Everyone enjoys summer vacation but listening to your kids say, “I’m bored!” isn’t anyone’s idea of a vacation. So with that in mind, we’re sharing a “Summer Checklist” of activities for the kids (and the kids at heart)! Plus, we’re sharing a fun craft to encourage you to head outside for some fun games.
Here’s our Summer 2020 Checklist:
- Picnic at the park.
- Feed the ducks at a nearby pond.
- Play in the water sprinkler.
- Build a tent for reading.
- Memorize a Bible verse.
- Go fishing.
- Pot some flowers or plant some seeds and watch them grow.
- Go to the zoo.
- Write a letter.
- Catch lightning bugs (or fireflies).
- Roast hot dogs on a campfire.
- Read a book.
- Eat watermelon.
- Take a walk together (skipping is fun too).
- Have a family game night.
- Donate unwanted or outgrown toys.
- Go on a family bike ride.
- Take a scavenger hunt nature walk.
- Make ice cream.
- Volunteer to help a neighbor with yard work.
- Go cloud watching (make animals).
- Make s’mores.
- Play hopscotch.
- Clean out your closet (We’ve got a fun idea for those old T-shirts below!).
- Play in the rain (if there is no lightning).
- Create a construction paper chain with numbers to count down the first days of your child’s new grade in school by simply tearing off a number each day.
Be sure to take turns choosing the activities. Always mark through any activities your family has completed. The goal is to accomplish every activity before school starts back in the fall!
Planning to clean out your closet? Old T-shirts can be repurposed into aprons, bags, headbands, or anything else your imagination can think up. Make jump ropes for your kids to enjoy while playing outside. It might be terrific to invite a friend to make one too!
All you need are scissors and colorful T-shirts—adult sizes are best.
Here’s how to make your very own T-shirt jump rope:
- Lay the T-shirt stretched out on a flat surface.
- Measure and mark 1.5 inches along the sides of the shirt.
- Cut 1.5-inch strips horizontally across the shirt, starting from the bottom. You will get long, stretchy loops. (I choose not to use the bottom hem since it’s thicker.)
- Stretch each loop to help it roll into a tighter loop.
- Continue cutting and stretching 1.5-inch strips until you reach the armpits.
- Tie three strips together in a big knot to form the handle.
- Tape the knot to a table, if needed, and begin braiding the loops together. When you near the end of a strip, attach a new strip, looping them through each other to avoid tying knots.
- Continue braiding and extending until your jump rope is at the desired length.
- Once your jump rope is at an appropriate length for your child’s height, tie the three strips together to make a final knot (your second handle).
- Trim the strips evenly as a fringe at the knots.
These jump ropes are easily altered to be longer or shorter. Encourage your child to make a really long jump rope to enjoy with a friend. This is a great craft to make with large groups of kids, as well as at home. Children’s groups can work together to collect T-shirts to repurpose. The more T-shirts the group collects, the more varied and colorful the jump ropes can be. This project works well for a mission project to give other kids and is sustainable and beautiful.
Once you have your new jump rope, you need some fun games and activities to go with it. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Jump with both feet, swinging the rope going forward from behind your back.
2. Try one-legged jumping, switching legs each time. Then try to do two jumps in a row per leg. Be brave and try three jumps or five jumps.
3. Practice jumping in different ways like going backward, swinging the jump rope faster, crossing your arms, or even crossing your legs. This takes an extra dose of bravery.
4. Play the snake game with two or more people. Have a person (the snake) swing the rope on the ground around in a circle or semicircle. Each person has to jump over the rope when it comes near them. If they are “bit” by the snake, that person gets to be the snake on the next turn.
5. Try jumping with a partner. Partners stand facing each other about one foot apart with one partner holding both rope handles. The partner with the rope says, “Ready, set, go!” and swings the rope up from behind for both to jump in unison. Partners continue to jump together with a single or double bounce. (You’ll need a longer rope for this activity.)
What activities are on your family’s checklist this summer? Tell us in the comments below!
This article was adapted from an article that appeared in the July 2019 issue of HomeLife Magazine by Mark Jones. Mark is the Children’s Pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. He has authored several books and enjoys training children’s ministry leaders and parents. He’s the founder of Mr. Mark’s Classroom, an online leadership development and teacher-resource ministry. For more ideas, visit Mr. Mark’s Classroom at mrmarksclassroom.com.