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Many moms, dads, and caregivers work from home (WFH). Either because of the change of times that allow for remote work, supplementing their partner’s income, or doing a side hustle while raising children. Keep your little ones busy with these 18 Summer Activities for Kindergarteners of Work-from-Home Parents (and caregivers).
Of course, there are the obvious summer activities that get the kids out of the house such as summer school, summer camp, or grandma’s house but sometimes those are not viable options especially if summer programs are not available in your area, or they are too expensive and family doesn’t live nearby. Read on to get inspired to keep your little kid(s) busy with these 18 Summer Activities for Kindergarteners of Work-from-Home Parents.
The number 18 Summer Activity for Kindergarteners is Dominoes! Thanks to the Domino Masters TV show, Dominoes got a second life with the current generation. We have watched and re-watched this reality show on Hulu multiple times. Hoping that Season 2 comes out…Someday! Stacking and toppling dominoes is a great activity for only children and siblings alike. There are many guidebooks to Domino Building and Toppling which give examples of simple to professional-level builds.
Dominoes are a great toy to help calm anxious or overly active kids because it’s a game of slow and steady movements and quiet repetitive motions.
This tranquil activity is similar to stacking stones, it is calming, open-ended play that can hone fine motor skills and spacial awareness for young kids. This is an excellent pastime for little ones whose parents or caregivers work from home and need some quiet time for Zoom or Skype calls and meetings.
For stacking and toppling, you will have more success with full plastic dominoes, the wooden ones won’t do because they are not consistent in size and shape also they are a bit too lightweight for good toppling and for that reason, they will be harder to stack (like WAY harder). Trust me, you don’t want to make the stacking tough for a 5, 6, or 7-year-old child it will just lead to unnecessary frustration so purchase quality, plastic (not wood), and professional dominos to avoid unwarranted tantrums.
We made this mistake by purchasing the Hape Dynamo Wooden Domino Set (see image above). They were of amazing quality for simple builds that our son was doing at 3 or 4 years old but proved frustrating for complex toppling endeavors.
Our favorite are BULK Dominoes! They are mid-range in price but very consistent in quality. Made in the USA with rigorous QA testing and sustainable production practices. They have a ton of color options and even offer light-up dominos!
Sometimes the best and most engaging activity is simply making art. Drawing with pencils, crayons or markers is a great activity that can keep a child engaged for an hour. If you have a toddler who loves to get messy, Crayola Washable Fingerpaints will keep kids aged 2 to 4 happily busy.
Throw in some coloring books, we really love this Pokemon one, and your kindergartener will be happy for quite a while. There are coloring books for EVERYTHING nowadays! Of course, you can always find FREE coloring printables all over the Internet.
We also love to use dry-erase boards to practice writing skills, math, and drawing. Make sure you get your little one a small dry-erase board with multiple markers in a variety of colors.
Finally, this one can get messy but it’s a lot of fun, cutting color paper, making snowflakes, and other cutouts.
Our son at 3 years old got frustrated if his art wasn’t what he imagined or if he made a mistake that seemed impossible to fix. We decided to use “The Beautiful Oops” book to teach him that mistakes happen and that it’s not the end of the world but an opportunity to create something different and unexpected.
I swear by this book, it has taught our easily agitated son to handle disappointments. Oliver still utilizes the beautiful oops “techniques” as a first grader to lessen the frustration of making mistakes.
Once your child can handle situations where something doesn’t go right, it allows them to pacify the situation on their own, therefore allowing more quiet time for you as you work from home (WFH).
If possible, set up a little arts and crafts area in your child’s room or somewhere else in your home. Our little Creative Corner is pictured below and yes, it’s always messy and we don’t mind! Pictured is a custom-made picnic table with a plexiglass top from Etsy and stackable storage bins from Crate & Kids.
Once we dedicated a corner of our living room to a learning and art station, Oliver wanders there several times per day to do math problems, write in his daily journal, draw, and everything else involving getting creative.
If an arts & crafts station is not feasible, grab a large craft/art storage box (we have and love this one – the 13.4″ version) and some drawing paper and have them ready in case an artistic moment strikes your child when you have to take an important meeting over Zoom.
As a bonus all this quiet time creating art will result in beautiful art pieces the child can gift to you, friends, and the entire family! Holiday, birthday, Mother’s Day shopping – DONE!
Activity Subscription Boxes were all the rage at the beginning of the 2020 pandemic but have simmered out a bit. Several of our favorites have actually gone out of business.
For those of us who are continuing to work from home, however, these are life savers. We like to have one or two random activity boxes on hand at all times, for sick days from school or rainy weekends. There are activity boxes for various interests including arts & crafts, exploration, science, STEM, Legos, food, etc. So find something your child loves and give them a try. Most subscription services allow for a yearly or a month-to-month subscription plan.
Activity boxes can be both entertaining and educational. Some projects can help with hand-eye coordination, motor skills, creativity, artistry, and more advanced skills such as math and science.
We have tried ALL the subscription boxes and not all are created equal. Save your money and get the ones listed below, these are tried and true, tested and kid approved.
https://www.kidsartbox.com – This subscription box never disappoints! Created by a mom and tested by her kids. Fun and challenging art projects with high-quality, full-size, art supplies included. Definitely a favorite and worth checking out. It even comes with food recipes!
https://shop.highlights.com – Highlights was developed hand in hand with teachers. Even the busiest families can find 15 minutes a day with these activities to help kids gain confidence in the classroom. Subscription boxes and activity books are available. The dry-erase books were a big hit for us!
https://www.littlepassports.com/ – Begin with the Early Explorers subscription and discover the wonders of the world. Three guides: Max, Mia and Toby take your child on a virtual adventure around the world. The 1st box comes with a little suitcase and a map of the world to track your travels and keep all the items from the projects organized.
https://www.kiwico.com – For younger ages 3-4 the Koala Crate is full of fun games and crafts. For Pre-K and Kindergarten age kids the Kiwi Crate introduces them to basic science, STEM, and art activities.
https://subscriptionboxkids.com/ – A great box that simulates “homeschooling” for kids between 3-5 years old. It has 16 activities in each box! Including hands-on projects, a book to read, a parent guide, and a workbook full of fun educational worksheets.
https://literati.com/ – Literati is hands down the best book club. The Scout Level Box is geared towards Pre-K to Kinder-aged little readers. Books are curated to expand kids’ phonics, sight reading skills, and let them read along with grown-ups.
https://melscience.com/US-en/ – MEL Science is a subscription box that is high quality, interactive, and STEM-focused. They have excellent hands on experiments to introduce the love of science to kids.
None of the options above strike your fancy. This website will show you even MORE options (and there are too many to count): https://www.cratejoy.com/
As you may see in some of the photos Oliver is wearing an eyepatch. This is to correct his Amblyopia. He was such a trooper in wearing his eyepatch for a few hours a day for 2 years and now he has perfect 20/20 vision! From our experience (and many tries and errors) the See Worthy Eye Patches were absolutely THE BEST!
It’s tough to get any outdoor time for your child when work calls 8 hours a day. If you are lucky enough to have a home with a gated yard, letting your 4-6-year-old play with RC Cars can be a wonderful option. I found that if my 5-year-old had something specific to do in our backyard, he would just focus on that activity and not wander around getting into things he shouldn’t be getting into. RC Cars have been a favorite activity of ours on the beach, in the park, or in the backyard. So make sure you charge up the batteries and leave the cars by the door. My son will grab a car and go race or create obstacle courses from items in the yard and play until the batteries die on the car! This can give you a good, solid 40-45 minutes of uninterrupted Work-from-Home time! If you work on the computer, consider grabbing your laptop and staying outside with your child or in an area of the house where you can see your child out from a window.
The LEGO Creator line of legos is a really great deal because typically you get 3 builds in 1 box! This line is mainly for slightly older kids than kindergarten but the instructions are simple to follow for kids who love building. The sets come in so many different builds it’s easy to find a theme your child is interested in. The price point is also pretty budget friendly (for Legos!). Some of our favorites include the Birdhouse, Holiday-Themed Sets, Race Cars, and Trucks and Animals. My son is not into Space-themed or Dinosaur-themed builds but if your child loves those, there are many more options in the Lego Creator universe.
Wanting to grow up faster than they can, many kindergarteners are eager to start reading by themselves! There are many books appropriate for 4 to 6-year-olds who want to read stories by themselves. After a long day of playing, running, and jumping, my son oftentimes likes to go to his room before dinner and just lay on his bed to read a simple book or to look through picture books. This may be somewhat specific and maybe too much information (TMI) but my little one does A LOT of reading on the potty. It’s a great idea to have a little basket of simple, easy-to-read books for your child to enjoy. Or if your little one isn’t ready for reading, stock the basked with picture books with beautiful pictures that tell rich and vibrant stories.
The Amazon Kindle is an electronic book reader that may be a good option if space is limited in your home or on your bookcases. There are many book/reading options on the Amazon Fire as well.
|Plus for a totally free option, visit your local library or little free libraries around your neighborhood.
This is a SUPER resource for all things academic! I don’t remember how I came across this website but I’m beyond happy that we found it! The website includes worksheets, interactive worksheets, games, and activities/projects. There are also fun song videos and stories to read. For parents or tutors, there are sections for weekly schedules and lesson plans. Just choose your child’s age or skill level and get started. For the summer they also have a Summer Boost section.
There are a few brands of these, we were gifted the Picasso sets over and over again so we love those. But, there is the classic Magna-Tiles which can be called the original magnetic tile. Some other popular brands include Magformers, Connetix, and dozens of “generic” more affordable options on Amazon. These are a winner for kids of many ages, including babies, toddlers, little kids, and even older kids (and adults!). The possibilities are endless for engineering new builds and using imagination to make up stories and games using magnetic tiles. This toy is 100% worth the investment. It will keep your child busy for HOURS so you can get work done!
10. Summer Activities for Kindergarteners: Water Play in the Back Yard
When we were little kids water play meant hooking up a hose to a sprinkler and running around it, jumping through the water stream, and stubbing your toe on the metal sprinkler (Ouch!). Nowadays with water becoming more scarce in some parts of the world and utility prices rising – it’s probably a good thing that sprinklers are replaced by water tables, inflatable pools, and water toys.
Water play is ALWAYS a hit! Even if your home or apartment complex has a pool, your little one can’t use it without supervision. Water tables and inflatable pools to the rescue! Type in “Water Table” into Amazon and you will be inundated with a plethora of sizes, styles, and price points of these fun activity tables. First, get your child into a bathing suit, trust me, they will get SOAKED! Second, fill the table with water from a hose, if your kid is a bit older they can work the hose themselves. Third, throw some water-friendly toys in there. Lastly, enjoy some quiet time to get your work done whether is actual work or Zoom calls with co-workers.
An inflatable pool will also work, it may take some setup and DEFINITELY get an electric air pump, but on a super hot day this may be an amazing option and your child will probably stay in the pool until they’re all pruney!
The MOST important thing is that your child has some water toys to enjoy while using the water activity table or the inflatable pool. Most often my son enjoyed squirty toys or buckets he could fill up with water. Remember to dump the leftover water over your garden or grass so it doesn’t go to waste.
9. Summer Activities for Kindergarteners: Play-Doh
D’oh! So simple yet often overlooked. Play-Doh isn’t JUST Play-Doh anymore. There are hundreds of different Play-Doh playsets. Not to mention infinite color combinations. There’s even a Play-Doh building competition TV show called Squished (that is a DEFINITE thumbs up from our 6-year-old). I highly suggest either getting an art mat and spreading it out on a flat surface, a large cutting board works okay too, or getting a dedicated workspace for Play-Doh like this table that has storage underneath and a “Lego” board on the other side. Some of our favorite Play-Doh playsets include alphabet and number stencils and stamps, my son loves to spell out words and sentences, and of course classic “food” stencils and molds for making fast food goodies such as hamburgers and hot dogs. The possibilities are endless for free-play or more structured play with Play-Doh. If you would like organic, non-toxic modeling dough there are many options or you can make your own!
So, it is lunch time and you’ve been stuck in meetings at your desk for hours. Grab your kiddo and go for a quick ride around the neighborhood! This one requires some effort and it may not be your favorite activity but if your child likes riding bikes, they will appreciate this time with you. My husband and I take turns taking our son out on bikes and on the weekends we all enjoy riding to the downtown area from our home. It’s always fun, even though I’m not that great on a bike!
As far as our bikes, my husband and I have the SixThreeZero cruiser bikes and they are amazing for what little biking we do. SUPER comfortable and retro looking.
7. Summer Activities for Kindergarteners: Helping with Household Chores
Most kids who are Pre-K and K (and even 1st grade) aged LOVE to help out around the house. Oh, how I wish they would love to help out the entire time they live with their parents. When our family incorporated a chore chart, it reminded me of potty training and the reward-based way to help small children learn and feel accomplished. The Chore Chart we chose was a dry-erase, magnetic one that came with dry-erase markers (with erasers attached) and 2 smaller dry-erase boards for notes and drawings. Having the chart on the fridge allows the entire family to see what needs to be done.
Amazon has countless options for Chore / Incentive Charts of various types, sizes, and colors.
How we utilize this chart is that we give our son, Oliver, $1 for every “chore” he completes, granted some of these are not truly chores but he is eager to help and it’s a nice way to introduce allowance and the importance of learning about money management.
Some of the chores we incorporate are pictured on our chore list below.
Okay, this one is kind of cheating but Oliver is obsessed with music, especially reading lyrics to pop songs (don’t worry you can turn off explicit lyrics on Amazon Echo devices). Sometimes while I am working on the laptop, I have Alexa and Amazon Music playing and he “read-sings” the lyrics – he gets a kick out of how fast the lyrics scroll and tries to keep up. Honest to goodness this activity can last SEVERAL songs! So turn up the music!
5. Summer Activities for Kindergarteners: Video Games
This may be a last resort activity but sometimes by Thursday or Friday, we are all tired, cranky, and just need to chill. Personally, we very rarely use video games, my son is just not that into them, he coincides video games with long road trips not playing at home BUT on a few occasions we will whip out the Nintendo Switch and let him play Sonic, Mario Kart, etc… definitely sticking with non-violent, kiddy games.
The Nintendo Switch is our favorite gaming console, the Amazon Kids+ membership on the Fire Tablet is second and lastly, we let our son use our phones to play Apple Arcade games such as Jetpack Joyride 2. Of course, there are many other options available so pick the one that works best for your child, lifestyle, and budget.
Okay, secretly this one is one of my favorites, it just feels like Oliver is LEARNING as he plays! We absolutely LOVE SmartGames (no this is not sponsored). We own many of these games and we have gifted them to many of our family and friends with kids and everyone raves about them. Many of them are challenging for kids as well as adults because they have different skill levels. They can be fun for a kid to try and figure out by themselves as well as a family activity.
We have purchased many of them but here are the most 6-year-old approved ones:
HONORABLE MENTION: ThinkFun makes great puzzle games that are geared towards slightly older kids or if you have a puzzle whiz at home, try the ThinkFun Gravity Maze / Marble Run. It is slightly pricier than the SmartGames but Oliver has played this game so many times that the puzzle pieces are wearing out! As far as cost per play, the ThinkFun Gravity Maze was worth the splurge.
Before they went out of business making monthly subscription activity boxes, SAGO Mini was one of the most eagerly awaited monthly boxes for Oliver. A couple of the boxes had scavenger hunt type of games included which ended up being a great success with many re-plays. Scavenger hunts can be simple and complicated and can even be created by you for your child (if you have that kind of time that is).
A couple of the ones Oliver enjoyed were simply putting a letter of the alphabet on an object in the house that started with that letter – put an “A” card on an apple or a “T” card on a table, etc. At the end I had Oliver put the cards in alphabetical order A through Z.
The other one we did that was a lot of fun was a solar system scavenger hunt that had Oliver looking for planets based on each planet’s characteristics. Fortunately, these characteristics were listed on the cards so I didn’t have to figure any of them out. For example, we know that Saturn has rings so Saturn was hiding somewhere near ring-shaped items in the home (Mommy’s jewelry box). Mercury is the closest planet to the sun so it was hiding near something that gets very very hot (the microwave). That was both fun and a learning opportunity, at the end I had Oliver place the planets in the correct order from the sun.
There are many different types of scavenger hunts and different themes too. You can also take everyday objects, flashcards, or homemade pieces of paper and create your own scavenger adventure. These are truly simple, inexpensive, and can be a lot of fun keeping your child busy so you can get that last thing for work done done done!
For Oliver, journaling has been a way of life since he went to Kindergarten. He loves to practice writing and loves to go and read his journal to remember the adventures he has had. Now, this isn’t true journaling, no deep emotions or reflections but simply one or two sentences about the events of that day.
He likes to write by himself with a little help sounding out the words or if I am really pressed for time I ask him one or two sentences about what he did today, I write them down and he copies the words in his journal. You will be surprised how much that helps with your child’s reading, spelling, and writing. They truly retain EVERYTHING at this age from about 4 to 6!
Hands down the most effective journal is something called the “Draw and Write Journal“. Each page has a large blank space for drawing and lined “Kindergarten” paper for writing. Kindergarten paper is super wide lined with dotted lines for lower-case lettering.
Oliver will go through his journal and read the entries and exclaim “Ooooh I remember that day….. we did this and that……” so it’s a nice way to preserve some memories as well as to get some learning done. Journaling is good for all ages, honestly, I wish I could find some time to do it too! I guess this blog is a bit like a journal.
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Kids LOVE bubbles (who doesn’t?)! Definitely get a bubble wand, bubble gun, or bubble machine. My son, Oliver, LOVED bubbles since he was about 2 years old. In our old home where we didn’t have a yard, he would sit on the balcony and just blow bubbles with various wands and bubble guns. Bubbles would bring joy to our neighbors of all ages, they would always comment how happy bubbles made everyone! Once we moved and had a bigger yard he would do the same just running around. It’s really a great fun toy for large yards and small balconies. Bubble fun will be met with giggling, laughter, and long periods outside so parents can get some work done inside. Win-win for everyone.
I hope you enjoyed these 18 Summer Activities for Kindergartners of Work-from-Home Parents (and caregivers). Even if you do not utilize these specific activities, hopefully, it sparked some other ideas! Feel free to share with me any more fun, educational, and time-consuming activities you and your family enjoy.
Looking for reviews of Kid’s Fashion, Subscription Boxes, Toys, Gear, and Activities? Additionally, check out the other sections of my blog and feel free to leave a comment or contact me on social media under @MalibuKarina everywhere including Instagram, Threads, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn (I’m everywhere).
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