Keeping kids engaged over summer break

May 30, 2024 • 3 min

Summer is a time to unwind with loved ones. Families sip iced cold lemonades, grill juicy burgers, and lick popsicles on the back deck. But summer can be stressful for parents, especially without school support. How can we keep our kids engaged over the summer? Maybe more importantly, how can we encourage their growth this summer? 

Summer can be a time to develop our love for the Lord with our whole selves as it says in Luke, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). Each season presents various opportunities, but summer offers long days and nights to gather together with loved ones and grow in multiple areas of our life. Instead of viewing summer as a season to get through, can we view it as an opportunity to engage in spiritual practices?

6 ways to keep kids engaged

As an elementary teacher and mother, here are my favorite ways to keep kids engaged over breaks. I encourage you to go through this list with your family and pick things that stick out to you. 

Serve Others: When I was a little girl, my parents would invite a younger family over for us to babysit. Watching little kids allowed us to serve busy families and practice responsibility. In addition to this, we also served young children at Vacation Bible School as volunteers. Even if there wasn’t a formal activity, our parents also encouraged us to help with various jobs around the house. Summer is a great time to invest in serving others, starting with those closest to us, your kids might even learn something new. 

Gratitude: As a teacher, I loved getting thank-you notes from students. Towards the beginning of the summer, encourage your children to send letters of gratitude to school teachers and staff. Kids can also brainstorm a list of people who helped them throughout the year, such as coaches, extracurricular instructors, or Sunday school teachers. When kids complain that they’re “bored,” encourage them to focus on gratitude first. 

Spiritual Growth: When was the last time you memorized a verse? I know it’s hard to meditate on Scripture, but spending time in God’s word is vital to our soul’s health. Slower mornings can leave more time for Bible reading instead of rushing to school. Consider spending some mornings studying or memorizing a passage or topic of the Bible. For older kids, challenge your family to memorize whole chapters like Psalm 23 or Psalm 1. Try using a memory verse app or tracker to record your progress. Or, if you’re looking for an accountability group, check out organizations like the Bible Bee, which provides an extra incentive to memorize God’s word from a young age. 

Vacation Bible School: Many churches offer free or low-cost Bible camps. Kids can enjoy Bible stories, games, food, and a safe environment while making new friends. Search for “Vacation Bible Schools” in your area to see what you can find! If your kids are older, encourage them to volunteer at a Vacation Bible School or ask their siblings to share what they’ve learned. 

Reading: My son loves visiting the library, reading new books, and meeting new people. During our library trips, we both pick out a book and spend time reading. Our library also has free events and activities for all ages. Encourage your kids to try out a new genre or series. My family loves reading missionary biographies and learning from examples of faith.

Outdoors: Summer provides nicer weather and a chance to spend more time outside. Our family loves visiting the pool and local parks, especially with friends. Older kids can also be involved in the planning process. For instance, my family loves making a bucket list of summer activities. We pick a few activities each week and enjoy seeing our progress at the end of the summer. Is there a trip you want to take? Give older kids a budget and have them plan out various stops and costs. (Budgeting for a trip can also be a valuable math lesson!)

This summer, look for opportunities to maximize family time. Use these ideas as a landing board, and adjust according to your family’s interests, strengths, and availability. Most importantly, focus on spending time together, even if it’s in the backyard. Let’s rest and recharge this summer as we prepare for another school year. Let’s grow in our love for the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. 

Consider a few extra resources:

About the Author:

Grace Thomas

Grace Thomas is a Christ-follower, wife, and mother with a desire to apply the gospel to her everyday life. She teaches, serves at her church, and enjoys living in California. You can connect with her on Instagram, her blog, or through email.

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