Summertime is supposed to packed with fun outside in the sun. After a day of summer camp, playing with friends, swimming in the pool, or otherwise running around and getting exercise with friends, most kids will need a little downtime in the afternoon to slow down, relax and enjoy a little quiet time. That doesn't mean that the afternoon has to spent in front of the television or playing video games or computer games though! Read on to learn seven lazy summer afternoon activities for kids that are anything but lazy -- they might even teach your kid something new or inspire a new interest or hobby.
1. Have a Reading Picnic
One of the best ways to spend a quiet afternoon is curled up with a great book. Many kids will look forward to quiet time when it includes devouring a good book. Put a twist on reading time by going outside or to a fun, new place to read. One of my favorite places to spend the afternoon reading with my son is on a reading picnic. We pack up our favorite books, a blanket, our water bottles, pillows and a snack and head for a quiet place on the grass under a large shady tree. It’s amazing how much more enjoyable a book is when you read it outside in nature.
2. Take a Museum Stroll
A hot, sunny afternoon is the perfect time to hit the museum. Most museums are quiet and have less visitors during the week, making it the perfect time to visit with your children. Plan to visit a different museum in your area each week of the summer. Touring your local art, science, and children’s museums is a great way to introduce your kid to the different arts that are available, while providing a little quiet time to slow down and reflect.
3. Have a Board Game Bonanza
Spending the afternoon, sprawled out on the living room floor with pillows and your family’s favorite board games is a great way to spend a hot afternoon. Getting bored with your selection of games? Consider swapping board games with your children’s cousins or close family friends to mix it up. Also, many local libraries have board games in their children’s section, making it the perfect opportunity to pick up a few new books and play a new board game at the same time.
4. Host Your Own Afternoon Cooking Show
Spend the afternoon, hosting your own afternoon cooking show with your children. Pretend that you are filming an episode worthy of the Food Network and let your children help you bake up some afternoon goodies. You can take the “cooking show” one step further and set up the family video recorder to film your episode. This is a great way to help your child with their speech and cooking skills at them same fun time.
5. Watch an Educational Movie
Your library and public broadcasting channel are stocked with educational movies. Take the time to queue up your favorite nature shows or pick up a stack from your library to entertain your family during the hot afternoons. This is a great time for children to brush up on their science and history skills. You can also plan a special educational movie field trip by seeing the newest nature or history IMAX movie at your local nature and history museum.
6. Let your Child be the Teacher
Spend an afternoon allowing your child to teach you, the parent, a new skill. It’s amazing how many things children know how to do that adults do not. Let your child teach you how to play with Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh cards, ask your child to teach you the newest text slang or encourage him to introduce you to his newest favorite music superstar. The idea is to show an active interest in the things that you child is interested in, giving them the opportunity to invite you into their world.
7. Have a Tea Party
An afternoon spent sipping iced organic tea, snuggled up with your child is a great way to reconnect after a fun, busy day. Find a nice quiet place in your family room or a shady place on your patio to curl up together and chat about the day’s events. Building strong communication skills with your child is essential to staying close as they grow older. Building this time into your day gives your child a chance to talk to you about things that she finds important or to ask you questions about life in general.
How do you encourage your children to make the most of their lazy summer afternoons?