summer activities childAs we head into the home stretch and the end of another school year, it’s time to think about summer activities to keep our kiddos occupied, active, and engaged. Now the work is to find the best summer activities for your child, your schedule, and the budget.

Ideas to Keep Your Children Busy This Summer

Here are tips to ensure your children strike the right balance between getting a much-needed summer break while fostering a sense of daily routine and physical and mental activity.

1. Check in with your children to gauge their interests and ideas.

So often, we parents automatically give our children the summers we had or wished we had without checking in about their actual needs or desires. Start checking in with your children about what they would like to do this summer.

Keep in mind that some children need more downtime than others. If your child is an introvert by nature, or this has been a rough school year, don’t be surprised if s/he requests some downtime – and then see if there is a way you can provide that. For example, you may find that it’s just as affordable to hire a local college student to provide in-home supervision as it is to send your child to a Monday-through-Friday summer day camp. You can create a daily schedule with your child that includes a bit of daily activity and fun while including the quiet and downtime your child needs. 

2. Parks & Recreation Day Camps

The Bellevue Parks & Recreation Summer Day Camps offer a wide range of summer day camps geared for children five years and up. We also appreciate that camps vary from part-time to full-day options, allowing parents to find a camp that meets their child’s activity level and needs. 

The camps are affordable, ranging from as little as $125 to $300 per week, depending on the length of time and activities included. Bellevue Parks & Community Services also offers scholarships to Bellevue residents meeting certain income guidelines. 

Program directors do an excellent job of creating camps for virtually every interest under the sun, including theater, dance, art, science, STEM, Legos, nature/outdoors, and more. Registration is now open. 

3. Swim lessons

Mastering basic swimming and water safety skills should be as important of an early childhood requirement as learning their ABCs. According to SeattleChildren’s.org, an average of 17 Washington children and teens drown every year. Most of them are swimming, boating, or just playing in or near water. So, teaching children basic water safety skills is crucial for their well-being. Plus, learning to swim and feeling safe and comfortable in the water gives them another fun way to remain physically fit and active this summer. And, don’t forget, getting outside each day is key to natural Vitamin D absorption.

Contact local pools and community swim centers to learn more about their swimming lesson options. For example, the Safe Splash Swim School in Bellevue offers swim lessons for every age group – ranging from Mommy & Me and toddler classes to beginners, advanced, and adult-only courses. They also offer swim lessons for children with special needs.

4. Sleepaway Camps

Is your child ready to fly the coop for a bit and experience the tradition of summer sleepaway camp? If so, the world is their oyster. You can find a sleepaway camp for virtually every interest, religion, or location under the sun. We recommend you start by asking friends, family, coaches, teachers, or even local parks and recreation representatives for referrals. You can also visit the Belleview Kids Guide’s Overnight Camp Page for additional ideas. 

Keep in mind that sleepaway camps can seem better in theory than in reality for children who’ve never been away from home without a parent before. Therefore, we don’t recommend sending a child to an overnight camp unless s/he has successfully attended sleepovers at friends’ houses or weekends/weeks away from home visiting grandparents, aunts/uncles, or close family friends. 

5. KidsQuest Children’s Museum

The KidsQuest Children’s Museum is always a great place to spend a summer day off. However, in addition to its regular lineup, the museum also offers special event programming, so keep a lookout for events that pique your family’s interests. 

Best of all, they also put on a variety of summer camp programs, including virtual versions with shipped materials and half-day and full-day in-person camps capped for safety. In addition, they offer fun and learning through science experiments, arts, and more for ages 4-10.

Overlake OB/GYN hopes you and your family find extra-special ways to spend quality time together this summer while making sure to get outdoors and away from screens. And, don’t forget, as long as your kids are taking advantage of summer camp and daytime activities, use that time to schedule your annual well-woman appointment.