Kids yearn for June all year long. So, check out the ideas, treks, adventures, and child-friendly surprises below, and truly enjoy your family time together.
1. Unlock a box of summer. Few things get kids stoked for time off from school faster than the sight of an open pool, travel brochures, or the promise of doing, well, whatever it is they love all summer. So why not give your kids a treat and let them unlock your plans—literally.
- Gather a few summer-themed supplies and symbols that your kids will recognize (see the list below). Toss the collection into a box, and “lock” the box or tie a bow around it.
- Next, let your kids open the box, find the items—call them clues—and then urge your junior detectives to use their reasoning skills to guess the theme of the day, where they are going, and what they will be doing, based on the clues they found in the box.
Use sneakers, balls, hats, sunscreen, jump ropes, skates, pails, shovels, helmets, towels, and so forth as clues to help them solve the mystery. Change up the contents of the box every few days or weeks, depending on the activity or your destination. So if you’re off to the beach, try flip-flops and towels. For a road trip, go with hobby kits, games, and puzzles. Use coupons, stickers, and pictures for movies, sporting events, books, and meals out. Do this for low-key activities too. Use around-the-house items to signal a playdate, a scavenger hunt, a late-night Slip ’N Slide, a backyard adventure, or a spur-of-the-moment dip in a pool. Keep the box in a central location to boost excitement.
2. Show your colors. Wake up the kids bright and early on Thursday, June 14, and surprise them with your own impromptu Flag Day celebration. To start the day, begin with a rousing rendition of Reveille. You can hear it here. Your kids will love it, and the tune will stick with them forever.
- Serve a red-white-and-blue breakfast. Try blueberries, strawberries, and waffles. Then amaze your kids with a wealth of information about the American flag, including facts about its designers, makers, and those who fought to defend our flag and our country. You can find the details at USflag.org.
- Set out mini flags for the day, or invite the kids to help you hang a large American flag from a window, outdoor pole, or balcony. Remind them they should never let a flag touch the ground, fly it in inclement weather, or let it end up in the trash. We retire flags by burning or burying them. End the day with this moving rendition of Taps, hit the bath, and send your kids peacefully off to bed with a greater appreciation for our flag and country.
3. Get cozy with creatures. June is National Aquarium Month. On a rainy afternoon, head to a nearby aquarium or a pet store and check out all the intriguing sea creatures going about their business. Continue the fun at home. Make a DIY fish craft with the kids. (Try homemade ribbon fish: You’ll need several strips of wide and thin ribbon in a variety of colors, googly eyes, and glue. Just loop one end of the ribbon over the other to form a fish head and tail.) Snack on fish sticks, Goldfish crackers, and Swedish Fish while you watch age-appropriate movies or documentaries and learn about ocean life.
4. Meet and greet nature. If June means bright sun, fresh air, and gentle breezes to you, don’t waste a minute of it indoors. In honor of Great Outdoors Month, find a stream to follow, a trail to hike, a hill to climb, a forest to explore, or a lake or beach to visit—anywhere kids can appreciate the breathtaking beauty of nature. The National Park Service and other local organizations offer programs that make exploring the parks easy—with opportunities to meet wildlife experts and to take home badges for participating in park activities.
Prefer touring without a guide? Not a problem. You can enrich your adventure. Let your kids snap pictures of tide pools, interesting tree bark, flowers in bloom, cool-looking bugs, different kinds of rocks and boulders, or whatever they find intriguing. Carry a book or a handheld device to identify rocks, birds, and trees together. (You may remember words like igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic from high-school science.) Let the kids share images of their finds online with friends and family.
5. Pamper Pop. On Father’s Day this year (Sunday, June 17) why not give Dad the “Mother’s Day treatment”? Serve him breakfast in bed (rustle up Manwiches instead of eggs and bacon, and decorate the tray with golf or tennis balls instead of roses). Let the kids make and hide Father’s Day cards, walk the dog, take out the trash, fill orders for lunch and snacks, and stand by while you flip burgers and hot dogs for dinner. Start a new Father’s Day tradition: Have the kids make and decorate a “Dad’s Off Duty” sign to post once a year on Father’s Day. End the day with dad- and kid-friendly movies such as Finding Dory.