is also Sun-Ray Cinema in the Riverside area of Jacksonville.  They are showing family-friendly movies )on Wednesdays and Saturdays for $5 per ticket), for the summer, as well.  St.Augustine, FL has their Night Owl Cinema Series which shows free family-friendly movies.  Don't forget to check your local libraries as many of them offer free summer movies, too.

Summer Camps 

Many summer camps are available for children of different ages.  If you're in Jacksonville, see for a list of camps. 

Summer Events


Summer is a time when towns hold summer events like concerts, outside movies, beach openings, festivals, etc.  See your town's city website and newspapers to check for events.  

4th of July

Since this holiday is during the summer, there are plenty of celebrations going on to honor it.  There will be parades and fireworks shows.  In Jacksonville, we have our annual fireworks show at the Jacksonville Landing and there will also be a Summer of Lights Fireworks show in August.  See more here.



Zoo and Museums

Visit zoo and museums with your family.  During summer, many of these places offer special discounts on certain days.  In Jacksonville, we have the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardnes, Museum of Science and History (MOSH), Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, which has a children's art gallery and play/educational area, The Jacksonville Fire Museum which is always free.



Don't let the kids lose their grasp on reading and writing during the summer.  Our kids signed up for their own library cards this summer and we go once a week to the library to check out new book and DVDs.  Most libraries have a summer reading program, which our kids are participating in.  It motivates them to read more since they earn prizes but just knowing they are part of something encourages them to read and fosters a love for reading at a young age.  They like the idea of owning their own card with their names on it!  They can also rent CDs and participate in story time and other activities that libraries usually offer throughout the week.  

Chuck E. Cheese, Adventure Landing, Mini Golf, Play Areas, Etc.

Look for places like these that are family-friendly to enjoy with your kids a few times this summer.   Many shopping malls or books stores have a children's play area.  Our kids love them and it lets us get a little time to ourselves while we sit there and watch them play.  I even write up posts and articles while watching them!  Bring your book, tablet, phone or laptop - most malls and book stores have WIFI connection.

Go outside!

Even if you aren't planning a big trip, just going outside in your front or back yard to play and enjoy the outdoors is something fun to do with the kids.  We started a garden this summer and the kids love helping out and knowing their plants are growing with their TLC.  Write/draw with chalk on the concrete, blow bubbles, throw a ball around, ride a bike, play tag, hide and seek and have a relay race.  You can have lunch or breakfast outside, make s'mores around the fire pit or have a cookout for dinner. Lay out a blanket in the grass and star gaze.  Have a camp out in your backyard.

 Indoor Summer Activities


It's hurricane season here, too, so we will be having plenty of rainy days.  That means we need plans for indoor activities, as well.  Here are a few fun ones that we enjoy doing and want to try this summer...

Have a tea party

My little girl loves playing with her tea set and dolls.  We lay out a picnic blanket and sometimes, have a (real) picnic with it or we bake some cookies or treats first, then enjoy them while sipping on "tea" (usually water).

Play Games

Right now, hide and seek is my children's favorite game to play with us.  They also enjoy playing Board and card games.  We're collecting more board games because we make sure that the kids only watch a couple hours of TV a day.  The games are fun and helps them develop different skills including following instructions, critical thinking, good sportsmanship and patience!  They like to play Memory, Connect 4, Angry Birds board game, Sorry, Trouble and Go Fish.  You can even get creative and create your own board or card games!

Story time and story-telling 


Read to the kids and let them read to you or make up their own stories.  Get picture books with no words at all so the kids can think up a story to go along with the pictures.  I listed some picture books you may like below through Amazon.

Arts, Crafts, DIY projects and baking/cooking 

All fun things to do with kids when you're stuck indoors.  Turn on the music and have a little party!

Some other fun ideas are to set up tents and forts, camp indoors!
For more fun ideas  indoors, see my article here.  

Spend Quality Family Time Together


Summer break flies by quick so it's important to just spend some quality time together.  Eat dinner together, read, watch movies and play together.  It doesn't have to be anything extravagant.  Make some fun projects together.  Visit somewhere new even if it's just to grab a quick bite to eat or scoop up a sweet treat. 

Above all, stay safe and remember to watch your kids at all times!  Read more tips on safety for your kids to prevent losing them this summer.

What are your summer plans with the kids this summer?  What do they like to do indoors and outdoors?

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