As Summer approaches, we’re all about to have a bunch of kids with nothing to do! So rather than simply allowing them to plant their faces in a screen and lay around in their jammies all day (like my own kids would prefer to do), we discussed some ways to engage the children and youth more over the Summer break.

Some of these activities can be done solo in your own home, and others could be done together as a group.

Fortunately for us at St. Edward’s, we have the swimming pool, and plenty of great nature to experience nearby. So we’ll be pulling some of these things together in order to have some fun group events that we can all participate in. But feel free to try some of this just among your family too. And if you have any other cool ideas, then please drop them in the comments section at the end of the post!

Outdoor Activities

  • Plant some flowers for a butterfly and hummingbird garden – Not only is getting outside and doing some gardening fun, but it also has a built-in ongoing care kind of activity. Plus, once the butterflies and hummingbirds start coming around, it gets super exciting!
  • Build a bird house – This is another great way to get into nature. We have a birdhouse in our backyard that gets Eastern Bluebirds nesting in it and having baby birds every Spring.
  • Make a fairy garden – Gather sticks, tree bark, moss, and other natural elements to create a magical fairy garden. They can be super fun, quirky, and beautiful. And they are a great compliment to that butterfly and hummingbird garden!
  • Go on a nature walk – In our area, we’re talking about going for some walks around Lake May Reserve. However, walks like this can be done anywhere. We’ll plan some times to get together as a group from the church to go on a few hikes like this, but these are great alone with your own family too.
  • Go to the beach – Take the family, and even grab some friends. And don’t forget the sunscreen!
  • Plan a pool party – Usually a little easier than a beach trip, but playing in the water is always fun, especially with more friends along.
  • Water kickball – Use a big beach ball for the kickball, kiddy pools for the bases, with slip-n-slides leading up to each base. Particularly fun if you can coordinate it along with a pool party.
  • 4th of July party – Get some friends together for a cookout, pool party, and to watch some fireworks.

Indoor Activities

  • Movie nights – Get the popcorn and candy going, and gather everyone around for a family movie night. We’ll also plan to get some of us together for a group movie night too. And bonus points if you can play it outside along with a pool party!
  • Game nights – This is another one that works with just your family at home, or with getting people together as a group at the church (or wherever). Get some board games, puzzles, and have some fun!
  • Bowling night – Check out free and low-cost family bowling nights (or kids bowl free), and grab some friends to hit the lanes!
  • Karaoke night – This is easier than you might think… Just YouTube search, “[sing title] karaoke” and start singing! You don’t even need a real microphone… a hairbrush will work just fine! Just be careful… this could turn into a little bit of a dance party too!
  • Spa night – Spend some time just pampering each other. Mani-pedi anyone?
  • Family cook night – Let the kids plan and cook dinner!
  • Bake some cookies for older (or new) neighbors – You might have some fun with the baking, but it’s also a great way to get out and bless some neighbors.
  • Nursing home visit – Visit a local nursing home (we’ll be planning some group visits to one nearby that we have a connection with) to hang out, and bless the residents in all kinds of ways! And bring some of those yummy baked goods too.

Bonus Add-On Activities

  • Traveling gnomes – Everywhere you go (especially with any of these activities), bring a favorite garden gnome along with you. Take pictures while on all of these adventures, and then make a scrapbook of them at the end of the Summer.
  • Flat Stanley – Similar to the traveling gnomes idea, take a Flat Stanley with you and share the pictures of everywhere he goes.
  • Eyes on stuff – Get a set of those plastic googly eyes, and put them on different things… a rock, an avocado, your friend’s elbow… and get pictures to share.
  • Read a book – Summertime is always great for doing some reading. It’s even more fun if everyone is reading and discussing the same books together. Maybe even work in some read-alouds for extra engagement with each other.
  • Read the bible (and journal your thoughts) – With the youth group, we like doing a Summer bible reading challenge using the Daily Office Lectionary. Then at the end of the Summer, we have an ice cream party… how big that ice cream bar is depends on how much they’ve accomplished as a group!

Final Thoughts On How To Engage Youth During Summer Break

Let’s be realistic. It’ll be really hard to keep them off the screens completely. But the goal is to have some intentional time spent nurturing our relationships and experiences with God and His Creation. If you can work in stuff like this, then the screen time they end up with isn’t so bad. And if you can get a few of these things in every week, then everyone should be able to look back and think, “What a great Summer!”

Now it’s your turn! What are some of your favorite family activities to engage the kids over the Summer? Drop them in the comments below!