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How to keep children occupied during summer holidays

How to keep children busy during summer vacation. Activities for children during the summer holidays. Fun and educational activities for school children during summer. Here's a page from my life, on how I made summer holidays exciting and educative for my child.

It is that time of the year again, when many parents are at their bewildered, most haggard best. You can perhaps heave a sigh of relief if you are among the privileged few who have enrolled your children in a summer camp. If you are not as 'fortunate', you might find yourself in a tricky situation of keeping your children occupied during summer.

It is a time to put your parenting skills to test. How well you keep your kids engaged during the long summer break, is a test of your parenting skills. A friend of mine mentioned in sheer desperation that their kids were driving her husband and her crazy – and the couple didn't know how to keep them occupied in constructive ways.

This is what I shared with them –

  • Kids like to be given responsibilities
  • They like to be able to decide
  • What an adult finds fun, might not be fun for them
  • It is easy for them to become uninterested in things
  • They like challenges and they like winning
  • Children can be enthusiastic learners
  • Present them a variety of activity choices

Summer vacations with my young child

My husband would manage maximum two weeks off from work when our daughter was young. We'd divide our time between a short holiday to a hilly destination and a stopover at my in-law's place. We'd be home for the balance vacation. Fortunately, for us, there'd be enough activities available within our immediate campus, to keep our daughter occupied – lessons in swimming and scuba diving and sailing and snorkelling or guitar or keyboard lessons. Despite this, there were long stretches of time when she and I would be alone at home. I'd come up with activities that would inculcate social skills in her and help her develop as an individual.

My ideas were never pushed down her throat. I always suggested options, and she'd have the freedom to choose and pick. This trivial interaction enhanced her decision-making skills. She felt responsible and it boosted her confidence.

We'd do stuff together and have fun doing what we did. Doing things along with your child helps create a strong bond. Many times things would go wrong, and when that happened it was a lesson that not everything goes as per plan. We were once working on a collage, and we tipped a jar of fevicol, without noticing it. By the time we saw it, the viscous liquid had trickled onto the floor and underneath furniture. What a mess we'd made. There were many lessons learned that day, and the most important one was to keep an eye on what is being done and have everything under control. First-hand experiences are perhaps the best teacher. Had I insisted that the jar of fevicol be placed in the centre of the table the significance of the instruction might not have had an impact. It would have been just another instruction from an adult, but once a child realises the consequence of an action then similar incidences can be avoided.

Give your children options

Fight the boredom, give your children options. Let them decide what they want to do. I'd ask her what she wanted to eat or drink, and if she'd be interested in helping me, put the item together. There were no orders, just suggestions. I'd sit with my recipe books. It helped that they were full of colourful images. We'd flip through the pages, look at all the delicious things we could make and then decide on making something that she wanted.

I'd, of course, let her do age appropriate tasks, and show her how the rest of the things are done. My child watched and learned because I would get her interested in the activity. I'd let her sift the flour and use the electric beater or use the measures to get the quantities right. She could pour the cake batter into the baking tray. She could do the icing. These simple tasks served as a big accomplishment for my young child. Announcing that she helped bake the cake (which was true) generated a sense of pride and achievement in her.

She wasn't allowed near the flame or hot oil, but she'd watch me as I deep fried stuff. I'd teach her how to fry a perfect poori. Explaining why the rolled out piece of dough must be gently slid along the side of the kadhai. My intention was never to get my child interested in cooking. I did not do it because she was a girl. It was just another activity, and we worked together in the kitchen because she liked doing things.

Making collages

We'd brainstorm, quite literally, on what to use for our collage. We've over the years made many collages, each with a different theme. That my daughter was artistically inclined was obvious when she was quite young. She'd begun drawing shapes and figures better than her peers.

Making a collage is quite an enjoyable activity that brings out creativity and improves planning and designing. Groundwork is essential, and the type of effort that goes into the preparation depends on the materials that are decided on. Are the items available at home or do they have to be sourced from nature or from a store? We have used various things for our collages from photographs to clips from newspapers and magazines to things collected from nature – leaves, sand, seashells, leaves, flowers and feathers et cetera.

Making a collage may seem simple, on the contrary, it requires quite a bit of planning. You don't just stick things on a chart; you first need to decide a theme. You need to ensure that everything syncs together. At the end of the day, a collage must tell a story. So, get your thinking cap on – recommend ideas and inspire them to come out with a theme.

Mind games

Summer holidays are a good time for passive learning. I used the holidays to help my child improve her vocabulary, her mathematical and analytical skills. Forage kids stores for educative board games. We'd play Scrabble and Pictionary. There were other board games that helped improve mathematical skills. We had a set of nine geometrical shapes, consisting of one square, one rectangle and the rest were triangles that could be used to build varying shapes. It was perfect for enhancing analytical skills. My daughter also had a Meccano set that she'd use to build stuff with. She has built cranes and cars and what have you!

She also had dolls, a whole collection of Barbie dolls and she had a magic set, which she'd use for practice and put up magic shows for us. She had card games like UNO and many other shops bought games that tickled the mind.

When she was young I'd play the popular 'I spy with my little eye' game with her. It was a wonderful way to keep her occupied, practically everywhere.


Reading is what my child loves doing the most, and has been doing so since she was little. However, as she was growing up I used the Childcraft series of books to get her interested in stuff. These books have immense knowledge and helped ignite curiosity in her growing brain. The books helped her discover new things, facts about things in nature and about things around the world. We gradually graduated to Young Scientist, a more advanced series of books that dealt with science.

Simple experiments became common practice in our house. We'd carry out experiments in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the balcony or out in the lawns. These were not just ways to keep my child occupied, but they helped her develop as well.

All the activities that we enjoyed together, always included a series of questions – I had to have answers to the why's, the when's, the how's, the what's and more. I never behaved as if I knew it all. If there were questions to which I didn't have answers we'd sit together and look through encyclopaedias for answers. This taught my child that there was no embarrassment in owning up when you do not know something and that answers are available if we choose to search. An interesting outcome of searching for answers was that we'd always end up learning more than we'd wanted to. We'd always find something captivating as we'd be searching for an answer. We'd read about it and improve upon our knowledge.


We had movie nights. Where all three of us would sit in bed and watch classics or modern day movies. These were nights when we'd have fast-food for dinner, and yes the food was allowed in bed. Once in a way, we'd have sleepovers, where my daughter's friends would come over and we'd then use a projector to screen movies on the drawing room wall.

I'd help arrange picnics and Barbie parties for my daughter and her friends. Picnics would be in one of the numerous parks within our massive, but safe complex. Bed sheets would be tied across trees to create tents, a shaded area where they could play.

Go camping at home

We've camped under the dining table. Try it with your children, it can be such fun. We'd draped bedsheets to cover the sides of the table and used a sleeping bag on the floor for cushioning. We'd just camp there, eating, reading, playing and sleeping. We'd direct a small room cooler at us to keep cool. Believe me, when I say, it's an awful lot of fun.

Final note

Your children will be ready to fly away before you know it. Make the best you can with the time you have with them. Help them amass knowledge and build a bond along the way. Don't crib and curse the holidays, instead use the time fruitfully. There are so many lessons that can be taught in an easy way. Use these holidays to mentor them.

There is a lot you can do - go for early morning walks - it's a great time for bird watching. Make a scrapbook. Take up social causes. Talk them into developing a hobby. Get them interested in gardening. Inspire your child and see them bloom. Have an enjoyable and fruitful vacation.

How do you spend summer vacations with your children?

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: K Mohan26 Apr 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 2

During summer holidays the mother should be with the child and teach some tricks and games on her own without sending the child to any summer camp. Now a days one can learn paper cutting of flowers and through Youtube video a child can learn easily and form patterns of flowers with designs and combinations. Likewise with the use of Ice cream sticks many new things can be made and adorned in the living room. The children get interested and they would be indoors in summer and thus the bonding between mother and child would grow further. During summer free time the mother should play with the child. Some indoor games like carom, chess and Kho Kho can be played along with neighbor's children too. So the children won't get bored; nor will they ask for going to any special summer camp.

Author: Juana27 Apr 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5

I agree that parents must spend quality time with their children, especially during the long summer holidays. It is something that I have highlighted throughout my article. However, activities that are taken up should also act as a learning medium. The end result should be that practical and useful skills are enhanced. Activities must never be forced on a child. They should be allowed to decide what they want to do. This is very important.

I also want to stress on the importance of the father's role. Fathers too must take time, whenever they can, to spend quality time with their children. There can be activities that the family does together - play a game or even watch a nice entertaining movie.

Author: Harshmani Uniyal01 May 2017 Member Level: Silver   Points : 2

During summer holidays children should be given full chance to enjoy as per their requirements. Parents must spare some quality time for their child.
Mothers are always very close to their kids but during this time fathers must also shoulder more responsibility than mother and enjoy freely with family.
Kids always expect better time from their parents and this time absolutely is the best suited one for everybody.

Author: Juana01 May 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

Summer holidays must be utilised not just for enjoyment but also for cultivating skills. These skills could be related to academics or be general. Two months is a long duration and to spend the time in just fun is not an ideal suggestion.

I agree on the role of the father. Father's must, in fact, participate in their children's development all through their growing years. Their responsibilities cannot be limited to just the summer holidays. Parenting is a joint responsibility and both parents must play an active part.

This, I feel strengthens the bond between the parent and the children and keeps communication open.

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