4 Great Ways to Engage Your Kids on Summer Vacation

4 Great Ways to Engage Your Kids on Summer Vacation

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Everyone needs a little rest and relaxation now and then. But some studies actually suggest that the two and a half months spent away from school can actually begin to have a negative impact on a child - namely their intelligence. If they do absolutely nothing and enjoy no intellectual stimulation during their vacation, their IQ can decrease as much as by 20 points.

While you and your kids should definitely rest on a vacation, below are some pointers for keeping you all on top of your game:

1. Exercise

Some kind of regular physical activity is great. Hiking combines exercise, nature and being together in an affordable way. Not that it has to be hiking: any kind of regular physical activity helps keep kids active. Since kids are not forced to do P.E., they might want to stay inside or just lie on the beach - if you are lucky enough to live by one!

Physical activity is also a great way to take a break from indoor activities and electronics. Being glued to your smartphone 24/7 is never a good idea, so why not commit to bi-weekly family swimming sessions? Take your kids somewhere where they literally cannot bring their Nintendo Switches.

2. Cooking and Eating Together

Nothing is easier than slowly slipping into a life of take-out, ordered pizza and limitless supply of TV dinners. This rings especially true when you lose the rhythm and routine of school life: you might really cut back on your self-control. That’s why the perfect solution is cooking and eating together. This is the easiest way to make sure you know what you are eating, to eat nutritious food and spend time together. What’s more, if your children are old enough, they can take part in the actual cooking, learning a critical (and often neglected) life skill.

Even if you want to eat something less than healthy like pizza, making it yourself is still most likely a healthier and cheaper option than ordering in. The kids might be on their devices the whole time, but there is an off chance they might actually learn something. 

3. Playing a Musical Instrument

It’s no secret that kids that play musical instruments tend to score higher in tests, both those found in school and conventional intelligence testing. But why exactly is that? The short answer is that playing music is a very good neurological exercise. Playing an instrument involves systematic training and quick thinking that combines thought and action in a very natural way.

While starting a new instrument and keeping up with regular practice can be a real chore, especially when you’re on vacation, music can be a great way to challenge kids when there is no school to provide that all too vital stimulation.

4. Educational Video Games

Even with all of these great activities, chances are that your kids will still be playing video games on vacation. And that’s a good thing! As long as those games are educational and appropriate, they are engaging in the best way. The only thing you need to be aware of is that there are many, many games out there that are not age-appropriate for younger audiences, and exist purely for entertainment and not for educational purposes.

Complex, scientific and fun games are among the greatest activities for kids on vacation. After all, the best educational games are engaging enough to keep you playing even without anyone prompting you to. Build rockets and fly them with Newtonian physics in KerbalEdu. Solve astronomical puzzles and explore an island in Odyssey. Build crazy Rube Goldberg machines in Contraption Maker. You get the idea!

Or how about combining one or more of these activities? Rocksmith is a video game where you play with your guitar, learning chords, licks, scales and entire songs with the help of the game. While experienced players might not get a kick out of it, starting from scratch with the game is probably the most fun way to begin regular guitar-playing sessions.

Got More Great Ideas?

These are just a few great ideas for keeping your kids active during the summer months. What ideas do you have? Share them below in the comment field! What’s the best way to spend time with your kids? We’re eager to know.