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Holiday Parenting Tips - Digital Parenting Coach

Holiday Parenting Tips & Fun Activities for the Kids

parent's guide parenting Aug 07, 2023

Summer break is here, and I bet your kids couldn’t be happier about it! However, for parents and caregivers it’s not always the relaxing break it’s promised to be. Instead, you’ll likely find yourself juggling work commitments, childcare duties, and the responsibility of finding entertaining activities that will get your kids away from their screens.

While tech and digital devices can be a positive resource for your children’s educational, creative, and social development, like everything else in their lives it’s about balance. That’s why I’ve put together my top holiday parenting tips, which includes suggestions for fun activities for the kids to get involved with (both on and offline).

There are activities included for all ages—under 7, 8-12, and 13-17 year olds. Each activity is grouped by a theme that can be repeated weekly or used whenever you need to insert a little break into your existing routine.

Read through the challenge ideas and see what choices would work best for your family. Feel free to adapt these to suit your specific needs—you could even get the kids involved and get them to come up with their own activity ideas.


Creative activity ideas

The summer break is a great time to get your kids involved in activities that will help them explore their creativity. You can use a range of online and offline resources to help spark some creative inspiration.


For children under 7

Be creative with paper. You could make a kite, a paper airplane, or an origami animal. There are lots of fantastic arts and crafts sites you can find online for inspiration (with tutorials if you need them).

Grab a magnifying glass and a journal and document all the seasonal insects and plants you find. You could get the kids to draw what they’ve found, or make print outs of what they might spot that they can color in.


For children 8-12

Gather small pebbles and stones to skip across water, make a rock mosaic, a picture frame, or a pet rock.

Create a family photo album or photo collage using printed pictures or digital platforms.


For teenagers

Find inspiration online for a mini photo project that your teens could work on over the summer. You could even improve your photography or filming skills by watching a tutorial on YouTube first.

Plan a trip out with the camera (either using one you already have or you could use a disposable camera) and let your teens be photojournalists for the day. This is a great opportunity to talk about photo consent too.


Note for parents/caregivers:

Check out #summeractivities or #fallactivities for ideas on Pinterest or Instagram and while you’re there, check out the Safety Centers for both platforms.

Before you share their creations online, use this moment to see how your children feel about parents sharing and oversharing on social media.


Cooking & baking activity ideas

Developing culinary skills is not only a great creative activity for your kids, but it also helps build some essential life skills too.

You could discuss specific meals or skills that your kids would like to practice over the summer, create something from an old family recipe, or find inspiration from online tutorials.


For children under 7

Get creative with homemade pizzas. Why not set up a pizza station in your kitchen with lots of toppings to choose from and allow your kids to design their own pizza. They can choose different topping combinations to make a rainbow pizza or create an animal or silly face.

Draw or paint your favorite summer dish. You could ask your kids to create their ultimate summer menu by each drawing, painting, or creating their idea of the perfect dish to include on the menu.


For children 8-12

Get the kids involved with meal planning and set them a challenge. Can they find or create a dessert that doesn’t contain loads of sugar? How about designing the ultimate side salad?

Plan a family picnic together. Find a big basket and get them involved with filling it up with fun, tasty, and healthy treats that are easy to take with you.


For teenagers

Create a printed or digital recipe book with family summer favorites. You could even film your own cooking tutorial to share with family and friends.


Note for parents/caregivers:

Use age-appropriate recipe and cooking guides.

Research apps that help your family pull together healthy meals with simple ingredients.


Fitness activity ideas

There’s a whole range of activity options you can use to get your family moving. Whether you’re looking for something to do outdoors, or ideas for what you can do to get the kids moving during a day at home, here’s some inspiration for fitness activities.


For children under 7

Having an impromptu dance party is a great way to get the kids up and active (and maybe even using up some of that energy). Whether it’s indoors or in your back yard, create a playlist of your family’s favorite songs and get moving.

If your kids are having some down time and streaming their favorite show, take a break between episodes for a chance to do something active. You could have a jumping jacks challenge in the living room or get them to stretch out with a mini yoga session. There’s plenty of age-appropriate videos online if you want your very own fitness instructor to guide you while you’re at it.


For children 8-12

Go for a walk in your local woods or park. If your kids need something a little more than the great outdoors to pique their interest, you can use your phone to go on a hunt and find some geocaching spots.

For more social activities, you could grab some friends and go for a swim at your local public pool or camp out in the backyard before the weather cools down. Plan a bonfire after sunset and share stories.


For teenagers

If your teens are interested in learning the latest dance trends, get them to share this with the family and share dance moves with each other. You could even turn it into a challenge and have a dance off. Why not compare popular dance moves from both generations.

If they’re feeling competitive (and you’ve got the space for it), why not get your teens involved in planning a fun fitness challenge in your back yard.


Activity ideas for sharing, connecting, and expressing emotions

While it’s great to be active and make memories with your kids over the summer, it’s important to take time to work on those emotional bonds too.

It’s a transitional time between school years so check in with your kids about anything that came up in the previous year. You can also discuss any feelings (positive or negative) about the academic year ahead. Don’t forget to include a conversation about how we express our emotions online too.


For children under 7

Do a role-play game that begins with “How would you feel if…”

Use examples from cartoons to identify with how they feel. For example, “How would Dora feel? What would Diego say?”


For children 8-12

Try yoga or meditation or take a moment of gratitude. Have a conversation together about why it’s important to take time out regularly for our well-being.

Give your child space to journal or to create art to explain their emotions.


For teenagers

Start a family book or movie club. To help prompt conversations about expressing emotions and empathy, try choosing a theme of “underdogs”—look for recommendations online.

Watch Brene Brown’s short film on empathy and talk about what you just saw.


Note for parents/caregivers:

Watch movies that discuss empathy (such as Pete’s Dragon, The King’s Speech, Les Misérables, Lucas, Zootopia, and Inside Out) and have a conversation together about how you share your feelings online with others.


Activity ideas for spending time with nature

Spending time outside, reconnecting with nature, and exploring ideas for how we can protect our planet are all great ways to take a much-needed break from devices. Plus, these can be activities for the whole family to enjoy together, no matter the season.


For children under 7

Nurture your little one’s green fingers by getting them involved in planting some seeds in the garden. If you don’t have that much outdoor space, or want to contain the activity a little more, you could sow seeds in pots or mason jars. For an added dash of creativity, you could even get your kids to decorate the pots and jars first.

For day trips ideas, you could go fruit or flower picking or visit a natural science museum.


For children 8-12

Get your children involved in some research activities. What about looking into whether paper or plastic is better for your family? Set them a challenge to document the number of plastic products you have in the household and come up with ways together of how that could be reduced.


For teenagers

Watch any of Greta Thunberg’s speeches on climate change and discuss how young people can bring about change through activism.

Visit a beach, lake, or park and look for clues about changes in our environment today.


Note to parents/caregivers:

Think about any of your regular errands and see whether it’s possible to walk, ride a bicycle, or carpool.


Activity ideas for nurturing curiosity

Being curious needn’t change with age—there’s a whole host of activities you can do as a family to nurture your kids’ curious spirit.


For children under 7

Read up on the sun: is it a star or a planet? You could even create your own models of the sun and our solar system.

Spend an evening stargazing. See what shapes or pictures your kids can create from the stars in the sky. They could even draw them and create their own maps of the night sky.


For children 8-12

Think about mechanics and find out how things work. Consider fans, engines, and computers. Are there models you can build together? Or could you even design and create something yourselves?

Check out The Smithsonian’s range of science games and apps for kids 


For teenagers

Read up on student data privacy policies and the terms and conditions of their favorite social media sites. What are they agreeing to when signing up for the latest app?


Note to parents/caregivers:

Consider science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related activities for your children. There are many ways to engage with this topic—not everyone has to join a coding bootcamp!


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