A summer guide to parent-child engagement

27 ways to keep your child positively engaged over the summer months (most of them without using electronics)


Family Enjoying Walk In Park
(Stock photo)
Shatona Kilgore-Groves
Shatona Kilgore-Groves

Parents take note: These activities require scheduling, because although the kids are out of school, rarely are the parents off work. So parents, try one or two times a week to do an activity. Choose a day it will happen and schedule it with your family.

Don’t fall into the trap that the kids just need a break. Learning can be fun, and learning loss can occur if we don’t keep them engaged.



  1. Find a camp or activity that he or she is interested in.
  2. Find out what your child is interested in, and find ways to help them gain experience. For example: Writing poetry or on social issues, have them start a free blog.
  3. Talk to your child’s teacher on what websites and activities would be good to keep him or her learning.
  4. Explore nature; get a book on rocks, birds, animals. Then go out to find what you’ve read about.
  5. Go house hunting; teach your children the difference between renting and buying, and ask them what their preferences are in a home. Note: If you’re not sure, ask a real estate friend to show them a couple of different homes.
  6. For career exploration, go to www.bls.gov.
  7. To teach entrepreneurship, explain the difference between being an entrepreneur and being an employee.
  8. Have your children come to work with you or another family member and interview different employees.
  9. Play board games and social skills-building games. Use a search engine to find “Ice breakers.”
  10. Try different recipes.
  11. Go to the beach.
  12. Each of you take a book outside and read.
  13. Sign up for the free bowling program at www.kidsbowlfree.com.
  14. Assign a book report on something they are interested in.
  15. Create a survey to find out their interests.
  16. Have your child create a survey to find the interests of their family members.
  17. Explore a historic building.
  18. Explore a library; have a librarian teach them how to use the library.
  19. Attend a camp or a summer school program.
  20. Assign a current event report; assign each child a day to summarize a current event.
  21. Play a sport they’ve never played before.
  22. Go camping, but first read about the campgrounds to learn its history.
  23. Take an art class; it doesn’t have to be taught by a professional — try a student artist.
  24. Apply for grants and scholarships; there are grants for all ages.
  25. Study environmental issues at websites like captainplanetfoundation.com and constellation.com.
  1. Teach kids manners, how to set a table, what fork to use, etc.
  2. Have them write an actual letter to a relative and mail it using snail mail.


Visit mneep.org and find the summer activity guide, and visit www.ohe.state.mn.us/summerenrichment for scholarships.

Shatona Kilgore-Groves is a parent coach and advocate with The Black Parent Group. She welcomes reader responses to info@theblackparentgroup.org.