We all remember our summer vacations as amazing, magical times, full of ice cream, pool parties, fireworks, and firefly hunts. As adults, we tend to idealize summer vacation while forgetting how much of that time was actually spent being bored at home, with nothing besides TV to take up the time usually filled by school year activities.

Don’t let your kids fall into the same summertime trap! Instead of a house filled with bored, lethargic kids, make a plan for all that free time. Giving the summer some structure will make the days easier to navigate while building a wealth of amazing memories. Below, we have outlined our top tips for keeping the kids entertained, interested, and most importantly, occupied and out of your hair. Read on for more!

Did you know Whiskytown Park Rangers offer free paddle boarding lessons?

  • While it is tempting to let the kids sleep in on weekdays, it is much better to maintain the school-year schedule throughout their vacation. Making bedtime, mealtimes, and outdoor activities correspond to those observed during the school year maintains consistency, making the transition back out of vacation much easier for everyone.
  • Plan out as much of their vacation time as you can. Having a steady stream of pre-planned activities keeps kids focused and energized, plus it helps them avoid falling into the summertime trap of TV and snacks. For great ideas on crafting a well-planned vacation, keep reading—we’ve included a list of our favorite summer activities below the article.
  • Get out of the house! With all those long, hot days on the horizon, it’s tempting to escape the heat inside. A stronger plan, however, is to spend as much time outside as possible. Physical activities, like team sports or hiking, help keep kids fit, healthy, and stimulated. Just be sure to wear sunscreen!
  • Skip the screentime! Now more than ever, kids are spending most of their free time glued to televisions, tablets, computers, and smartphones. Ditch the devices in favor of art projects and outdoor activities to stay sharp over vacation. A great option for outdoor education is your local community garden—plots are inexpensive, and kids love growing and harvesting their own healthy snacks!