There’s nothing worse for parents than to hear, “I’m bored” or, “I have nothing to do,” especially when children are home on summer vacation. It can be a real challenge to keep them occupied, particularly if you are on a tight budget.

Fortunately, there are lots of projects, arts and crafts they can get involved with, most of which don’t require too much supervision and will keep them busy and away from the TV.

Summer Fashion Show

It’s the end of a school year and the start of summer. If you haven’t recently sorted out their clothes to see what fits and what doesn’t, now is the time to have a summer fashion show. If it fits, great. If not, either throw it away if it is in bad condition, or donate it as a hand-me-down or at a swap shop.

Assess what they have for the warm summer weather, and buy additional pieces that will fill in and make even more outfits. Think of versatile colors that can be worn all year round, like white and certain blues.

Set Up an eBay Account

Get rid of unwanted toys, games and household items by setting up an eBay account. Tell the kids they can keep whatever money they earn.

Donate to Charity

Anything you have that would not work well on eBay (due to shipping, for example) can be donated to charity. Use the chart at the Salvation Army website to determine the value of what you are donating. Get a receipt to deduct the items from your taxes.

You could also give the children the same amount as pocket money for things they would like to do this summer, like movies, bowling and so on.


Ask their teacher for suggestions as to what they can do over the summer vacation to get a head start for September. Assignments and homework throughout the summer will make it less of a struggle to adapt when they go back.

The most common assignments are reading certain books and writing book reports. There are also some excellent math, reading and science workbook-type resources for free online that you can download, or inexpensive books you can purchase.

A Virtual Trip to a Museum

Help them learn more about art or natural history with a virtual trip to a museum. Have them look for a painting and write about why they like it. Get out the art supplies and try to imitate it. For natural history, they can look up the life of certain dinosaurs, like the T Rex, research the Jurassic period, and so on.

A Virtual Trip to a Zoo

A lot of zoos have great websites filled with information about the animals in their collections. Children can learn about habitats, conservation and more. Best of all, many zoo sites now have critter cams, so your children can watch live the antics of animals like meerkats or red pandas on the computer.

Create Their Own Videos

All smartphones these days have a camera. Let them create their own crazy cat or dog videos, or other amusing videos you can share as a family, or even post on Facebook and YouTube if they come out well.

Enjoy Arts and Crafts

Younger children usually like to color and paint. Older children will usually enjoy taking up more challenging projects. Try origami, bead work, sewing, knitting/crochet, scrapbooking, or replicating famous structures like the Empire State Building using Lego, shoeboxes and so on.


The work in a garden is never done. And if you don’t have a garden planted, consider growing your own food. If you live in an apartment, see if the children would like to grow food or their own herbs in a container garden.

Follow these tips and your kids won’t have time to be bored during the summer vacation.