I can’t believe my big kids will be out of school in one week! I am ready for the lighter schedule and thankful to be done with the car rider line but I’m not sure that I’m mentally prepared for my always hungry, loud, energetic tweens to be home 24/7 while I attempt to work with a baby on my side. (Though they do make good babysitters who I can pay in chocolate and electronics time so that’s a bonus! lol)
Like last summer, I have nothing planned- no bucket list, no long vacations, and no academic activities to avoid the “summer slide”- so I’ve been looking back at old activities we’ve previously done trying to get some ideas of fun things we can do. As I was looking back at past summertime posts I came upon this one from 2015 and wanted to reshare it. If you are looking for learning activities that don’t seem like schoolwork you’ll want to read on because I’m sharing 25 fun summer writing activities that get kids to practice writing. There are no worksheets here, just fun!
1) Create a summer journal.
Buy a spiral notebook and have the kids write about their day every evening. They can add in pictures or glue in other flat items to create a special memory book. My boys got summer memory journals from day camp in years past and they love looking back on the summer memories.
2) Write a pen-pal.
I remember having a pen-pal when I was little. I wasn’t sure who my kids could do this with so I put a call for pen-pals on my personal Facebook page and had a number of responses in just a few hours from people I felt comfortable giving our home address to. I paired Jacob up with other kids who can write and Lucas with a few younger children who don’t write as much and might rely on drawn pictures to communicate. This is a great way for them to make new friends, learn how to communicate better, and learn about new places. Bonus: If they live nearby set up an end of summer playdate so they can meet!
3) Write a letter to a family member who doesn’t live nearby.
This is a great way for kids to connect to family they might not see very often.
4) Create a summer bucket list.
To be sure to squeeze every second they can out of summer, kids can make their own summer bucket list of all the fun things they want to do over the summer. See how many your family can cross off the list!
5) Write out a script for a play or puppet show.
This may be the perfect way for older kids to keep busy. Have them create their own play! They pick the theme and create a story around characters they create. Younger children may have an easier time writing a short script for a puppet show. Invite family and friends over for the show and make sure to pop some popcorn to enjoy while you watch their creativity unfold before your eyes!
6) Plan a family fun day.
Have children write out the itinerary for a family fun day. They can include what your family will be eating, where to go to, or what specific activities they want to do. Going to the park would be a great activity to include in a family fun day since it can promote not only active play but also learning. Kids can enjoy and learn more about nature while walking in the park. They can pick-up flowers, rocks, leaves, and even insects along the way and later check what these are made of using a kids microscope. Kids can even write about their experiences and thoughts after these activities.
7) Write invitations for a party or playdate.
If kids want to have a party or playdate this summer they can make their own invitations to pass out.
8) Make a packing list.
Make your (older) children responsible for packing their own suitcases for vacation or a backpack for a short family trip to the beach or zoo. Have them create a list of items they need so they don’t forget anything important. Younger kids can help create packing lists as well but will probably need more help with them.
9) Create a shopping list and party plan for a bbq in the backyard.
Have children help plan a bbq and make the shopping list for all the groceries, decor and items you will need to host a fabulous barbecue for family and friends. Don’t forget to make a quick list of things that need to be done as well- kids are more likely to pitch in with cleaning or other chores if they are helping plan the party ;)
10) Write a book.
This is something I loved doing in school and I used to do with my pre-k classroom so it can be modified for kids as young as 4 who are just starting to learn to write. Blank books can be found at craft stores, teaching stores and occasionally I have seen them in Target’s dollar section. Here are my tips for this activity (which will span a few weeks): have children plan out the book first. They should think about the theme of their story and the characters that will be in it and then write it out on paper. A parent or adult can help edit or you may choose to let the child do it on their own and let the spelling/grammar be (I prefer to do it the second way). The next step is to figure out how to break the story up into pages so they might need an adult to help them do that. This is not such an issue for shorter stories but if they have a longer story this is important so they don’t run out of pages before the story is over. Make sure to leave space for pictures as well! The last step is creating the final book. Do the cover in pencil and then go over it with marker, make the title page and then the children can transfer the story from paper to the book. This is a long process but the final product is something the kids will want to hang on to for years to come!
11) Make a card for a loved one or friend.
Instead of buying a card for an upcoming birthday or holiday, like Father’s Day, have your child create their own. It’s always nice to receive handmade things and they are a lot cheaper, too.
12) Make a list of movies to see or books to read.
My kids always tell me what movies they want to see or books they want to read next. Have them create a list so next time you are going to the movies or library you pick one they have been wanting to see or read.
13) Create a recipe.
Have a little one who loves to help you in the kitchen? Have them create a recipe of their own! They can recreate their favorite summer treat or create a brand new dish. Make sure they write the ingredients and directions and then you can make it together for the family to enjoy.
14) Make a treasure map.
Have your child hide something in your home or backyard and then draw a treasure map for family members to find it. Instead of just pictures, they can label the items on their treasure map.
15) Write to get published.
There is nothing more exciting for a young writer than seeing their name in print. Here’s a place that children 13 and younger can submit their writing to: Stone Soup.
16) Create your own board game.
Board games are perfect for rainy days so what would be more fun than creating a game of their own? Children can label things on the game board and also write out instructions so others can play their game.
17) Do a Mad Libs book or create a Mad Libs story.
Remember Mad Libs? If not, here is a reminder- http://www.madlibs.com/. These books were so fun! Someone asked you for random words and they read the story back to you with the words you chose in the spaces. They have lots of themed books nowadays but if you have an older child they may want to create one of their own mad libs stories.
18) Make a daily schedule.
I’ve found that things normally run smoother when we have a schedule. Develop a daily schedule with your children and have them write it down. Things to include: snack, outdoor time, reading time, pool time, quiet time, meals, story time and other bedtime routines.
19) Write thank you notes.
Kids can write thank you notes for gifts they have received, a thank you to a friend for helping with something or to a community worker.
20) Play a name game.
Have children write their full names on paper and then see how many words they can make out of it. They can do this for everyone’s name in their family, the titles of their favorite books, or really any set of words they want. To make it more fun they can play against someone to see who can create the most words.
21) Write a letter to save the lions.
Have a little environmentalist? Have them write a letter to their representative about an environmental topic they are passionate about, whether it’s saving endangered animals or conserving water.
22) Build a town for barbies or cars.
Children can use boxes, paper or chalk outside to build a town for their cars or barbies and then can have their toys “visit” the places. They can practice writing when making the road signs and labeling the places. This led to hours of fun when I was a little girl playing with barbies and my boys had fun doing this with their cars when they were younger. Their “town” included a car wash, bank, movie theater and jail.
23) Enter a writing contest.
Kids can write stories to enter into writing contests for a chance to win prizes or have their work featured.
24) Make signs for a lemonade stand or garage sale.
If your family is having a garage sale this summer have your child make the signs to advertise it and help price items. Another option is that kid’s can host a lemonade stand and make signs for that.
25) Write a goodbye letter to friends.
The end of summer camp can be a hard time for kids. They miss all the friends they’ve made over the summer so what better way to keep those friendships going than to have kids write letters to their camp friends saying they’d love to keep in touch. They can include a phone number so their friends can contact them for a playdate. If your kids aren’t in camp they could do this for VBS, summer school or a sport that’s ending.