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 goodies
Get kids psyched for summer with themed welcome-to-June surprise packages filled with all the stuff your kids like. Need ideas? Try shovels, pails, kites, water shoes, hobby kits, sports supplies, pool toys, books, coupons for movies or meals out and more—anything they’re excited about seeing or doing. Promise some low-cost summer activities, too, including playdates, family visits, garden-hose limbo events, backyard camping, and even an epic water-balloon fight.
2. Embrace the summer solstice
Celebrate the start of summer (and the “longest” day of the year). But check the time and date for your area first because they vary in different parts of the country. The Farmers’ Almanac says this: For eastern daylight time (EDT) the solstice falls on Wednesday, June 21, at 12:24 a.m. For those on CDT, it falls on Tuesday, June 20, at 11:24 p.m.; for MDT, it’s Tuesday, June 20, at 10:24 p.m., and for PDT, it’s Tuesday, June 20, at 9:24 p.m. For fun, make a crafty summer sundial (paper plates, bold markers, and a long, thin pencil standing upright and pasted or taped to the center of the paper plate).
3. Observe sea creatures
June is National Aquarium Month. On a rainy afternoon, head to a nearby aquarium (or pet or pet-food store) and look at all the intriguing sea creatures going about their business. Make a DIY 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 pretzel crackers, and Swedish Fish while you watch documentaries and learn about ocean life.
4. Salute Mother Nature
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. Snap pictures of tide pools, interesting tree bark, flowers in bloom, cool-looking bugs, different kinds of rocks and boulders, or whatever your kids find intriguing. To ID rocks and boulders, remember your high-school science and words like igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. Let the kids share images of their finds with friends and family.
5. Pamper Dad for 24 hours—really
On Father’s Day this year (Sunday, June 18) 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.
6. Search the night sky for planets
Eat dinner, bathe the kids, and head outdoors for a little evening entertainment. Check the Astronomy Calendar of Celestial Events and EarthSky.org to find out what’s up in space and which astronomical events are easily visible. Tip: June’s the time to search the heavens for Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus. Encourage your kids make their own version of the moon out of modeling clay. Want to debunk the old the moon is made of Swiss cheese story? Explain that many years ago, giant flying boulders slammed into the moon and created craters. Kids can reproduce these events by using ordinary rocks and stones and a medium-size ball they fashion from modeling clay.
7. Toss a homegrown salad
Encourage your kids to plant cucumbers and cherry tomatoes (they’re in season now), water them, and then watch them morph from seedlings into colorful, edible vegetables. Help them take pictures of their plants at the same time every morning, and then use an app to stitch the photos together in a time-lapse photo movie. Later, let your kids pick the best of the best veggies and serve a salad at dinnertime, farm-to-table style.