Are you looking for summer activities children can get their teeth into? Here’s our list of projects to keep them gainfully occupied.
Watch an animation like Morph or Shaun the Sheep for inspiration. Make up stories from scratch, re-tell stories from books or films, or create animations to match poems. Ideas could be storyboarded first. Make characters from clay, playdough, Lego or any small world toys. When the animation is complete hold a film premiere with dim lights and popcorn.
Download a stop motion animation app and off you go!
Help your child to turn their passion into a business.
- Bake cakes or sweets.
- Make hand-designed t-shirts, candles, jewellery, lemonade, or soap.
- Knit, crochet or sew crafts/toys.
- Create works of art – framed paintings, clay models, cross-stitched pictures etc.
- Write stories (which they can self-publish and sell).
Think of a service to offer such as babysitting, dusting or washing cars.
Entrepreneur Europe explains how to help your child to take their business from idea to market. In doing so they develop skills for life: communication, organization, money management, and problem-solving.
Grow your own butterflies with an Insect Lore kit. Keep a butterfly diary by photographing/drawing each stage of development and writing captions.
Read books about the butterfly lifecycle such as Eric Carle’s The Hungry Caterpillar and A Butterfly’s Lifecycle by Mary Dunn. Make butterfly crafts.
Alternatively, find other live bug kits on the Insect Lore website.
Together research your family tree. Talk to your child about your own childhood and show and discuss photographs. Ask grandparents and other family members questions too.
Sketch out your family tree as you know it. Research missing ancestors and/or decide which branch of the tree to explore further. Focus on the life story of a particular individual who has piqued your child’s curiosity.
The Devon Family History Society: Acorn Club website is available to all and will get you started. It features practical advice and links to research websites.
Plant herb seeds in empty yogurt pots using compost rather than garden soil. Choose herbs that can be used in salads or regular family recipes. Place the potted seeds in a light place indoors and encourage children to keep the soil damp.
Planting a herb garden engages children’s senses and gets them interested in gardening, cooking and healthy eating. For recipe ideas see 26 recipes to get the most out of your herb garden.
Attract bees, butterflies, ladybirds, spiders and all sorts of insects to your garden by building an insect hotel. Type ‘bug hotel’ into Google Images for inspiration.
You will need wooden shipping pallets (you decide how many), hollow stems (eg. bamboo), pinecones, rocks, soil, sticks, and straw. Stack pallets on top of each other and stuff pallet openings with the other materials.
Use a magnifying glass to observe the features and behaviour of these creatures, and find relevant books in the library to learn more.
Get your child designing, writing and stretching their imagination by creating a newspaper. The content might include:
- Comic strip
- Craft idea
- Interview with a friend or family member
- News (invented news, or something that’s topical locally or nationally)
- Problem page
- Puzzle (crossword, maze, wordsearch)
Newspapers can be hand-made or designed from online templates.
Go out for the day and encourage your child to photograph anything that sparks their interest (strange shaped trees, beautiful plants, animal antics, interesting buildings or objects, people’s expressions etc). Take simple snap shots or experiment with photographic effects by zooming in and out and taking photographs from different angles.
Back at home, choose favourite photographs and make a physical album. Write captions to give photographs meaning in future.
Sewing, knitting and crocheting
Sew toys, bags, clothes, cushions – anything! Use a kit brought from a haberdashery or follow a free, online pattern. Fabric doesn’t have to be expensive. Recycle old clothes or curtains from charity shops or markets.
Knitting and crocheting are relaxing, rewarding hobbies. If you don’t have the skills then you can learn with your child. Type ‘learn to knit’ or ‘learn to crochet’ into YouTube for instructional videos.
Pick a country and find out about it using a child-friendly search engine.
- What is the environment like?
- What food do people eat?
- What do they wear?
- What traditions do they have?
- Is there a traditional dance?
Follow up with some activities:
- Write a weather report.
- Cook food from your chosen country and have a feast.
- Search Pinterest.co.uk for craft activities linked to that country’s traditions.
- Under supervision, search YouTube for traditional dances and learn some moves.
World adventure develops children’s geographical knowledge and fosters respect for other cultures. It’s the perfect summer project for children who might be dreaming of holidays and exotic, faraway places.
More summer activities to keep your children busy: