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Family fun on the playground

Restoring Family Fun on a Summer Break

Summer break is a great time for family fun. It gives you an opportunity to unplug from the school year and recharge your student’s batteries. But if you’re worried about the summer devolving into a Netflix-fueled couch-a-thon, don’t be! Here are a few ways to get your student and the entire family on board with a little summertime fun.

Take summer break from ho-hum to heck yeah!

Here are a few ways to add some excitement to your break: 

Spend time outside each day

Nothing says summer like soaking up a little sunshine (with the proper SPF and adequate hydration of course) and communing with nature. Even if your climate is slightly prohibitive (looking at you, Phoenix) you can still plan a little outdoor time in the early morning, or in the evening after the sun goes down. Sit outside with your favorite beverage in the morning or have a family dinner on a patio, whether it is yours or someone else’s. Feeling a bit more ambitious? Visit some national parks, go camping, or participate in an outdoor activity like hiking or biking to get your student off the devices and on with the outdoors.

Go adventuring

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean dashing off to Paris to eat croissant and chocolate, but if you are able, then bon voyage! Adventuring could be as simple as visiting that thrift or consignment shop your teen has been eyeing or finally going to that skate park your ten-year-old has been begging to try. There are plenty of new places and experiences right in your own neighborhood, so get out there and check them out!

Pick up a new skill or hobby

Does your teen like playing with their phone camera? Trick question, what teen doesn’t? Check out a photography class together and make those selfies, and vacation photos even stronger. Does your student like music? Could be a good time for vocal coaching, learning a new instrument, or even starting a band…in the garage…that has been soundproofed (you know, for quality of sound purposes…wink, wink) Dancing, painting, building stuff, cooking, and gardening are other good options. Summer is a perfect time to step outside your comfort zone.

Start documenting

Bonus points for encouraging your family to start a journal, or even an Instagram account (check these out for some incredible inspiration), to document the fun you’ve had, the places you may have gone, the stuff you have learned, and all the memorable moments in between. Extra credit if you learn that new TikTok dance.

Make vacations more like field trips

Another great way to make the most out of the summer break is to sneak a little education in. You can learn a lot on family vacations to places such as the beach, a zoo, or even a theme park. And think of all the educational opportunities if you do dash off to Paris!

Try a guided tour or “backstage” experience

For example, you could sign up for a guided tour with a zoologist or with a ranger at a state park. These experiences can offer a wealth of information about animal wildlife, geology, geography, conservation, and a lot more. Boom! Science. You can even try some virtual or online experiences to have a little fun and learn a lot.

Turn a trip to the beach into a learning opportunity  

Discover what the physics are in surfing, and the technology needed to create a surfboard. Learn how the wind controls the waves, and how the moon controls the tides. Discover new species of sea life that exists above and below those waves. Right there you have covered science, engineering, and even a little math!

Visit the art museum 

A trip to the art museum can uncover historical facts, various artistic styles, and techniques, and even science. Let’s not forget that Leonardo da Vinci was a scientist and an engineer.

Get curious at the theme park

Use those long lines at a fun-filled day at a theme park to spark conversations about how, statistically, long wait times are based on ride length and popularity. Find out what engineering concepts are behind the construction of the attractions. It will give you something to do on the wait for that new coaster.

Learn about different cultures by talking to locals

Whenever your family goes out of town, make an effort to strike up some conversations with locals. You may be surprised at what you discover about the area’s history and culture that those internet sites didn’t tell you. Residents can also be a great resource in finding places to sightsee, eat, and shop!  

Treating the summer break as a playground and a classroom can really open up some new opportunities for adventure, learning, and bonding as a family. 

What will you be doing to make the most of your break this year? 

If you are interested in summer camps, check out this guide to selecting the right one. 

If your student tends to play a lot of video games during the summer, check out this article for tips on how to keep competitive gaming from getting too serious. And if reading is a priority during the break, check out these simple ways to encourage it a little more!

Amy Licht
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