Got kids running haywire? Yup, we're feeling all that extra amped up energy up in here! As soon as that sun's up, our kids are already going at full throttle! Here's how to entertain your kids so you can stave off the fighting and keep (a little more of) your sanity.
The brain drain is REAL, y'all. When kids aren't in school, it's amazing how much of that learning just – poof – falls right out of their heads. Plus, whether it's summer, home earning, homeschool, or even just the weekend, it's amazing how quickly kids get bored and start to fight.
As a mom (especially to 8 kids), I've learned that there are ways to not only to entertain your kids but to keep their minds learning and sharp. So how do I keep my kid entertained? With a little help from these crazy simple tips. So, are you ready, because we're gonna do this!
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CREATE A BLOCK SCHEDULE SYSTEM
We live by the block system, always… in the summer and other times school isn't in session! A block schedule is so important! Whether you realize it or not, humans thrive on structure—especially those young humans (aka kids!). No, not every minute of every day needs to be regimented, but it really helps to block out your day. The tl;dr:
- Split your day into 3-hour intervals.
- Assign certain themes to those blocks.
- Block out time for learning, for fun, for family, and for meals.
Pro Tip: Remember, the block system isn't about mapping every little minute of the day. It's to get in a little bit of everything without being totally overwhelmed. Find my block system planner here!
BLOCK OUT TIME FOR LEARNING, BUT MAKE IT FUN
This is so important, guys! If you just let your kids play all day long with no expectations and no chores, eventually they become bored. That said (plot twist), just because it's structure and just because it's learning doesn't mean it's not fun. Take something that's fun and free-range and make it more of a learning environment.
Learning can be as simple as sending your kids outside to play with an outdoor scavenger hunt page at the ready. Then the kiddos can find certain types of bugs, trees, or leaves.
Or, instead of giving them free rein on technology, give them that technology with 30 minutes to learn something. So they visit YouTube to learn how to draw, to do a science experiment, or to sew, crochet, or to use face paint.
Pro Tip: One thing we discovered lately is that we love is the Kiwi & Co. complete subscription kits. Each box comes with everything you need for that project (so you don't even have to get in your car), complete instructions, and a fun, educational magazine. We love these entertaining STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) activities. (Use code JORDAN for 20% off.)
ASSIGN YOUR KIDS A FOOD DAY
Mom! Can I have a snack? Mom! Can I have a treat? That's right! It never ends… So when you assign kids a day to help with food, that kiddo gets to plan what they want for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack.
And then later, when people start to get hungry, you call your helper in and you put them in charge of the food (with your assistance, of course). It's a great way to help them realize how important it is to think through meals, it teaches basic skills, and the kids think it is really fun to plan what they want to eat that day. Plus you'll have way less complaining at dinner if you put the kids in charge. #GameChanger Make it even more fun by getting some kid-friendly cooking utensils!
KEEP CAR CLIPBOARDS
The struggle in the car is REAL. Okay, so this tip is cheating a little bit since this is about keeping your kids entertained at home, but I want to talk about being in the car with your kids (because you know it's gonna happen).
You already know I love my clipboard system at home for keeping the kids on track. So, it probably doesn't shock you that I have these really cute car clipboards for each kid as well. I like the sturdy plastic kind with a nice clip at the top. Kids get enough screen time as it is. Once they get in the car, they're gonna want to play on a tablet or watch a movie.
They have to complete the clipboards before they turn on screen time, and this will keep them occupied for a good chunk of the drive. What you put on the clipboard is completely up to you. For me, it's:
- Something fun like a coloring page.
- Then there's something for their brain like a word search, license plate scavenger hunt paper, or crossword puzzle.
- Maybe I'll put a workbook page or a homework page if there's homework to do.
- We also have some fun toys and games to keep the kids occupied, both in the car and at home!
Then I'll have them bring a book in the car and set a timer where everyone has to read for at least 30 minutes before we turn on screens.
LISTEN TO KID PODCASTS & AUDIOBOOKS
We started doing this this summer and seriously?! It's incredible how much it occupies their brains. You don't even have to pay for audiobooks. You can get them through your public library, straight to your phone. Then at home, just plug them into your bluetooth speaker (or if in the car, I will pipe them over the speakers). They'll sit, work on their coloring page, or their project, or making dinner while listening to a story or interesting podcast — sometimes for hours — and with no screen time! Ka-ching! #ParentWinning
Some great podcasts to check out:
- Adventures in Odyssey
- Brains On!
- But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
- Circle Round
- Ear Snacks
- Eleanor Amplified
- Six Minutes
- Smash Boom Best
- Story Pirates
- Wow in the World
Looking for even more fun kids ideas? Check out these fabulous resources for kids.
JOIN IN THE FUN
Parents, you can do outdoor Olympics, laser tag, you name it! Even if you spend 30 minutes with your kids organizing something outside, you can go back inside, and for the next few hours, your kids will continue to play it. Facilitating outdoor activities and play is a great way to inspire kids to stay outside and play.
THAT'S OUR SUMMER!
Pretty awesome, right? Now you know how to keep the kids active and happy while you entertain them, whether you're at home or on the road! Our family builds in plenty of time for family, productivity, and learning. Take what I've shared and let me know how it works for your family.
Wanting more great ideas?
- Here's why it's so important to keep a summer routine with kids!
- Check out these fun outdoor family ideas!
- Make these easy chore sticks that get kids cleaning with meaning.
- Check out these 100+ Activities for Kids to Do at Home (there's even a FREE printable!)
- Check out our van tour video!