Published July 1, 2023
Not only does school give kids an education, it also gives them structure. So, when summer rolls around, and all of that structure suddenly goes out the window, what’s your child supposed to do all day? Here are just a few, screen-free ways to keep your kids busy and entertained all summer long.
Activities They Can Do from Home
Reading helps develop your child’s brain. But it doesn’t have to be work—it can also be a lot of fun, especially when your kids are allowed to pick out their own books. Have your child come up with a summer reading list (their teacher or a librarian can help them get started), check out a few library books, and encourage them to dive in. The library even has a summer reading program where they can earn prizes for how much they read! Check it out here.
The Mozart Effect—which you can read more about here—suggests your kids can get smarter by listening to classical music. And further, kids who listen to music, in general, are better at problem-solving and regulating their emotions. So, invite your child to pick a genre, listen to a ton of music (possibly while chipping away at their summer reading list), and become an expert in jazz, soul, or blues.
When you think about yoga, you might picture a bunch of adults filing into a yoga studio with their little foam mats. But according to Harvard Health, yoga is starting to get really popular with kids—and for good reason. Yoga improves their heart health, circulation, and metabolism. It can also improve their self-esteem, classroom performance, and behavior. Introduce your kids to yoga with the help of these free YouTube videos: rhythmsofplay.com/best-free-yoga-videos-for-kids/
Activities Out in the World
Start a Small Business
One of the quintessential kid businesses is the trusty lemonade stand. But when you think about it, that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. If your kids are feeling a little ambitious this summer, encourage them to start a small business. Can they water the neighbors’ plants? Are they up for washing cars? Do they like walking pets? Nerdwallet has some great ideas for different ways kids can make some money over the summer. Or if they’re sold on the “stand” idea, Joy in the Works has a list of 10 fun alternatives to selling lemonade.
Helping others can make your kids feel happier, give them a sense of agency, and of course, make the world a better place. If your kids are interested in volunteering this summer, they can seek out an existing opportunity—Indy with Kids has some great ideas of places the whole family can get involved. Or they can create a volunteer opportunity of their own. Maybe you have an elderly neighbor that could use some help, or they could sweep up some litter in the neighborhood. If they’re old enough, perhaps they’d want to babysit for someone who can’t afford daycare. No matter what they choose, volunteering is truly one of the most rewarding ways they can spend their time.
Good things happen when we get our hearts pumping. Cardio helps your kids stay in shape, improve their mood, and helps them sleep. So, encourage your kids to get outside. Are the neighborhood kids playing basketball? Does your kid like to jog or jump rope? Do they like going to the park? Exercise can be a fun way to stay healthy, make friends, and make this summer a fun one to remember.
Go to Events
- The Library
Your kids might think the library sounds a little boring. But think again. The Indianapolis Public Libraries have an absolutely huge slate of programming. Your kids can enjoy everything from animal meet-and-greets, to sing-alongs, to game nights. And best of all, these events are usually free or very low-cost. Click here to check out the library’s events calendar.
- Mallow Run Winery’s Picnic Concert Series
This summer, Mallow Run Winery is hosting a family-friendly concert series outside on their beautiful lawn. So, bring your kids, a picnic, and enjoy some music. Please note that this event is out in Bargersville. But if you’re up for a little day trip, this event is completely free and a memorable way to spend an evening.
- The County Fair
Summer is county fair season! And while you never know exactly what they have up their sleeves, they usually have food for purchase, live performances, rides, and games. And best of all, you can get into a few of these county fairs for free. Here are a few nearby county fairs to get you started:
- Marion County: https://marioncountyfair.org/our-fair/
- Boone County: https://www.boonecounty4h.org/fair
- Hendricks County: https://www.4hcomplex.org/
- Morgan County: https://morgancountyindianafair.org/
- Johnson County: https://www.jocofairin.com/
- Elkhart County (this one’s a bit farther away, up in northern Indiana, but it’s one of the biggest county fairs in America!): https://www.4hfair.org/
There are plenty of ways to keep your kids busy and entertained all summer long. And best of all, most of these activities are either free or really affordable. If you want more inspiration, check out Indy with Kids, or ask your child what sounds interesting. They might surprise you!Tags: activities for kids, family-friendly activities, free events, Indianapolis Events, Indy Fun, summer activities