Plan a day of fun
1. Start the month with a chuckle.
Give new meaning to International Joke Day on Saturday, July 1. Borrow or buy a joke book and toss jokes at your kids all day. Host a stand-up comedy show after dinner one night. Delight your little ones with corny old-school jokes like this one: Knock, knock.Who’s there? Cows say. Cows say who? No silly, cows say moo! Or this one: Why do cows wear bells? Because their horns don’t work.
2. Get festive
Dress up in red, white, and blue shorts, tops, and sneakers on Independence Day, and throughout the month! Dine on patriotic pancakes, with strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream on top. Decorate with flags. Play an awesome board game like Way Back When in History, or go online to find super-cool U.S. history games at Kids.gov. Hold a trivia contest. Hand out prizes to all contestants. Keep the Q’s simple for younger children. (“What are the colors on the American flag?” or “Who was our first president?”) Hike the challenge for older kids.
3. Enjoy math, really. Saturday, July 8 is Math 2.0 Day.
So talk mathese to your kids just for fun. Get silly and use phrases like: 4 example, or I heart (sum)mer, or I’d like a piece of pi. Discover other weird expressions. Look up the origin of the word mathematics (hint: it’s Greek). Count windows on houses, petals on flowers, cars on the street, or trees in your yard.
4. Learn a foreign language. Bastille Day is Friday, July 14.
It marks the storming of a fortress in Paris and a turning point in the French Revolution in 1789. Celebrations are held throughout France. To commemorate the day, learn some useful French expressions: oui (for “yes”), non (for “no”), je m’appelle (for “my name is”), and pas maintenant plus tard (for “not now, maybe later”). Eat crepes, baguettes, éclairs, and other French yummies. Sing cute kids’ songs like “Frère Jacques,” in French and English. Read The Little Prince to your kids and watch the awesome 2015 movie, which you can stream on Netflix or buy on DVD.
Refine your senses
5. Tap your inner explorer.
Gather anything and everything you can safely get your hands on and start a “We Love Nature” collection. Find large rocks and stones, different types of leaves, bark, shells, and starfish (if you’re near a beach), and even bugs and insects to observe and release later. Then, make a nature project. Grab some paint and turn rocks into cute ladybugs or caterpillars. Place them on a desk, or in your garden to customize the landscape and floral design. For fun, dig for info on three of the country’s best-known naturalists: John Muir, considered “father of our national parks”; John James Audubon, (check out his book Birds of America); and Rachel Carson, a marine biologist, author, and National Book Award winner.
6. See what the nose knows.
Host a guess-this-scent party early one evening. Invite your child’s favorite friends and neighborhood buds, and then add a twist: Hold the party outdoors and hand out blindfolds. No cheating! Let guests ID the scents in a basket full of items, including oatmeal cookies, mint leaves, lemon slices or lemon iced-tea packets, vanilla extract, watermelon, strawberries, roses, and lavender. You keep score. Everyone’s a winner. Serve strawberry, kiwi, banana, or tutti-frutti ice cream for dessert.
Boost your HQ (happiness quotient)
7. Get really good—at something.
July’s a great month to learn to ride a bike, dive or swim, master the game of jacks, become a double-Dutch demon, play a wicked game of hopscotch, toss or catch a ball, pick up archery, go boating, or get creative with rubber-band bracelets your child can make for friends. Need more ideas? Invite your child’s buddies over for fun backyard relay races, egg tosses, three-legged races, red light/green light, and more.
8. Scoop some ice cream.
July is National Ice Cream Month—and clearly for good reason. Ice cream has to be one of the most perfect things to eat in warm summer weather. Pick up different brands of ice cream in some of your favorite flavors. Conduct a blind taste test and declare a winner. Boost kids’ science, math, and kitchen skills by encouraging them to make the frozen treat from scratch. They’ll learn how to measure ingredients and discover what makes the liquid turn into solid. And they can feast on their own creations when they’re done!