Written by: Kaleido moms and dads
I don’t know about you, but I had big travel plans this summer that are now off the table. So after hours of online hunting for the perfect campsite or picturesque cabin near a lake (at a reasonable price), I finally admitted defeat. So, now what? I decided to get creative and wanted to share these fun summer activities for every style, budget and setting.
Getting to know a new culture without travelling can be a wonderful and very educational experience. And the great part is you can make it a one-time thing or choose a different culture every week throughout the summer.
Whether you’re setting the scene for a late dinner at a café in the streets of Paris, afternoon tea in London or celebrating Cinco de Mayo in July, you can combine cooking, arts and crafts, reading, music, role-playing, and the list goes on—making this a particularly fun-packed choice of activity!
Food is probably the best part for me. Find the hallmarks of the selected culture’s cuisine and cook with your kids. You can have them read the recipe, measure ingredients, pour, mix and so forth.
Decorate your house for the perfect setting of your new culture. An Eiffel Tower drawn on a poster, a homemade piñata, the country’s flag or fancy hats for tea with the Queen are just some ideas to get you going. You can look online for a gazillion more.
Immerse yourself in the other culture’s music with a playlist of traditional or modern hits in their native language. This will set the mood for your party. If you really want to take things to the next level, try to speak the language a little during the day (with a dictionary close at hand).
Make the fun last into the evening with a pop quiz or trivia night. Do a little research on the country you picked and prepare some game cards with general questions. Prepare 10, 20 or 50 questions, it’s your game night! You can also draw inspiration from existing quiz questions online—again, there’s a ton of these you can find in a couple of clicks.
Whatever the culture you choose or level to which you take this activity, you’re guaranteed to create some great memories as a family.
Turn your backyard, balcony or living room into a campsite for an outdoorsy day and night of fun. My kids actually took this a step further and are calling for a backyard camp-out challenge with no entry into the house for 24 hours. Hey, why not! It makes it all the easier to get them on board.
Set up a tent outside or inside (or build a living room fort if you don’t have a tent) and roll out your sleeping bags. Pack some snacks and sandwiches (or whatever meal you may want to grill on the BBQ) since in this game, you’re not supposed to have access to a kitchen.
Camping is all about connecting with nature, so find activities that will help you do that. You can print out a sheet with different birds, trees or plants in your region and try to find them while learning about what makes them unique. Have a picnic or simply find a nice spot and engage in the fine art of cloud watching. Just make this part of the day about mother nature while getting some fresh air.
What’s camping without the crackling sound of a fire—and plenty of marshmallows! If you’re in your living room or don’t have a fire pit at home, you can string up some twinkle lights or stick glow-in-the-dark stars to the ceiling. Then, simply put a campfire background video on your tablet or TV and voila! You’ve got that relaxing nighttime ambiance under a starry sky.
End the day on a high note with some spooky ghost stories or games. You can also just tune into the sounds of the outdoors (or a great playlist of those sounds).
Go full Pirates of the Caribbean for this one with a scavenger hunt to find the ultimate treasure. This idea also combines several activities that will last the day. If you’ve got Halloween props you can use, that’s great! But creating a basic pirate costume is very doable with stuff you already have around the house and some simple arts and crafts. DIY videos on YouTube or Pinterest will get your creative juices flowing.
Now for the scavenger hunt! You’ll want this part of the activity to be age-appropriate. If you have younger kids, go for a treasure hunt by drawing a map with an X that marks the spot. Tag along and help your little ones find their bearings. If your kids are older, you can have a series of clues hidden, each leading to the next. Clues can be in the form of simple riddles. You can also opt for a more traditional scavenger hunt with a list of items they need to find to earn their prize.
As for the treasure itself, that’s up to you. Keep it simple or go wild: a new toy, some chocolate gold coins, Monopoly money they can exchange for snacks, and so forth. In my case, I went for the chocolate gold coins. I put them in an old jewelry box, which I then hid outside. But a decorated shoe box can do the trick too. As for the hiding place, just be sure to pick a cool spot to avoid a melted treasure in this case. And what’s great is this activity can easily be transferred indoors or at a nearby park!
You can end the day with a family movie night. Snuggle up and watch Pirates of the Caribbean or any other favourite pirate movie.
These are just a few ideas of theme days you can have with your family, so don’t limit yourself! You could have home Olympics, a wild west day, a water world day or even a time travelling theme. The trick is to pick a theme that combines several activities to make the fun last and spend some great quality time this summer.