Summer is here. What will you do with this free time?

At least one in three teenagers feels bored and stressed most of the time they’re at school. It’s no surprise why kids look forward to summer break.

But this year is different. Due to the coronavirus, the past few months have been particularly stressful for all kids in the U.S.

Kids are out of the classroom, but that doesn’t mean those feelings of stress and boredom go away when summer arrives. Many parents are still faced with the “I’m bored” complaints from their kids.

So what’s a parent to do?

Luckily, keeping kids busy is possible with a little creativity. Read on for some activities for kids that will keep them busy and entertained all summer long.

1. Start a Goodreads Reading Challenge.

If your child is 13 or older and likes to read, encourage them to sign up for a Goodreads account. They can keep track of the books they’ve read or want to read and connect with their friends.

Once they have an account, they can start a Goodreads Reading Challenge. They can choose a number of books to read for the year and they’ll get reminders and encouragement along the way. Working towards a goal will keep them busy.

Since social distancing is still important, your child could also start a virtual book club to talk about books with friends. They’ll get some social connection while staying on track with their reading goals.

2. Plan a weekly family movie night.

Movie theaters are closed across the country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a summer blockbuster.

Choose a night of the week, like a Friday or Saturday, and find a new movie to watch. You can find movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, or even YouTube that the whole family will enjoy.

Pop some popcorn and enjoy a new family tradition.

3. Check out local water parks.

There’s no better way to spend a hot day than relaxing by a pool. Load up a bag with towels, sunscreen, and sunglasses to enjoy a day in the sun. This is a great activity for the whole family, whether you have toddlers or teenagers.

Before you head out, make sure you understand the CDC guidelines for social distancing at water parks. You’ll enjoy yourself more when you’re doing everything you can to protect your family’s health and safety.

4. Sign them up for an online class.

If you have older kids or teens, consider signing them up for an online class on a subject they like. If your child’s school doesn’t offer specialty electives like photography, horticulture, or cooking, an online course in the summer is the perfect solution.

Look on websites such as Lynda, Udemy, or MasterClass for courses. Your local community college or university might also offer classes like this in the summer. If it’s not in your budget, you might also find great courses for free on YouTube.

5. Try backyard camping.

If your normal summer camping trip isn’t in the cards, you can try camping in your backyard. Your kids can help set up a tent, play some yard games, and roast marshmallows.

If you’ve never been camping before, backyard camping is a low-risk way to try it out. Plus, it’s one of the best things to do with kids in the summer.

Backyard camping is also the perfect opportunity to learn about the constellations. Your kids can download a free stargazing app to learn about the stars they see.

6. Get crafting.

If you’re one of the many parents working from home right now, you might not have a ton of time to entertain your kids. That’s where crafting comes in.

Younger kids can color, finger paint, and draw pictures. They can also make artwork to decorate your door or front windows. Your child will feel proud knowing they’re bringing joy to your neighborhood.

Older kids can do crafts such as coloring, painting, and making jewelry. They can even learn to knit, sew, or embroider with the help of a YouTube tutorial.

7. Visit a state park.

Fresh air and exercise makes us feel stronger and it boosts our mood. That’s why summer is a great time to visit a nearby state park. Plus, you can enjoy the great outdoors at a North Carolina state park while still social distancing.

To make a day of it, pack a picnic with your family’s favorite foods and plenty of bottled water.

For younger kids, you can have them do a nature scavenger hunt where they can make note of the nature they see. If you have older kids, it’s a chance for them (and you!) to learn how to identify plants, trees, and wildlife.

8. Decorate with sidewalk chalk.

If you’re looking for summer activities for kids at home, don’t forget about sidewalk chalk. A simple box of chalk and a sidewalk or driveway will keep your kids entertained for hours.

They can make up new patterns and write out fun messages to the neighbors, all while getting some fresh air. Plus, when it rains they’ll have a fresh canvas to work with. They can even draw out a hopscotch court or make up a brand new game.

9. Head to a drive-in movie theater.

While a lot of movie theaters are closed, drive-in movie theaters are open. They’re the perfect way to catch a movie while still social distancing.

If your kids have never been to a drive-in movie before, now is a great time to check it out. Kids of all ages will enjoy watching a movie under the stars. It might even become a new family tradition.

10. Learn a new skill.

If your child misses learning new things at school, encourage them to learn a new skill. Learning magic tricks, sewing, playing a musical instrument, and cooking are just a few fun examples.

Check out some video tutorials on YouTube to get started. By the end of the summer, your child might have an awesome new skill to show off.

Keeping Kids Busy and Healthy Over the Summer

Keeping kids busy over the summer can be a challenge for all parents. After all, you want them to relax without getting bored. Hopefully, our ideas gave you some inspiration.

In the midst of all your summer fun, don’t forget about your children’s dental health. Make an appointment today to book a routine cleaning.