The five little words that strike fear into every mommy’s heart? School is out for summer.

If you are a grandma reading this, you probably wonder what all the fuss is about. Your mommy actually enjoyed summer hours — the absence of homework alone was enough to make her click her heels with joy. Your summers were free-range: The sun came up, you went outside and found your friends and their bicycles. Someone’s mom fed you a peanut-butter sandwich and some Kool-Aid. You drank from the garden hose when you were thirsty. You dragged your feet home when the sun began to sink. You gobbled supper. You went back outside to play kick the can and to catch lightning bugs. You didn’t hear your mother’s orders to get in the house. And when you did, you argued that your feet weren’t all that dirty. You fell asleep, on guard against that one mosquito in the room. And you woke up and did it all over. For about 90 days in a row. But you probably went to church on Sundays (which was, in your opinion, just an excuse to get your hair washed and your nails scrubbed).

If you are a mommy reading this today — after your feelings of disbelief and then a pang of jealousy subside — you square your shoulders and reassure yourself that YOUR child will have a summer filled with stimulating experiences that will enrich his mind, body, and soul; and will keep him sharp and prepared for the next school year.

What is your plan, modern mommy? Here areĀ 20 fun ideas to keep you busy this summer. For more inspiration, we’ve created a monthly early literacy calendar chock-full of ideas to engage your little one.

  1. String beads into jewelry
  2. Explore a museum
  3. Make a birdhouse out of popsicle sticks
  4. Go berry picking
  5. Use colored tape to make roads for your kids toys
  6. Have a tricycle race at the park
  7. Make homemade popsicles
  8. Create salad spinner art
  9. Build a sandcastle
  10. Turn your driveway into a bull’s-eye target game
  11. Make a sugar-writing tray
  12. Play balloon ping pong
  13. Make homemade pizza
  14. Play dress-up
  15. Dig in the dirt
  16. Create crowns and leis with wildflowers
  17. Have a water balloon fight
  18. Race marbles on a pool-noodle track
  19. Plant a butterfly garden
  20. Make soap clouds in the microwave

Or you could just send your kids to grandma.


[Photo by Joseph Rosenthal, SF Chronicle, 1965.]
Calendar of Early Literacy Activities