I don’t know where I originally heard it, but someone once told me that you only get 18 years with your kids, so make those years count. For some, that may seem like a lot, and some may think it’s cheesy. In my experience, though, the years really do fly by way too quickly. For that reason alone, I want to do everything I can to make as many memories as I can with my kids while they’re still little and want to spend time with me. (If you’re a mom of a teenager, I’m sure you get what I mean.) However, once kids enter school, the time we have with them diminishes drastically. That’s why summer break is so important! It allows most families the time they need to enjoy extra time together–all while building memories that will last a lifetime!

If you’re like me, though, sometimes it can be difficult coming up with ideas. So to help you out this summer, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite activities you can refer back to whenever you need ideas!

Animal Fun

Most kids LOVE animals. There’s something so fun and exciting about watching them interact and move about. Plus, it gives you a prime opportunity to teach and learn together! There are tons of activities you can do to expose your little ones to animals, and some of these are even free!

  • Zoo or Aquarium: Going to the zoo was one of my favorite activities as a kid. I loved the wide range of animals I could see and observe. My zoo also had zoo camps during the summer that kids could sign up for to get an even closer look and experience zookeeping firsthand. If you don’t have a zoo nearby, an aquarium is a fun alternative! Buying a season pass is a great way to save some money as well, while allowing you to return with your kids whenever you have a day that you just need to get out of the house!
  • Nature Walk or Hike: If you’re trying to save money, going on nature walks or hikes can be so fun. Get a book about animal tracks, and see if your kiddos can identify any as you go! Here’s a fun printable matching game you can try as well!
  • Pet Store: Another one of our favorite things to do when we don’t want to spend money is to visit the pet store. It’s a great way to see all kinds of new animals without spending a whole day outside.
  • Catch Butterflies / Bugs: My best friend and I absolutely loved catching bugs in the summer. We’d often catch potato bugs and create little homes for them to live in.

Catching Butterflies in the Summer

Scheduled Classes

Summertime can be hard for kids and parents alike. When we go from being on a schedule to having too much free time, we can get bored and lazy. Adding in scheduled activities for your kids to attend throughout the summer can give them (and you) something to look forward to. Here are some of my favorites from when I was a kid!

  • Summer camp
  • Dance classes
  • Gymnastics
  • Local recreation center classes
  • Art classes
  • Swimming lessons
  • Baseball/T-ball

Educational Activities

When kids are out of school, they start to lose a lot of the things they worked so hard to learn during the school year. This is known as the summer slide. Finding ways to keep kids’ minds active doesn’t have to be hard, and you don’t have to turn your home into a full on summer school to do so. Simple things you can do at home or activities you plan can keep kiddos engaged and learning each day.

  • Library Trips: Reading with your kids is one of the best things you can do, whether during the school year or in the summer time. However, it often gets overlooked during the summer. Schedule in library time to ensure your kiddos get the exposure to books they need! Many libraries will even have summer reading challenges with prizes and raffles. My library also has planned activities, such as story times and craft days. Be sure to check in with your library to stay up to date on events they will be holding throughout the summer.
  • Home Library Refresh: Summertime is also a great time to give your home bookshelves a refresh! Take your kids shopping and let them each pick a